It can be difficult to eat organic foods on a budget, but it’s not impossible. Many good options will fit right into your grocery list and won’t break the bank.
However, it can take more time to determine which ones they are and if you are able to eat them, not only afford them. After all, organic foods can be great, but not all of them are optimal for your diet.
This means there are two factors to consider.
- Finding the most affordable options when going grocery shopping.
- Make sure they are good for your health based on special conditions and how they are manufactured.
In terms of money, we don’t really think you will have a big issue as eating organic foods can even reduce the costs in regular expenses. As mentioned, it is a matter of learning what to buy or not.
Thus, expect this article to dive deeper into this matter and teach you how to save money through meal planning and organic produce available year-round.
But First, What Is Organic Food?
Before you buy something, have you done your research properly?
Organic refers to how agricultural products are grown and processed. Although regulations may vary from one country to another, the U.S. requires that organic crops be grown without synthetic pesticides or herbicides.
Organic livestock that is raised for meat, eggs, and dairy products must be kept in conditions that allow them to maintain their natural behavior (such as being able to graze on grass) and fed organic feed.
In addition, they cannot be given antibiotics or growth hormones.
To make it simpler, organic food doesn’t involve chemicals or any type of components and elements that can affect vegetables, animals, or anything being grown to avoid any type of diseases and unnecessary agents in the body.
Now, the problem with working with organic foods is that it takes longer to process them and ensure they are ready for consumption.
To understand a bit better why people tend to prefer it nowadays, you can think about how the food is produced:
- Natural fertilizers are used. Not chemical ones.
- Weeds are controlled naturally or by using organic-approach herbicides.
- Natural methods are used for pest control.
- Hormones given to livestock are all organic and GMO-free.
- Diseases in animals are prevented with natural methods and diets.
- Animals are kept outdoors or, at least, have access to them to provide the best conditions.
It isn’t necessary to mention that conventional food is completely the opposite in how it is treated and produced.
Benefits of Organic Foods: Why You Should Change
The reason why most people are changing to organic foods lies in the mention of how they have been healthier due to the chemicals avoided and natural procedures utilized.
Besides, more than any health condition of your own, it is a matter of knowing how food can affect you even if it seems healthy in the first place.
In order to give you a better idea of what we are referring to, it has been discovered that our mental and emotional well-being, as well as that of the environment, can be affected by how our food is raised.
People with allergies to chemicals or foods may notice a decrease or disappearance of symptoms when organic foods are consumed. They can often contain more nutrients than conventionally grown foods as well.
This means that conventionally grown food is often a cause of our sickness and our feelings, even when it doesn’t feel like it.
This is why it can be a good idea to take the time to change to organic food, and before we tell you how to do it without emptying your bank account, consider the benefits of this decision:
- Organic produce is less pesticide-laden.
Pesticide residues can remain in the food we eat. But with the natural procedure used for organic food, there’s no need to worry about this.
- Organic food is fresh.
Because it doesn’t have preservatives to make it last longer, production is more on time-based on when the products will be sold.
Thus, sometimes, organic production is carried out in smaller farms closer to the place it will be sold.
- It is more sustainable.
It is better for the environment, birds, and animals living near farms than for people.
Since conserving water, soil erosion, and chemicals are reduced and avoided; land tends to be a better place for animals but also people.
This means pollution is reduced and you can help to contribute to how the world should change.
- Organically-raised animals are not given growth hormones or antibiotics.
The use of antibiotics may also lead to antibiotic-resistant strains. Organically raised animals are more mobile and have access to the outdoors. This helps to maintain their health.
Unlike what many people believe, consuming antibiotics due to how they were used in livestock can influence your health.
After all, resistance to antibiotics and other types of medical products can be developed based on our environment and even more for something you ear.
Since you don’t consume them with organic food, you are avoiding the bigger issue.
- Organic meats and milk contain more nutrients than conventional ones.
It has been proven through several analyses and case studies that organic foods have more nutrients since chemicals and other unnatural components aren’t affecting the natural constitution of the product.
Of course, more analysis is still ongoing to determine the percentage of nutrients, but it is fair and legal to say you can expect better nutrition from organic products.
How to Avoid Spending a Fortune in Organic Food
Finally, the important part: How can you eat organic foods on a budget?
This part can look difficult for many, as mentioned before since most of the products tend to be more expensive. However, several brands and companies are joining this option to produce their foods, which is starting to make prices more affordable.
Of course, this doesn’t mean prices will go down exponentially, but it is possible to opt for different options that are more affordable than the first ones.
That being said, where should you start? We will be listing some of the best ways to avoid spending all your money when going grocery shopping:
Pay Attention to Labels
To encourage sales, manufacturers use many marketing terms. However, words like “natural” do not guarantee that the product is free from genetic engineering or synthetic pesticides.
It would usually be banned as fake marketing, but it is hard to keep up with companies and manufacturers working with this method.
To make smart spending decisions, you should look for the USDA Organic label and not the regular “organic” one that anyone can place in their packages.
This icon or label is what indicates the product is at least 70% organic, and all procedures have been taken care of carefully to ensure the final results.
These icons can be used to identify whether they are natural or healthier options for customers who want less sugar, less fat, or more nutrients as well.
Focus on Priority Foods
Some households may not have the financial resources to buy organic food, and that’s just fine. We weren’t able to finance this expense either.
However, we discovered that the secret lies in what you buy and how you do it. In other words, you should prioritize specific items in the beginning. But if you want to focus on the bigger picture, you should purchase organic food to reduce pesticide exposure.
With this in mind, take the time to go over the most important items like meat, proteins, and the vegetables you eat the most. Based on that, set your groceries list around what you can afford there.
Buy In-Season Production
Organic produce should only be purchased when it’s in the season to keep your costs low. Products manufactured out of season will cost more and be less environmentally friendly because they must travel further to reach the consumer.
Thus, more money. But to follow this tip, you will need to learn about what products are in season and which ones aren’t.
Forgo Fresh for Frozen Produce
Organic food doesn’t necessarily have to be fresh but only consider those that involve organic fruits and veggies that are frozen. They are still healthy and cost-efficient for your budget.
Shop for Organic Products
Many shops now sell their own private-label organic products. Publix, for example, sells GreenWise products.
Albertsons Companies, on the other hand, offers organic brand products in its supermarket chains, which include Safeway, Shaw’s, and Vons. These products can be cheaper than similar brand-name goods in many cases.
Buy at Budget-Friendly Stores
Another way to save money on organics is to shop at the right store.
Aldi, a budget grocery store, is a popular spot to purchase organic products at a discounted price. Sometimes, your closest store can offer the same benefits if you take the time to learn about how they acquire the products.
Trader Joe’s is known for its low prices as well. If you don’t have any of these two close or in your location, learn more about the main stores in your area.
Purchase Sale Items
Focusing on what’s currently on sale is one of the best ways to save money on organic food or just any type of purchase. So, we just need to say that this food isn’t the exception.
You can find sales flyers in stores and online in case you don’t know how to find those on-sale items since they often feature discounts on products.
Some stores have their own flyers and website notifications about what products are in discount. Follow them and don’t miss the sales.
Try to Find Organic Coupons
Both digital coupons and paper coupons offer additional savings on regular and discounted organic food.
There are more coupons available for organic products than ever before, and although it can take time to cut or save them, it is worth the time.
Coupons can be found in newspaper inserts and grocery store circulars as well as magazines. You also have the option to find coupons on websites such as Coupons.com or store loyalty apps.
Customers may occasionally receive coupons from organic brands. It is a good idea to sign up for company mailing lists when possible.
Buy Directly from Farmers
Many communities offer farmer’s markets and community-supported agriculture programs, also known as CSAs. Both offer consumers the opportunity to purchase directly from growers.
Although small farms may not be able to undergo the USDA Organic certification process due to limited resources, they might use natural methods that are more effective than commercial ones.
In other words, just give this a chance whenever you have access to a local market. Prices are much lower, and you can expect to find amazing products as well.
Order in Bulk
Bulk purchasing tends to be more affordable because most items are priced lower than the average package. You are missing out on huge savings if you don’t take advantage of the “buy one, get one” deals. Or even others that involve much more items.
Some stores sell only in bulk, and even when people avoid them, they are actually good options for your budget.
But, it would be wasteful to buy it in large quantities if you don’t really need it. This only makes the problem worse by taking money out of your pocket that could be used to buy food you really need.
Stick to long-lasting dried foods and veggies when buying bulk. You can also buy larger cuts of meat and freeze them for later use. Just focus on the actual products you can have for very long periods of time.
Make Your Own Food
You can save a lot on vegetable costs by growing your own organic produce. You don’t even need to have a large garden to grow your produce.
Pots are a great way to grow your favorite vegetables. They take up very little space. Given their high price, herbs can be a great place to start.
You can grow your products outside or on the windowsills. You can also opt for a raised garden that allows you to stack a lot of vegetables in a small area.
Learn About the “Clean Fifteen” List
The Environmental Working group has released a “clean fifteen” list that names the vegetables with the lowest pesticide levels. These fruits and vegetables are best for those who can’t afford organic.
So, even when they are not absolutely organic, you can eat healthily and include them in your diet.
Although the list is large, we can give you a better one: The ones you should avoid.
The main ones include grapes, apples, strawberries, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas, potatoes, and imported nectarines.
Get Involved in A Local Organic Box Program
Although they aren’t always the most affordable option, local box programs will usually be comparable to organic supermarket products.
These boxes will give you a solid base of ingredients, help you save time, and support local farmers. You can choose to buy a vegetable box with no potatoes if they offer it.
You will have a wider range of ingredients. Avoid boxes made with imported organic products as they are more expensive.
We know it can be hard to compromise yourself to eating organic food for the costs and the thought that it tastes different.
We would love to deny this, but it is true. However, you may not know that organic meat, organic milk, and any natural products taste much better than any processed foods. Thus, it is a win situation.
Organic herbs, frozen organic produce, and all the products you can think about will be great additions to your life.
If you follow the previous recommendations, we are sure that organic food costs won’t be a problem buying organic instead of processed from now on.
Thus, go to the health food store or your local grocery store and get those products that will help you by tons.
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