How to Eat Organic on a Budget
For many individuals who are thinking about eating organic food, one of the top concerns is cost. Because organic food costs more to produce and distribute, the sad reality is that organic food will continue to cost of 20% to 100% more than conventional food. There are many benefits to eating organically though, and one need not break the bank in order to adhere to an organic lifestyle. There are many ways in which one can eat organic food on a budget.
The Dirty Dozen
First and foremost, there are a few items which one should always try to purchase organically. Organic food is farmed, using no chemical pesticides, therefore, leaving no harmful residue on produce. Certain foods have porous skin, which allows chemicals to seep through. Produce which have edible skins should always be bought organically, if possible. In order to prioritize what foods should be eaten organically, one may decide to just purchase the following organic food items in order to minimize health risks related to pesticide exposure: potatoes, lettuce, spinach, grapes, pears, cherries, peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines and strawberries.
Along with the "dirty dozen," there are also several foods which are thought to have the least amounts of chemical pesticide residue. These items do not necessarily have to be purchased as organic food, due to the minimal amount of contamination. These foods include: onions, papaya, broccoli, avocado, sweet corn, cabbage, bananas, kiwis, sweet peas, asparagus, pineapple and mango.
How to Get the Most Organic For Your Buck
Like any other grocery item, organic food and other organic items typically go through "sale cycles," meaning that some items tend to be on sale at various intervals throughout the year. Therefore, when possible, stock up on certain organic food items when they go on sale, this way one does not have to pay the full price for the item at other times of the year. Certain websites often have coupons specifically printed for organic food, which is terrific to pair with items which are already on sale.
Some grocery stores will actually carry a generic organic version of more expensive organic food items. Just because it is generic, doesn't mean that it is of lower quality, especially if it is an organic food. Stock up on store brand organic food items in order to save money on groceries without sacrificing on quality.
Lesser Known Ways to Eat Organically on a Budget
As the organic food movement has grown in leaps and bounds, so has the cooperative (commonly referred to as "co-op") movement. This movement relies on members of a community to come together to share the cost of various organic food items which may cost substantially less when purchased in bulk, or products which may require significant travel time to acquire. Many co-ops may be "invite only," however, it is possible to find organic food co-ops through the internet as well.
Another great way to eat organically while on a budget is to start a personal garden. By growing organic produce, such as tomatoes, onions or herbs, one will be able to save money, as well as personally contribute organic food to a local "co-op."