I heard a panel discussion about how to eat organically on a budget. There were some fantastic ideas shared by Dr Tanya Altmann of Calabasas Pediatrics, The Crunchy Mommy, Beth Salz of Nutrition in the Kitchen, and Catherine McCord of Weelicious. I have also added my own ideas to this list.
Here are 15 Tips to Eating Organically and Saving Money
- Farmer’s markets and CSAs. Buy local and know your grower. Not all growers at farmer’s markets grow organically but have a chat with them and ask. Even if they don’t now grow organically maybe after finding out the demand they will have some motivation to switch. Also, ask if they are Certified Naturally Grown
- Certified Naturally Grown – an alternative to the USDA organic certification which reduces the overhead costs and paperwork for smaller growers is something to look for in addition to Certified Organic.
- Plan meals ahead. When planning ahead you can more easily plan meals around what is on sale and in season saving money on your purchases
- Buy staples that store well in bulk for example grains and dried beans. Consider grinding your own grains.
- Make your own convenience foods, chips, crackers, granola, herb seasoning blends, etc.
- Use produce bags and other ways to extend the life of your purchases. BluApple bags are one example.
- Store produce and other food properly. Some items should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer such as ground seeds and grains and some oils and fats to prevent rancidity and preserve nutrients. Some produce should not be stored in the refrigerator.
- What is most important to buy organically? You have probably heard of the dirty dozen – a list of produce items most contaminated when grown conventionally.
- What are your priorities for organically grown? Your priority might be beef so buy on sale when possible and stock up.
- Eggs keep well and so buy larger quantities when the price is good. Do not wash eggs since they have a natural coating for protection.
- Choose healthier foods and non foods. Organic candy and poptarts??
- Buy in season.
- Try something new. A vegetable you have never eaten is on sale? What about a fruit you’ve never had? Buy a little at the sale price and you may have something else to add to your menus in the future.
- Preserve for later. Freeze or dry what you find on sale or what you grow.
- Which brings up one of my favorite ideas: Grow what you can. Whether you have a yard, just a patio or deck, or only space for houseplants grow at least a pot of chives, some lettuce, or a tomato. If you have more space grow even more of what you and your family will eat. Maybe even trade with friends and family who grow different things than you do.
- I also teach about edible wild plants and host wild herb walks. Maybe something is already growing in your organically tended yard that you could eat.
- What ideas do you have? Please comment below.