Updated: Mar 15, 2020
So you've decided to start eating more organic foods! That's great! With all the news about Monsanto's RoundUp weed killer contributing to cancer, that's probably a smart move.
Or maybe you've been eating organic for a long time and you're looking for a way to slash your grocery bill because, let's face it, eating organic is great for your health, not so great for your wallet.
While eating organic has a whole host of benefits, like no (or reduced amounts of ) chemical laden pesticides, reduced or nonexistent GMOs (genetically modified organisms), and overall less toxins for your body to detoxify, it can take up a serious portion of your grocery budget.
If you want to eat more organic foods but don't want to pay the organic price, here are 8 tips for eating organic foods cheaper.
1. The Dirty Dozen
A non-profit activist organization called the Environmental Working Group, publishes a list every year called the Dirty Dozen. This list contains the top 12 produce items that have tested positive for the most pesticide residues.
At the top of this year's ( 2019) list is strawberries and spinach.
When shopping, choose the organic versions of the produce on the Dirty Dozen list to avoid as much pesticide exposure as possible.
2. The Clean Fifteen
Also produced by the Environmental Working Group, the Clean Fifteen is a list that contains the top 15 produce items that tested for the least amount of pesticides.
Avocados and sweet corn make the top of this year's list.
Since the Clean Fifteen tested positive for the least amount or pesticide residues( and in some cases no pesticide residues), you can buy these items conventional without worry of getting added pesticides.
Since the Environmental Working Group produces this list each year, make sure that you bookmark their page and visit it to see which produces item are the cleanest.
3. Limit the Amount of Bread You're Eating
Bread is a staple in the American household for good reason.
It's easy to use and easy to eat. We pair it with eggs for breakfast and sandwich meats for lunch but when buying it organic, it can be expensive.
A conventional loaf of bread costs about 2$ but an organic loaf of bread costs almost 6$! That's a 200% increase in price! And you'd better believe that you'll feel that in your monthly grocery budget!
So what's the solution?
Reduce the amount of bread you're consuming. If you eat a lot of sandwiches, try switching it up with soups and salads instead. Or maybe try taking leftovers for your lunch. The more you can reduce your bread consumption, the longer that loaf of bread will last and the less money you'll spend on this household staple.
In my home, I rarely eat bread. I leave it for the kids when they have a taste for a sandwich or toast. Because they see me eating less bread, they eat less bread and a loaf can last up to two weeks in my home.
Conversely, you can start making your own bread at home. There's a whole market that offers quality organic flours both gluten and gluten free that you can use to experiment with to make a tasty home baked loaf. Some of the brands I like to use include Bob's Red Mill and LiveGFree baking mix found at Aldi grocery stores.
4. Buy Organic Produce In Season
There's nothing better than the taste of fresh produce in season! It's almost as if the flavor is more intense and the nutritional profile is more robust.
When buying produce in season, you get the cheapest price and this is true of organic produce as well. That's because farmers have more of the produce when its in season as opposed to not.
Buying in-season produce means that you are buying food at its peak in harvest and flavor.
Seasonal produce changes with the time of the year so you might not able to eat fresh tomatoes year round but you will save a good chunk of change when it comes to your budget. Buying out-of-season produce means spending more money because out of season produce is usually grown internationally, picked prematurely, and shipped to your grocery store.
Why pay more for an inferior product? Buying in season ensures that you get the healthiest produce for the best price!
5. Buying Less Processed Organic Foods
Sure its convenient but the price is astronomical! I understand that you just want to relax and unwind in front of the tv after a long day but is the convenience of pre-made organic foods worth the dent in your pocketbook?
For example, if you want a burrito, the conventional option might cost you a $1 or maybe $1.29. An organic burrito will cost you double! And that's just one example!
Think of the amount of money that you will spend if you opt for the organic frozen meals, pizzas, and packaged snacks.
A better bet would be to buy one or two organic pre-packaged or frozen meals a week and spend the rest of the week eating meals that have been prepped in advance.
6. Utilize Your Local Farmer's Market
Farmer's markets are some of the best places to get organic produce for cheap! Why? Because a lot of farmers who sell at farmer's markets, use less (or no) pesticides in growing their crops but don't have the means to get certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture, the USDA.
Getting certified organic costs a pretty penny and many small time growers just have that kind of cash.
So they grow their crops organic and then pass on the savings to you.
When shopping at your local farmer's market, you can always ask how the farmer grew his produce if you want confirmation that his crops are indeed pesticide free.
Try shopping at farmer's markets when the produce you want is in season to save even more money!
7. Grow Your Own Spices/Food
The best way to ensure that the food you are eating is organic is to grow it yourself! You can always buy non-GMO organic seed and plant whatever you wish.
If you live in a small space, you can always grow your own spices like basil, chives, and oregano, which will decrease your need to buy organic spices.
Plus there's nothing better than picking a basil leaf right off the plant and tasting it's robust flavor!
8. Buy Off-Brand or Store-Brand Organic Packaged Foods
I know that I suggested not buying so much pre-packaged organic foods but if you must buy them, consider buying the store brand organic foods.
I know that you may love one brand and feel loyalty to that brand but if eating organic while saving money is a priority, then store brand options are a good choice.
The stores who carry their own brand of certified organic products have to purchase products from farmers who have gone through the same organic certification process that more well known organic brands have gone through, so you still have the certified organic promise.
So there you have it! 8 tips on how to eat organic food cheaper!
Do you eat organic foods or maybe you don't understand what the hype is all about? Which of these tips do you think you'll use the most?
Let me know in the comments!