Organic on a Budget

Healthy living, as we all may know, isn’t a cheap venture.  Healthy eating is no exception.  Since turning to the more organic lifestyle, I find myself shelling out triple what I could get for a full meal on the dollar menu (~$3) only to have a bushel of grapes.  Sounds insane, right?  Depends on your mind frame and lifestyle goals you may have for yourself.
There are a couple of things I keep in mind while shopping that I think could help any shopper when trying to shop organic on a budget:
  1. Write down your grocery list and don’t stray from it.  Most times we go to the grocery store and “spot, grab and stash” whereas we spot something that we THINK we need, grab it, and put it in the cart.  Going in with a plan of action can eliminate unhealthy choices and unnecessary items in your cart.
  2. Research produce and know what’s in season.  In the autumn, apples are abundant, but strawberries are not.  If the produce is in season, it will be cheaper; if not, plan on paying a pretty penny for it.
  3. Frozen foods are a healthy alternative to raw produce.  Most frozen veggies are just as nutritious as its raw cousins.  Frozen foods, especially if they are not in season, are the cheaper route to go.
  4. Avoid grocery shopping when you’re hungry.  Have you ever heard the phrase “your eyes are bigger than your stomach?”  Note taken.  When you’re hungry, your appetite may cause you to make hasty decisions, so make sure you are in the position to actually shop without thinking of a meal combinations you want to eat … right then.
  5. Know when to buy organic.  Bananas, for example, do not have to be organic to be tasteful and healthy.  Because they have an outer coating (the peel), the need for them to be “organic” is not as high as getting a head of lettuce would be (because of the leaf exposure).  Tip: Make sure you wash the peel just as you would any other fruit before you consume it, though.  Pesticides can live on the peel and can be transferred to the flesh if you’re handling it without washing it.  For more foods you can avoid buying organic, click here.
  6. Remember the long term effects of eating healthy.  Looking at the immediate (i.e. prices) instead of the long term goals you have for healthy living is an easy cop out for eating healthy.  Remember, you only get one body and you are what you eat, literally.
Just because it says “organic”, doesn’t mean it is healthy for you.  Chips, fruit snacks, and ice cream are still considered junk food, with the stamp or organic or not.  Be mindful of what you consume and how it will affect you in the long run!  Happy Shopping!
Learn more about organic here: http://organic.org/