One of the most common concerns about choosing organic food is the cost. Organic foods can be more expensive because you’re paying for more than the food product itself. When buying organic you’re paying the real cost of producing food as organic food needs to be produced in specific conditions and it can take a lot of money for the farmers to maintain their high quality standards (which by the way is better for the environment, animal welfare and our health). Eating organic should be seen as a long-term investment in your health, it’s not a fad or a quick fix. This is why we have created these tips to help you stay within budget.
1. Buy seasonally
When fruits and vegetables are in season they’re usually more available and therefore cheaper so you don’t have to pay high prices for out of season foods. Eating in season encourages you to enjoy a variety of nutritious fruits and vegetables. See this great seasonal produce guide here.
2. Buy locally
Buy straight from your local farmers markets as they are a great source of fresh, local produce. Not only do they limit the transport time of food, but it also tastes better, it’s fresher, it has more nutritional value and it’s cheaper. If you can’t afford to buy entirely organic, choose wisely which items to pay more for. A good rule of thumb is to follow the dirty dozen and clean fifteen guidelines.
3. Look for specials
Supporting organic brands in supermarkets increases organic supply in mainstream stores, therefore helping to increase organic demand and keep prices affordable. You can also purchase items on special online and in your local health food stores, just keep an eye out.
4. Buy in bulk
Take a bag or container and buy loose items like seeds, nuts, rice, dried herbs, flours and so on in bulk to save on costs. Many health food stores offer discounts on some products when this is done. You can also buy items in bulk online and divide it up with friends or family or become a member of a co-op group which is another great way to save money.
5. Freeze and re-use
Nine out of 10 times frozen organic fruit and veggies are cheaper than fresh. So utilise them, especially when money is tight, as they can be added to soups or stews, made into shepherd’s pie, used in stir fries and so on. When you have leftovers, don’t throw them out, have it for the next day’s lunch or freeze it for another time.
Make as much as you can from scratch instead of buying expensive pre-made meals, snacks, treats and drinks or eating out at expensive cafes or restaurants. You can create your meals based on the specials you have purchased that week. Go online to search for recipes, or use cookbooks, friends or family favourite recipes if you feel as though your meals are boring and need some inspiration.
7. Eat from head to tail
Buy a whole or half animal and freeze the portions you don’t use. If you don’t have a large enough freezer for the meat cuts then split the cost with a group of people. This will save you a lot of money. Also when you buy meat, make sure you utilise the organ meats and use the bones to make stock or broth which can then be used as a very healing and nourishing base for soups, stews, curries and other meals.
8. Grow your own food
Plant some herbs and leafy greens in some pots in your kitchen, on the balcony, in the backyard or wherever you can. These items are some of the most overpriced ingredients you can purchase at supermarkets and it won’t take long before they are flourishing. If you’d like to get the kids involved and maybe start your own organic veggie patch, watching this video featuring gardening legend Costa Georgiadis together is a great place to start:
If you have any more tips or tricks, we’d love to hear your comments.
Happy Changing Habits,
Changing Habits Nutritionist