Most people are aware of the benefits of eating organic foods. They have been proven to contain a higher percentage of nutrients, have no pesticide residue, generally taste better and have positive benefits for the environment and the people who farm them.
So why don’t more people eat organic? Most people feel it’s too expensive. It costs an average of 30% more for organic goods than for conventionally grown products and not everyone has that extra money to spare. But by employing smart shopping tactics, you can save money and eat healthier. Here are a few tips and resources that we have found to help make eating organic a healthy and affordable choice.
Evaluate the food products that you consume every day. Decide which products makeup the core of your diet. The next time you’re in the supermarket, check out the natural foods section or visit your local natural foods market. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that organic milk does not cost significantly more than your normal brand and considering the huge health benefits (no hormones, pesticides or antibiotics), this is a great place to start – especially if you have children.
- When it comes to produce, use the clean 15 and dirty dozen guidelines provided by the Environmental Working Group to find what you should definitely buy organic. If it grows in the dirt or you eat the skin, opt for organic.
- Buy in season and be flexible. Purchase what is in season and you can save big on your produce purchases. This time of year, enjoy warm, squash soups, fresh broccoli, and artichokes. In the summer, the harvest is more bountiful and fresh fruit salad is easy to come by. Find out if your city has a local farmer’s market. This is a great source for in-season, fresh produce that if not certified organic, may still be pesticide free since it does not travel far. Many cities have farmers’ markets year-round, rain or shine.
- Check for local food-coops as well. You can become a member for very little money (sometimes as low as $20) and you then have access to all types of organic foods at great prices. Many times, if you donate or volunteer your time, you can get a discount on your purchase. Check out the site www.localharvest.org for co-ops in your area.
- Be on the lookout for coupons. Many natural products have coupons right on the package to be redeemed at checkout. Visit company websites. Many offer coupons and or incentives to try their products. Most grocery stores will have coupons or circulars at the front of the store to inform you of what’s on sale. A great site I found that offers coupons is mambosprouts.com. They both offer a great selection of food manufacturers with links to their home pages where you can request information and additional coupons.
- Keep an eye out for sales. Yep, organic products go on sale the same as anything else. This is where you can scoop up some great deals. When I go to the store, I typically wander through each isle to see if there are any BOGO’s or other sales on items that I consider a staple (needless to say, I always have a can of tomatoes on hand). The key to be flexible and stock up when something you like or use as a staple goes on sale.