How To Eat Organic On A Budget

How To Eat Organic On A Budget
Wondering how to eat organic on a budget? Here’s how with some simple, effective tips!
Organic food carries a reputation of being more expensive. This perceived price tag has become a common obstacle to eating organically. 

And with other living costs to juggle, especially coming into the festive season, it can be tempting to view organic food as something you just can’t afford. 

We honestly can’t argue that many families are doing it tough. It is also undeniable that the average cost of organic food is a little higher than its conventional counterpart. However, we can argue that healthy, organic food is possibly the most important investment that you will ever make.  

We can also show you easy ways to optimize organic eating on a budget, whilst making every food dollar work harder for you! Here are ten easy ways to optimize organic eating on a budget all year round:

1. Get Savvy With Your Staples

You may not realise just how good your grocery items are at multi-tasking! Check out a few of our favourite versatile ingredients:

Oats. As a relatively cheap organic commodity, oats can also be used in many ways and make a great pantry staple. Add them to rissoles, lentil burgers and most sweet baking recipes that call for flour. They also serve as a natural exfoliant for your face - simply mix with a little raw honey and water!

Vinegar. In addition to its many culinary uses, a quality organic vinegar can form the base of many salad dressings, make a great chemical free cleaning aid and act as a natural skin toner. 

Rice. This little grain can help to spread healthy organic meals further at low cost. Try mixing rice with more expensive grains like quinoa and millet - that way you can still enjoy these premium grains on a regular basis but without the full financial outlay. 

2. Be A Grocery Geek

As organic food becomes more mainstream, health food stores are wisening to marketing trends. As such, you’ll notice that many organic food retailers now offer weekly specials, as per a Supermarket business model. Stay tuned for their upcoming specials. This way you can accordingly plan your weekly meals around items on special. 

3. Plan, Plan And Plan Some More

The more you plan, the more you save! Decide what meals and snacks you would like for the week in advance and write a shopping list that matches these needs precisely. This cuts down on compulsive purchases that you don’t end up using. Try to plan recipes that make full use of your food purchases. For example, if you need to use only half a jar of food e.g. coconut milk in one recipe, can you use the leftovers for another meal? 

4. Love Up Your Legumes

Legumes offer an absolute bounty of nutritious goodness and are very cheap to boot! With experts clamouring for us to moderate our red meat intake, lentils can make a wonderful mince substitute in traditional bolognese and lasagne dishes. You can also add legumes to soups, curries and casseroles as a cheap and convenient way to make your meal go further. 

5. Store Your Produce Correctly 

Shockingly, almost one third off all food that we produce worldwide is wasted (http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/food_waste_the_facts). Therefore, if you can learn to store perishable produce correctly, you can potentially save a lot of money and help to reduce this alarming worldwide collective of food wastage. Here are a few ideas to protect your produce in the fridge:

Keep Away Moisture. Excess moisture around your produce invites spoilage into your fridge. Pat all produce dry before stowing it away. It can also help to line your vegetable crispers with dry towels to help absorb some of the circulating moisture. 

Air Flow.
If produce is crammed too tightly together, temperature control and fresh air circulation cannot operate properly. This results in slimy vegetable spoilage that is easily preventable by spacing out your fruit and veggies so that they have proper ventilation. 

Keep Your Friendly Veg Together.
Even after they are picked, fruit and veggies emit natural gases. Some of these gases can mix and accelerate spoilage in your produce. For example, apples and carrots should be stored in separate drawers. Otherwise, your carrots will taste soapy! Potatoes and onions should also be stored separately. 

6. Farmers’ Markets

Connecting with your local growers and buying fresh, local produce is not only cheaper but also offers a bounty of health benefits. Produce from Farmers’ Markets tends to be seasonal and freshly picked, which means you are eating food at its peak nutritional quality. And whilst you’re saving money on your Grocery Bill, you are also supporting the local economy. Make friends with your local farmers today, you may even get a few freebie extras :-) 

7. Buy In Bulk With Family And Friends

As a general rule, food costs less per volume the more that you buy. Many organic retailers will provide additional discounts for purchasing in bulk. To spread the initial outlay of buying large quantities, why not chip in together with loved ones? This has the added environmental advantage of lessening food waste. 

8. Waste Not, Want Not 

Tap into your creative power and learn how to optimise the full lifecycle of common foods. Repurposing food has the twofold benefit of reducing your food bill and cutting down your carbon footprint. Some of our favourite tips include:
  • Reserve your veggie juice pulp and use it later in patties, casseroles and soups. 
  • Dehydrate leftover fruit that is too ripe to enjoy eating any longer. 
  • Make a ‘Leftovers Frittata’ using all your remaining veggies the night before you shop. If you don’t eat eggs, bind your frittata with besan flour and water. 

9. Be Selective With Fancy Frills

Learning to enjoy food in its simple, beautiful state as Mother Nature intended can make organic food very affordable. Staple ingredients such as produce, grains and legumes tend to be more comparable in cost to conventional food. Conversely, organic condiments and other luxury items can start to creep up a little more in cost. Perhaps prioritise one or two special organic treats that you would like to enjoy then stick to basic but naturally beautiful staples for the rest of your budget. Your taste buds will adjust to eating clean and simple.

10. Supplement By Growing Your Own

Wherever you can find a patch of sunlight, there is an opportunity to grow your own food! Many veggie planter boxes are available on the market to suit just about any home, no matter how big or small. Leafy greens and herbs are particularly easy to grow with only a little TLC. Over the course of a year, these can make a big difference towards your overall Grocery Budget. 

What’s Your Favorite Tip For Eating Organically On A Budget? Share Your Own Ideas Below!


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About the Author

Laurentine ten Bosch

Laurentine ten Bosch

Laurentine ten Bosch, filmmaker of Food Matters and Hungry For Change and founder of FMTV. Along with James Colquhoun, Laurentine founded Food Matters, giving people the tools (films, books, website, TV) to take charge of their own health. Food Matters is an internationally acclaimed widely popular documentary about the medical and healthcare industries. Their latest documentary, Hungry For Change, reveals how the diet and processed food industries are the enemies of permanent weight loss, vibrant health, and natural living. From here, FMTV was born! A place where we can access vital information by watching all of your favorite inspiring documentaries, expert interviews & recipe videos in one place.

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