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 StaplesYou 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 GeekAs organic food becomes more mainstream, health food stores are
3. Plan, Plan And Plan Some MoreThe 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 LegumesLegumes 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 CorrectlyShockingly, 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’ MarketsConnecting 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 FriendsAs 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 NotTap 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.