Originally, all foods were “organic.” They were grown and prepared without pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, hormones or irradiation. Foods were unrefined, whole or minimally processed. Since World War II and the advent of chemical farming and food processing, the soils and foods of much of the world have been depleted of many important minerals and nutrients. Our food these days, whether of vegetable or animal origin, is not only deficient in nutrients, but also full of pollutants and farming chemicals. The modern process of denaturing foods via heavy refining and chemical treatment deeply affects the life force of our food supply, making it difficult to foster equilibrium and health.
With all this said, many families are seeing the big picture and understanding the reasons to buy and eat organic foods. However, without guidance on how to budget a new life with organic items families can become confused about the world of organic shopping.
I’m here to tell you that I too struggled with the whole idea behind what I, as the meal planner and ingredient buyer, needed to buy in order to consume organic foods. I discovered that because I actually had a budget and couldn’t buy everything organic with my budget there were some key items and habits that needed to be implemented so that I could provide the biggest bang for my organic buck.
Crucial Tips for Organic Shoppers on a Budget:
1) ALWAYS BUY ONLY ORGANIC DAIRY. If your budget only allows you to buy organic dairy (milk, cheese, eggs, and yogurt) then you have no choice but to make sure that this is a priority on your shopping list. There are so many negative side effects to non-organic dairy sources so don’t ever get frugal and opt for non-organic when buying dairy. I am able to get great prices on organic choices, because I shop at Costco. Costco has aligned with the best of the best organic dairy farmers and provides prices that are unbeatable. Another plus with buying your dairy through Costco is that with buying bulk, the whole family can be fed super healthy dairy without running out. If you were to shop at a regular store you would find the same Tillamock Organic Cheese with less quantity at double the price that Costco sells it for.
2) BUY CHICKEN TENDERLOINS INSTEAD OF BULKY BREASTS. Many people want to buy chicken that hasn’t been given any growth hormones and it can even be cheaper then non-organic chicken if you know what to look for. I choose to buy the smaller in weight tenderloins, because ultimately it’s tastier and the price allows me to feed my family of four all week with delicious chicken. Most people think that buying organic chicken is so expensive and it can be, but buying the tenderloins should work for any budget.
3) STOP BUYING EXTRA PACKAGED ITEMS AND OPEN THE DOOR TO MOSTLY FRESH PRODUCE. It is no secret that most people sabotage their health as they add packaged items to their cart, because they think that buying organic labeled cookies and treats is going to be good for them. Clearly organic packaged items are better for you then the conventional items which use questionable oils and sweeteners, but the bulk of your budget should be put toward organic produce and if there is room in your budget to buy a couple of packaged items then do it. I have found many clients who thought that they couldn’t buy organic because of cost, but once they eliminated the bulk of their “junk food shopping” they had a pretty good chunk of change to put toward organic produce,
4) GET TO KNOW YOUR LOCAL STORES AND THEIR PRICES. After doing some investigating (maybe visiting once or twice) you will decide which stores offer the best prices on organic produce. I have found that most of the stores offer great sale prices starting on Wednesday and ending Friday. Finding the windows to the lowered prices can really save on your pocket book.
These tips are the secrets to my success as I try to keep organic shopping a priority. It isn’t that difficult and even children can be taught these simple strategies when shopping with you. Children are four times more sensitive to exposure to cancer-causing pesticides in foods than adults. This fact alone keeps me on the straight and narrow to make efforts to practice my organic grocery budget wisely.
About the Author
Iva Young (known as “Healthy Iva”) is a health coach and the acclaimed author of the book, Healthy Mom. To learn more about Iva, please visit HealthyIva.com.