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6 Ways to Keep Your Family Organic Without Breaking the Bank

Are you familiar with the dirty dozen list? If you aren’t, here it is: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, imported nectarines, imported grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce and, at a tie for number twelve, kale and collard greens.

These foods have the highest amount of pesticides remaining on their skins when they reach your plate. You should always look for organic choices when purchasing any one of these 12 items. But isn’t organic expensive? You bet it is! People traditionally avoid organic foods due to their expense.

If you’re living on a budget, there are six ways to keep your family’s plates filled with organic fare without breaking the bank. Here they are:

Grow Your Own

The best way, hands down, of ensuring that your family is eating healthy food is to have absolute control over what you are putting on their plates. To do this, you simply must grow your own produce. While most people aren’t blessed with enough land for huge gardens, almost everyone can grow at least one or two fruits and vegetables on their patios or decks.

Grain Bins

Buying in bulk is often the best way to get a great deal on foods and other goods. If your grocery store or farmer’s market has a grain bin, fill up your own bag instead of buying pre-packaged goods. Rice, couscous and other dried grains can be a healthy staple for your meals and are relatively inexpensive. Look for brown options instead of bleached-out white options when choosing healthy grains.

Buy Locally

Buying locally grown produce is a great way to save money and reduce the pesticide load on your family’s dinner plate. By purchasing locally grown produce, you’re cutting out the middle man, reducing the amount of money you’ll pay for these fresh foods. Look for farmer’s markets and road side stands in your area!

Buy in Season

Buy fruits and vegetables when they are in season. Doing so will net you cheaper prices and fresher food. Consider buying this produce in bulk and either canning or freezing it so you can enjoy it all year long! Canning and freezing is easy once you learn how and can give your family the chance to enjoy fruits and vegetables in the healthiest way possible. The supplies you’ll need will require a small outlay of cash, but once you’ve purchased all of your supplies, the money you save will pay you back in spades.

Join a Co-Op

Co-ops are becoming increasingly popular and easy to find. Instead of buying boxes and boxes of organic produce that will only go bad sitting in your pantry, members of a co-op share the cost of these boxes and split the produce. You’ll have to get used to being limited in your choices but co-ops can afford you and your family an opportunity to try fruits and vegetables that you may not have tried otherwise.

Coupons

Keep an eye out for discounts being offered at your local stores. As the demand for organic foods grows, many stores are offering discounts on healthier produce. Look at your grocery store’s website and see if there are coupons that you can load directly onto your loyalty card for an easy, convenient way to save!

Serving your family organic produce doesn’t have to break the bank. Look at these six tips as a way to save you incredible amounts of money. You’ll soon find yourself jumping on the organic bandwagon and giving shopping advice to your family and friends! Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your family can’t eat healthy while you’re trying to follow a budget. With a bit of know-how, you can eat healthier and stick to your budget at the same time.

About the Author

Randy Meyers is a freelance blogger for sidepon.com a site that makes it easy to find coupons for just about anything – for example, click here for ny and company coupons. She is always finding ways to save money on organic living!

If you are a fan of stuffed peppers, you will love this recipe that features fresh spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and of course, bell peppers! Remember, bell peppers are found on the Dirty Dozen list for containing high amounts of pesticide residue, so you may choose to buy local, organic bell peppers for this particular recipe. Found on FreshOrganicRecipes.com, this will definitely be a family favorite!

Orzo Stuffed Bell Pepper recipe

Ingredients


4 large organic red, yellow or purple bell peppers
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup Orzo
2 spicy chicken sausages, casings removed
3 tablespoon organic virgin olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped and drained
1 cup fresh organic spinach, chopped
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 Jalapeno pepper, roasted peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and discard seeds. Rub bell peppers with 1 tablespoon of olive oil coating both the inside and the outer skin. Set aside in a baking dish. Bring 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock to a boil (reserve remaining 1/2 cup of chicken stock for later use), add Orzo, cover and simmer for 20 minutes without removing lid during the cooking time.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, break up sausage into small pieces. Saute until browned, draining any excess oil when completely cooked. Add organic olive oil, onion, diced chili, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, celery seed, cilantro, Orzo and remaining chicken stock. Cook until heated and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and salt and pepper to taste.

Stuff peppers with orzo mixture and place back in the baking dish. Sprinkle tops with Parmesan cheese. Add 1/2 cup boiling water to the dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the peppers are hot. Serve immediately.

Thanks Fresh Organic Recipes!

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For those who cannot afford to go green in entirety, opting for a “lightly green” approach may be a practical solution. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) has named the 12 fruits and vegetables that contain the most residue from pesticides, aptly named the “dirty dozen,” and parents can choose to purchase the organic version of the following listed below for their family so as to avoid contaminants. As with any fruits and vegetables, make sure to rinse well with water and a fruit and veggie wash before consumption!

The Dirty Dozen

  1. Peaches
  2. Celery
  3. Apples
  4. Bell Peppers
  5. Cherries
  6. Nectarines
  7. Strawberries
  8. Kale
  9. Lettuce
  10. Carrots
  11. Pears
  12. Imported Grapes