There have been plenty of debates over the years as to whether eating organic is “really” better for you. In my own personal research and experience, the least amount of human interference the better it is – but lets face it, we are not all going out back and picking money off of trees. We have a budget that sometimes can be quite tight – and one of the biggest draw backs of buying organic is often the cost.
Most non-organic foods often contain cancer causing hormones and unnecessary antibiotics. They destroy our immune systems and contain dangerous pesticides. Pesticides are designed to kill – therefore, logically speaking anyone in their right mind would presumably choose an option without such poison sprayed on top.
Pesticides have been found to increase the potential development of everything from neurological issues, cancer, vomiting, allergies, asthma and rashes to ADHD and many more disorders. This my friends, is why buying and eating the most pure and minimally altered food makes the most sense to me, and it should to you too.
Here are some ways we have managed to feed our family of six mostly an organic, minimally processed food diet without blowing our budget completely out of the water. The investment you make now will end up saving you big time in the future. Pay the farmer, or pay the hospital down the road. The choice is yours.
9 Ways to Eat Organic and Save Money
1. Grow a garden. We do not have a ton of yard space but over the years have found ways to expand the family garden. Areas in the yard that were once filled with beautiful flowers are now covered in strawberries, dill, tomato plants and carrots. And the various pots residing on my front porch have become the new home to a luscious herb garden.
You don’t need to have a farm to provide a variety of healthy foods for your family – all you need is a little creativity, dirt, seeds, water, and sunshine. Better yet, if you are extremely tight on space join some friends, swap produce, and create your own community garden club.
2. Use your freezer. We freeze everything – yes, we even freeze cookie dough for those “in a pinch” or “craving something sweet” moments. We store all of our gluten free flours in the freezer to help maintain their optimal freshness, and freeze left-overs for future on the go lunches. Keep your organic waste at a minimum by freezing as much as possible.
3. Join a CSA (community supported agriculture) group. Among the many things we have done over the years, this still remains among one of my favorites. If you are not familiar with how this works – basically, a farm will set a yearly fee for shares in their farm (you, in a sense are buying part of the farm). In return, a specified amount of weeks throughout the year you will receive a box of “in season” produce directly from your farm.
This was when I first became familiar with blanching and freezing produce for later use. There is nothing quite like looking in your freezer at the end of summer and having it completely stocked with organic produce already washed, prepped, and ready to go for winter months ahead.
4. Try your hand at canning. Canning used to be intimidating to me and, I’m not going to lie, after nearly 5 years I still always seem to need a quick canning refresher course before getting started. However, much like riding a bike once you do it – you really never forget. So take the plunge and can some of your in season organic produce.
Homemade organic strawberry jam really does make those routine PBJ’s a little more special and, you know exactly what is in it.
5. Join a food co-op. Co-op’s provide the rare opportunity to buy frequently used items in bulk at discounted prices due to the sheer volume being purchased. I cannot emphasize enough how handy this is. Whether it is flours, sugar, oatmeal, or organic beans, buying in bulk can save you money. For example, the unitedbuyingclubs.com which we have used in the past, serves nearly 3,000 clubs alone across 34 of the 50 states.
6. Find and use organic coupons. I personally am not the most organized when it comes to coupons and I find sifting through coupon web-sights to be a daunting task, however I will join my favorite companies social media pages and become an email subscriber as they will often times offer special coupon deals only to subscribers.
I have also written companies to tell them how much I appreciate and love their product(s) only to be blessed in return with additional coupons for future purchases (or if I’m especially lucky on a given day they may even send free samples).
7. Meal planning 101. Plan meals according to the seasonal local produce available and also what you might have coupons for.
8. Make your own. Rather than buying the $5.00 box of granola bars, smoothie mixes, and kale chips – do it yourself! We like to freeze our fruit (strawberries, raspberries, etc.) this way throughout the year all I need to do is walk down stairs, grab a bag of prepared fruit (that has already been washed, frozen and stored in zip-lock bags). I now have “ready-made” berries for everything from homemade crisps to morning smoothies for the kids.
If you have never made kale chips, you are missing out. They are so incredibly simple to make and super good for you.
Kale Chip Recipe
- 1 Bunch of Kale
- 1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Seasonings of choice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Carefully, with a sharp knife or by tearing – remove the kale leaves from the thick stem. Wash and thoroughly dry the kale with a salad spinner or a clean dish cloth.
In a medium/large bowl drizzle olive oil and any seasoning you might desire on top of freshly wash kale. Toss gently and transfer to baking sheet.
Bake 10-15 minutes until edges are lightly brown.
9. Shop smart. Use the “clean 15″ and the dirty dozen lists. Do not buy pre-washed and ready to use produce – wash and dry your own. Pre-washed and cut produce can quickly bust the budget. Keep it simple and, shop smart.
What money saving tips have you used through the years to see that your family eats organic? If you are not buying and consuming organic produce, what is holding you back?