Eating Organic, Natural Food Without Breaking the Bank

Photo by K.C. © 2010 Kristin Conroy

Eating nutritious food can be hard on the wallet, especially if you are buying organically.  But you don’t have to sacrifice your health to save money.  Here are some suggestions for eating healthy without breaking the bank:

  1. Get your produce from Farmers’ Markets.  It’s fresh, seasonal, local, and usually cheaper because you’re getting it straight from the source.  You can also find out which farmers are following organic methods but just aren’t spending the dough to become certified.
  2. If you can’t buy all organic products, know which conventional foods are safest to eat.  That way you can save your money for buying organic produce that is highly contaminated otherwise.  Here’s a list of the foods that should be organic, along with which ones are deemed safe to buy conventionally.
  3. When you see a great price on organic produce and meats, think about creating your meal around them, instead of coming up with a meal idea and then finding your ingredients are adding up to a hefty bill.
  4. Keep an eye out for sales on products that have a long shelf life.  Stock up when you see great deals on organic unrefined oils, cans of wild salmon, unrefined sweeteners (maple syrup, raw honey, agave nectar, etc.) and spices.  These items tend to be a little pricey, but when on sale, are great deals!
  5. Buy organic dried beans, grains, nuts, and seeds in bulk.  It’s a lot cheaper than buying them in small packages or already prepared.  You can prepare large batches of beans and grains to save time and use the leftovers throughout the week.  And keep an eye out for sales…an even better bargain!
  6. Make homemade chicken, beef, and fish stock.  You can prepare the meat and then use the bones to make broth.  Not only will it be more delicious and nutritious than the store-bought version…it’ll be a lot more economical and yield enough servings for a family of ten!  When you’re ready to heat up your broth, throw whatever veggies you have available in the pot…a quick and easy meal!  There are a variety of great versions online, such as this one and this one, but make sure not to add sea salt until the very end.  Salt causes the bones to retain good stuff like collagen instead of releasing it for your benefit.  Also, the longer you let it simmer–up to 24 hours–the thicker and more nutritious it will be.  Stock can last for months in the freezer.

Happy, healthy eating!

Did I miss any tips?  Let me know!

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