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Organic on a Budget (Guest Post)


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With all the information we have today about where our food comes from and what goes on it and into it, is no wonder so many people are seeking to eat organic. But, as everyone that has done it knows, eating organic can be rather pricey.

We've got yet another holiday coming up during which we Americans like to celebrate by eating an inordinate amount of food.  I, like many people, would like my Easter dinner to consist of organically grown foods, but how to do that without breaking the bank.  If you're on a budget you're probably familiar with this dilemma.  You're standing in the grocery store debating over the conventionally grown cucumbers for $.75 and the organic grown for $1.40.  Buying organic is always going to cost more, and many of us don't have the means to go completely organic.  So what to do?

Start by buying as many organic foods as you can squeeze into your budget.  Produce is a good place to start as you can pick the quantity and variety you'd like to buy, and it often costs less than boxed foods or meats.

Produce:

Here is a list of produce that, by virtue of their pesticide content, you should buy organic (if you can find them, that is.  I have yet to find organic bell peppers at our local health foods/farmers market stores).

Here are the safest to eat non-organic:

Boxed and Canned foods:

When it comes to shelf stable foods, buy organic boxed and canned foods when you can.  Occasionally you can find organic brands at about the same price as name brand items.  The organic brands will be free of artificial colors, flavors, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils, and other potentially harmful ingredients that are routinely found in our food.  Organic food companies have grown tremendously due to recent demand and you can now occasionally find coupons for organic frozen, boxed, and canned food.

Meats:

After watching the movie Food Inc. I would love to eat grass fed beef and free range chicken, but I'm afraid that, at this point, you have to have a pretty big food budget (or have some nice farmer friends) to do that

If you don't have organic foods at your local grocery store talk to a food manager.  Last time I was at the grocery store I was looking for some gluten-free crackers (for my 13 month old).  I asked the food manager and he said that they didn't carry any.  I told him that they might want to think about carrying some due to the rising demand of gluten-free products.  What did I find next time I went grocery shopping??? I found a whole array of both gluten-free and organic tot food!  It never hurts to ask. :)

*The charts included are from the Organic Consumers Association website. They have more great tips on avoiding pesticides on your food.
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Comments

We loved Food Inc. too. It was very eye opening. The list I carry around in my purse says grapes are not safe, so this was a very informative read. Thank you!
Anonymous said…
thanks for this post! i'm trying to go more natural/organic so this is the kind of info i like to see!
-darci
One of the best places to find organic fruit and veg around here is to join a CSA project - we get local and organic and get to try new veggies that we might not have tried before!
Amy said…
@Heather. What is a CSA? We have food co-ops around here, but I don't know whether they are organic or not.
Darcy said…
I'm trying to buy our produce organic - sometimes they are on sale which helps. I'm hoping our local farmers market will have organic produce.. I never shopped it before but plan to start this year.
Closer to Lucy said…
I have a friend that splits the cost of CSA with me...then we split the produce between our homes. I like it a lot & it not only saves money but cuts down on waste since it's split between our homes!

That and she hates peppers...so I get em all :)
Katie said…
Wow - super tips on organic shopping! I am just now stepping into the organic world so these tips really help!

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