Eating organic is a great way to reduce exposure to pesticides, but people often view it as cost prohibitive. While many of us cannot afford to buy organic foods 100% of the time, it is possible access organic foods in a way that maximizes your dollars. If you don’t have an unlimited budget, check out these 10 tips to eat organic for less.
1. Buy in Peak Season - Take advantage of items in their peak season. Buy organic fruits and vegetables when they’re bountiful as prices drop and are often not much more than their non-organic counterparts. Stock up and freeze extras like blueberries and strawberries which can be used for smoothies and desserts for the months when they’re not in season.
2. Prioritize The Dirty Dozen – Not all fruits and vegetables are equal when it comes to contaminates. The Environmental Working Group has released “The Dirty Dozen,” or the top fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residue. If you can only buy a few organic items, prioritize based on this list of most contaminated items.
- Sweet bell peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Hot peppers
3. Consider the Clean 15 List
You don’t have to buy all produce organic. The “Clean 15” lists fruits and vegetables with the least amount of pesticide contamination. Buy these more often if you can’t spend on organic.
- Sweet potatoes
- Sweet peas – frozen
Buy Staple Foods Organic – If you have a limited grocery budget but want to still buy organic, do so for only the foods you eat most often like milk and bread.
Buy Store Brand Organic Foods – Many grocery retailers now carry their own line of store brand organic foods. While generic items in the past sometimes had a bad reputation, nowadays the quality has improved and is often on par with the big name (more expensive) brands.
Buy on Sale and Stock Up – When organic foods go on sale, take advantage of the deals and buy in bulk to stock up for later months.
Buy from Farmers Markets – Many Farmer’s Markets include organic vendors who sell their fruits and vegetables at prices equivalent or better than the grocery stores. Buying local not only supports the community but also means food is likely fresher since it has traveled less distance.
Grow Your Own Organic Food – Growing your own produce guarantees you can control exposure to pesticides. Try planting a garden in your backyard or apply for a plot in a community gardens.
Use Coupons – Scour sites like MamboSprouts.com that provide coupons for only organic foods. Another option is to print coupons from organic manufacturers’ websites like Stonyfield.com and HorizonDairy.com.
Limit Pre-Packaged Organic Foods – While buying pre-packaged organic foods like frozen dinners is convenient, just like their non-organic equivalents, you’re going to pay a premium. Limit pre-packaged organic food purchases, and instead opt to cook more using organic produce, which will be lower in price than convenience foods.
Have additional tips on how to save money when eating organic? Share with us in the comments section.