Buying Organic shouldn’t cost the earth. Literally. Yes, we are aware of the benefits, the better taste of organic food, and I strongly advocate for it, however the pennies do really stack and then, compromise does set it in.
Can I first persuade you to why we started going organic?
To be honest, in the pre-babies world, whilst I was fond of organic goods, I didn’t fully commit myself to purchase organic groceries, because, self-care wasn’t so much a priority. Fast forward to two kids later, I suddenly cared about what they were eating and in turn, what we as a family was eating. I started reading more into the potential effects a very poor current diet had on our family and read the benefits of food free from synthetic fertilisers, pesticides or genetic modification. This results in foods with superior nutrition – more beneficial vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and antioxidants to nourish our bodies in comparison to conventional produce. I thought, yes, we are having that!
Let’s get down to business. Money isn’t flowing and isn’t as organic to get as the food we want to purchase. It can get challenging at times financially, and yet one must eat and eat well!
How do we really shop and cook organic without breaking the bank?
1. We started using a subscription box- get it delivered to your door.
One of our happy mail (happy parcel) is to get delicious fruit and veg from a subscription service. Money wise, it is a fixed amount and within that amount, we can try a wider range of veg produce we wouldn’t ordinarily attempt. Bring on Chioggia beets.
2. Aldi has an organic range.
Supermarket brand food and grocery is usually cheaper, but did you know that many grocery shops have their own organic grocer brand products?
Here are a few examples:
Aldi: Cowbelle (Milk) and Merevale (Eggs)
Asda: Organic (We love their eggs price, and they also sell fruit and veg)
Whole Foods: 365 Everyday Value
Sainsbury: SO Organic
Scout out your favourite store’s generic organic brand before your next grocery run.
3. Don’t be afraid to buy cupboard staples in bulk
In the bid to have less junk in our pantry, we started buying bulk wholefoods, and it turned out unit cost wise, it is cheaper. Organic beans, lentils, nuts, grains, pasta, coconut milk and even seasoning/herbs have saved us in the long run. Our pantry has inspired us to try out new tasty meals (keep an eye out for pantry organisation post).
4. Take the DIY Route and grow your Vegetables
Our garden is still in need of SOS, but this is something we definitely want to start this spring on a small scale, growing basic staples. Not only is it a good step getting children more involved outdoors, it also saves some pounds on grocery and you will have peace of mind that you haven’t used any pesticides to grow them. Why not start by growing herbs?
5. My little secret: Homesense and TK Maxx
No, not organic discounted furniture, but discounted organic cupboard food in the kitchen aisle can save you a few pounds. We get staples from lovely olive oils or coconut oils. You will find cheaper quinoa, chia seed or organic teas in Homesense and TK Maxx, but it is hit and miss. It is worth a look there.
6. Eat Local Seasonal Food aka Farmers Markets
I love Farmers Markets. Colourful, beautiful, and totally inspiring. It is also heartwarming to speak with the growers and build a relationship with them. You can also strike a deal, buy vegetable and fruit is widely available at that season (berries are grown in abundance in summer than winter) and save some pounds on your organic grocery bill.
7. Cook Cook Cook
Seems obvious. Organic sauces and processed food prices really do stack up. If you aren’t the best cook, there’s no time like the present to learn. If you are a decent cook, but depend on take-out often, switch gears. Homemade food is almost always less expensive than processed heat-and-serve foods or food ordered out. If you can learn to whip up organic sauces, soups, pizza, bread and other meals on the fly, you’ll save a lot of money.
8. Buy Frozen
Don’t be afraid to buy frozen food – peas and berries are snap frozen whilst at their freshest, so they retain their high levels of vitamins and antioxidants. Ocado sells a few of them and when they do have offers, you can stock up your freezer and use them up for smoothies in the months to come.
9. Get Organised and save money!
Yes! It is so easy to overspend when you’re unorganised. I find that I can buy more pasta because you can’t find the pasta you already have at home or you’re not sure what those leftovers in the freezer are because you didn’t mark them. Overbuying organic food because you’ve lost track of the food you have is a huge waste of money.
Clean your pantry and fridge out at least once every other week.
– Always label leftovers.
– Write groceries lists in the kitchen so you can check supplies.
– Use see-through containers for leftovers.
– Organize your pantry in a logical way—baking goods together, canned goods together and so on.
10. Shop the ‘Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen” If budget is an issue.
There is a global list of the fruits and vegetables that absorb the most and least pesticides, and therefore can, in theory, dictate what you should always buy organic, and where you can save. However, some plants are affected more drastically by the pollution and pesticides in soil than others – meaning they absorb more of the bad stuff farmers put on their crop.
– Okay, so what makes up the Dirty Dozen?
While the list is updated annually, the same culprits crop up, year in, year out, with strawberries topping this year’s table. Apples, nectarines, peaches, celery, grapes, cherries, spinach, tomatoes (including cherry tomatoes) and cucumbers also feature.
– And the Clean Fifteen?
The products least likely to contain pesticide residues include avocados (the cleanest), pineapples, cabbage, onions, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, aubergines, kiwis, cauliflower and grapefruit. It’s also worth noting many of the entries on the Clean Fifteen have a thick skin, which acts as a barrier to stop pesticides entering the fruit.
– What about meat?
If your budget allows, try to buy organic meat, with beef being the priority (non-organic cows are pumped with hormones and antibiotics). Similarly, if you are going to eat cow’s dairy such as milk, yoghurt, butter and cheese, make an effort to buy organic.
Lastly, are there any more affordable ways to buy organic food? Where are the places you shop to get fantastic food deals?