Eating an Organic Diet: 5 Smart Shopping Tips
Organic food choices are becoming a common presence in supermarkets and specialty stores all over the country as people turn away from artificial ingredients and pre-packaged meals. The health benefits of eating organic foods have made them popular, particularly for families who want their children to eat clean. If you want to add organic foods to your family’s diet but are concerned about the cost, there are several shopping strategies you can use to bring home organic fruits, vegetables, and meat without exceeding your grocery budget.
1. Plan Before You Shop
Because organic foods are widely available in a variety of supermarkets and specialty stores, it is wise to plan your shopping trip. Many stores have their weekly circular available online, while others have smartphone apps that allow you to browse sales and prices. Some chain supermarkets sell organic products, but you might find that their prices are higher than those you would find at specialty stores. Check prices on items you buy weekly, such as fresh fruit, to find the best possible deals.
2. Shop Seasonal When Possible
Organic fruits and vegetables are likely to be less costly when they are in season, which can result in an abundance of sales at your local independent markets. For example, blackberries and raspberries can usually be found at markets year-round, but they are at their freshest during their harvesting season, which lasts from May to early October. Not only can you save money on these fruits when they are in season, but their natural antioxidants also tend to be more beneficial when fresh instead of freeze-dried.
3. Shop the Bulk Aisle
Organic foods are not limited to fruits and vegetables. You can also find pasta, beans, and other starches, such as potatoes, at your local market. Shopping the bulk aisle can help you save money and stock up on these items, as they are not as perishable as other foods. Buying organic dried foods in the fall can be especially helpful to your food budget, as you can add them to soups and stews all winter long.
4. Revise Your Meal Planner
Keeping a meal planner can help you cut back on food waste and help you maximize the time you spend in the kitchen, so it is important to add organic foods to your meals and recipes in a way that helps you maintain that efficiency without additional expenses. One way to accomplish this is to reduce the amount of meat you use in your meals. Search for new recipes that focus on fresh vegetables or replace beef with organic cuts of chicken, which are typically less expensive.
5. Invest in a Water Filter
Water waste and harmful ingredients in tap water might be a concern for you as a parent, but buying bottled water can be harmful to the environment and add a significant expense to your grocery bill over time. Recycling can reduce plastic waste that comes from drinking bottled water, but there are other options that are both innovative and affordable.
Buying a tap water filter for your sink or a counter filter can prevent plastic consumption while giving your family access to clean drinking water. The filter only needs to be replaced every four to six months and the cost of the system can pay for itself over time. If you live in Southern California and want to learn more about how to reduce water waste, the Cadiz Water Project twitter page offers extensive information about conservation and organic farming.
Adding organic foods to your family’s diet can reduce the number of artificial ingredients and treated fruits and vegetables they eat. While eating organic can be costly, planning your shopping trips, comparing weekly deals and sales, and buying in bulk can help you save money each time you visit your local fresh foods market.