In an ideal world, eating organic foods should be the norm. How else would you be against consuming foods without preservatives, artificial additives, and even harmful pesticides?
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. The reality is that organic food is more expensive than conventional food. Why? For the following reasons :
- Higher labor inputs with lower returns
- Limited organic food supply compared to demand
- Post-harvest handling costs, including separation of conventionally produced foods for processing and transportation
- Marketing inefficiencies due to lower volumes
As such, many people tend to avoid organic meals to avoid racking up expensive bills.
However, that doesn’t mean you should give up on the idea of buying organic food altogether. There are plenty of ways to go about this without hurting your food budget.
Now here are our top tips on how to afford organic food on a shoestring:
Eating meat is, by all means, an expensive affair. However, it doesn’t have to be a daily meal. Reducing your meat intake and increasing your vegetable intake is not healthy for your body, but it will also save you money.
If you are still determined to take meat, you can go for different cuts of meat as an alternative. These cuts of meat are cheaper and more nutritious, whether it’s chuck, brisket or sirloin. They may take a long time to cook, but will be worth replacing with conventional meat.
Also consider switching to plant-based meats to lower your food budget. Because they are produced from widely available grains, plant-based meats tend to be cheaper and healthier in the long run.
Buying items in bulk tends to be cheaper, as most have a lower cost than typical packaging. In other words, if you’re not taking advantage of “buy one, get one free” sales, then you’re missing out on a big chunk of the savings.
However, just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you have to buy it. If you really don’t need it, buying it in bulk would just be a waste. It only makes the problem worse by taking money out of your pocket that you could have used for the foods you actually need.
When buying in bulk, stick to dry foods or vegetables that have a long shelf life, like carrots, onions, or potatoes. Likewise, you can buy larger pieces of meat and freeze the portions for later use.
Develop your own
Growing your organic produce will save you a lot of money on vegetables. And you don’t need a huge garden to grow your food.
You can use pots, which take up little space, to grow your favorite vegetables. Herbs can be a good place to start, given the cost of buying them at the grocery store.
In addition to pots, you can also grow your produce on window sills or the porch. Better yet, you can opt for a raised bed, suitable for stacking a lot of vegetables in a small space.
Check out our guides here for how to start gardening:
Buy seasonal products
Buying produce, not to mention organic, is generally cheaper in season. This is due to its abundance and the fact that it was not shipped halfway around the world.
The advantage of organic, seasonal produce is that it is cheaper, fresh and more nutritious.
If you’re not sure when your favorite organic produce is in season, you can check out various seasonal produce guides online to stay informed.
Reduce food waste
According to research, Americans waste about 150,000 tonnes of food every day, or about one pound of food per person. Even more surprising is the fact that fruits and vegetables constitute a large part of this waste.
There are many ways to avoid this waste and spoilage of food. Make sure you have used all of your old products before making another purchase. Speaking of shopping, don’t overbuy – only buy the organic foods you really need.
Store all perishables in the freezer and non-perishable items in a clean, dry place.
Think about frozen organic foods
In all circumstances, it will be argued that fresh vegetables are healthier than frozen ones. However, this is not necessarily the case, as frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy and nutritious as their fresh counterparts.
Frozen products are picked and frozen at the peak of harvest, instantly preserving their nutritional value. In contrast, fresh vegetables lose some nutrients over time while being transported long distances to stores.
So the next time you hit the grocery store, watch out for frozen or canned foods.
Create or join an organic food cooperative
If you want to be healthy on a budget, try community food co-ops. They are more like grocery stores owned by a network of people. By signing up for one, you will gain access to a wide range of healthy foods at low prices.
They are also a great way to discover new products that you may not be familiar with. How to find a food cooperative near you? Just do a quick internet search or use online directories.
By all means, avoid the supermarkets! They like to sell organic food at high prices compared to farmers’ markets. When you buy organic food from farmers markets, you are assured of fresh, organic produce that is cheaper than what you would get in supermarkets.
Farmer’s market products come directly from the source and are sold the same day they are harvested. It’s tasty and very nutritious, which makes it a great deal.
In addition, purchases from farmers’ markets help keep small farms in business and contribute to a healthy and sustainable environment.
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