The Nitty Gritty Of Eating Organic On A Budget
Although recent studies have shown that there really aren’t significant nutritional benefits to eating organic foods as compared to conventional foods, many are still choosing to pick items that are labeled as being organic. Those buying organic foods seem to be making their purchases based on what’s not in the products, such as the pesticides and chemicals used to grow conventional products. People that choose to purchase organic foods are doing so to avoid ingesting pesticides, but also to help the environment by not supporting foods created with pesticide use.
However, if you’ve ever tried shopping for organic foods, you may have encountered some difficulties. First, organic foods are typically more expensive. Since farmers growing organic foods are not using chemicals and pesticides, their labor may be a bit more tedious, which drives up the price of their products. Also, you may find that some organic foods seem to spoil sooner than those that are not labeled as organic. This is due to the fact that they contain no chemicals to help with preservation, like some conventional items do. In some cases, organic foods may look a little different, perhaps with a different shape, slightly different colors, and maybe even be smaller in size. Taste is one factor that depends more upon the person. Some claim they can tell a difference in taste between organic and non-organic foods, while others think there is little or no discrepancy between the two.
According to “The Daily Green”, a website for environmentally conscious people, there are thirteen fruits and vegetables that you should buy as organic, due to the high level of chemicals used when growing them conventionally. These items include peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, leafy greens, grapes, carrots, pears, and potatoes. Meat and milk are two other recommendations the site gives as items you should buy organically, due to the hormones and antibiotics given to some animals, as well as the types of grass they eat. Additionally, the Environmental Working Group has published “The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides”, which ranks forty-seven fruits and vegetables by their contamination levels.
On the other hand, “The Daily Green” also lists a few things that do not need to be organic, in case you are wondering which items you should spend a little more on for the organic label. According to their list, onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mangos, asparagus, sweat peas, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, papaya, watermelon, broccoli, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes are all items that you could pass on the organic label. Most of these items either are limited in their exposure to pesticides, or they have such hard outer layers that the pesticides cannot easily impact them.
When deciding which organic foods best fit your budget, there are many factors to consider. If you want to purchase from the long list of fruits and vegetables mentioned above, make sure you are buying them in season. For instance, purchase your apples in the fall, and save grapes and strawberries for the summer. This will help save quite a bit of money. Also plan your meals around what is on sale. If a certain type of organic meat is on sale, stock up on it and freeze some for later.
Buying organic is a personal decision. There are many benefits to doing so, however, it may not always be the easiest choice to make based on the higher prices. You must weigh your options and decide what is best for you and your family.
Buying Organics on a Budget
Perhaps you have decided that purchasing organic foods is going to be a priority for your family. Although your budget may not have much wiggle room, there are ways to make this lifestyle work. Fortunately with more and more interest in organically grown food, there are many options available.
Many chain grocery stores, and even some warehouse type stores are beginning to offer more organic options than they once did. These items will be labeled, but make sure they say “USDA Organic”, as they are the only ones that have met USDA standards. Although organic items will typically be higher in price than conventional items, by purchasing them at places like Wal-Mart and Costco, you may find that they will still fit into your budget.
There are also some smaller, local organic grocery stores. Typically these stores will have prices quite a bit higher, just as any local, non-chain based grocery store would. However, if you are fortunate enough to live in an area that offers a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods Market you may have better luck cost-wise. These larger organic chain stores have endless options, and prices are a bit more affordable. Whole Food Markets even offer a 10% discount if you buy items in bulk.
Buying items that are in season will save you money. Don’t be afraid to ask your grocer what days certain fruits and vegetables arrive to the store. By purchasing those items as soon as they arrive, they will stay fresher longer. Make sure you only buy what you need for fresh foods. This way, you don’t have unnecessary food going to waste. However, if it is an item that can be frozen and it is at a good price, buy in bulk and stock up! Meat can be difficult to buy when trying to stick to a budget. Try to come up with meals that are “meatless.” By eating a few meals a week that don’t require any meat, you can save money easily.
Consider getting a CSA membership. Community Shared Agriculture or CSA, is available for you to order food from a local farmer, much like you would order a subscription to a magazine. When available, you will receive a share of local fruits, vegetables, eggs, and meats, all depending upon what is in season. However, you don’t necessarily get to choose what types of products you will receive, so if you have picky eaters in your family this may not be the best option. Also, you may have to get creative with some of your recipes to incorporate the items in your share.
Farmer’s Markets are also a great place to find locally, organic grown foods. Although items may seem pricey, there are ways to obtain some things more affordably. If you wait until close to the end of the day, many of the prices at the Farmer’s Markets are marked down in order to sell them before the market closes. You could even consider growing some of your own food. Items like cherry tomatoes and herbs are very easy to grow and can be done in a sunny window, or on a patio. As you get used to growing simpler items, you can learn how to grow even more complicated foods.
With a little research and comparison of prices, organic foods can fit into your budget. If eating organically is important to you, finding other places in your budget to make sacrifices may be helpful as well.
Feeling Good about Going Organic
Making the choice to purchase and consume organic food is a personal one. However, it is a choice that you should feel very good about making. By purchasing organic foods, you are choosing to support farmers whose crops are grown without anything contaminating the ground or water.
Only three percent of the food products in America are organic products. Nevertheless, many people are becoming more interested in organic products and the importance of consuming them instead of conventional products. Awareness of the toxic chemicals being used when growing crops is increasing and people are more and more concerned about the toxins they are ingesting, as well as what is happening to the environment.
When you choose to eat organically, you join the likes of many celebrities, including Julia Roberts, Christian Slater, Daryl Hannah, Christina Aguilera, Gwyneth Paltrow, along with many others. These celebrities all care about their health and the pesticide and chemica
l levels that non-organic food may possess, and have chosen to help the environment through their support of organic grown food.
There are many recipes available using organic products that are quick and easy to create for you or your family. You can start with something simple like an organic salad with fresh herbs using the following ingredients:
Organic tomatoes, diced
Mushrooms , sliced
Yellow peppers, sliced
1/4 cup Non-fat Italian dressing
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
Simply mix equal amounts of the greens, and place the tomatoes, sunflower sprouts, mushrooms, peppers, and any other fresh produce items on top. Sprinkle the herbs on top to your liking, and just before serving, mix the dressing and vinegar together and drizzle over the salad. You can also add ground pepper or peppercorns for additional flavor.
An option for a super easy meal for the family could be made with an organic chicken, organic rice, and sauteing organic vegetables to go along with it. There are countless recipes on the Internet, and even organic cookbooks you can purchase to give you endless ideas for meals. Of course, many of your current recipes can be fixed organically, simply by using organic items in place of what you would normally use.
Whether you’ve chosen to eat organically for many years, or you are a newcomer to the idea, there are many resources and options available to help you continue with your healthy lifestyle. Certainly, with more and more awareness, the organic market will only continue to improve.
Melanie McVarney wrote this organics article for Ratelines.com. For 6 years, Ratelines has been a valuable resources of investment information–for all aspects of life. For advice on cd rates or lucrative mortgage rates, please visit our site.