Eating healthily and organically on a tight budget?
I am here right now to bust one of the absolute BIGGEST misconceptions about being healthy that far too many people believe. I have heard the following statements over and over again and there is actually nothing farther from the truth….
“I can’t afford to eat organically” or worse “Eating healthily is too expensive”
“If money wasn’t an issue I would cook more for myself but since I’m on a tight budget I cannot afford to.”
And various other versions of the same point.
Also, I hear time and time again from others that they’ve had to eat out as there’s just no food in the house…?? This can definitely add a serious dent in the budget and the health.
Eating healthily and cooking for yourself on a regular basis has been proven time and time again to save FAR more money than otherwise, and also staves off hunger for a much longer period of time as you’d be eating whole foods in larger quantities prepared by you. Did you know that eating organic food means that your Healthy Body will need 30 – 60% LESS food than eating nutritionally deficient conventional foods? Let me show you how this is easily done.
First of all there are a couple rules of thumb to follow:
If you’re going to buy organic anything please please let it be meat! There are a lot of fats in meats, fat stores toxins and no other being on earth has got more toxins (in the flesh as well as the fat) than conventional and factory farmed meats. They are absolutely full of hormones, antibiotics, etc, etc. If you really cannot afford organic at all in the meat department at least buy “natural, grass fed, raised without the use of antibiotics, etc.” which is less costly than certified organic.
***When I go to the grocery store, I go to the organic/all natural meat section and pay attention to the expiry/best before dates on the packages. If you come back when the meat is just before or on that date it is greatly marked down to the same cost if not less than the conventional stuff. Buy it all up, buy up your produce, and others listed below and spend the evening or next day, whenever, cooking it all into large batches of healthy meals that can be portioned into containers and kept in the fridge and freezer for a quick and easy healthy meal at hand that will last a week if not more! Even better, let your slow cooker do the cooking for you! Having all of your foods prepared in advance saves you a lot of time.
If you really can not afford organic in the produce department at the very least go local, all natural, and pesticide free. Keep in mind that there are certain produce items that have more pesticides than others to help you choose more wisely.
Organic foods do tend to be more expensive than their counterparts, however making informed choices while buying groceries helps minimize pesticide consumption while keeping the budget in check!
There is a rule of thumb about this called “The dirty dozen and the clean fifteen.”
This does not mean you should all together avoid “the dirty dozen if you can not afford the organic version as it’s ALWAYS a healthier option to consume fresh fruits and vegetables over anything processed or frozen. So, the dirty dozen are the more pesticide laden foods and the clean fifteen are ok to eat non-organically (although organic is always the absolute best option.)
The Dirty Dozen (in order of contamination)
- Sweet bell peppers
The Clean 15(in order of least contamination)
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet peas
- Sweet potatoes
Buy whatever is currently in season! In season items are always less expensive & the amazing world of the internet can not only tell you what is currently in season but recipes that go along with it all too!
If there are any Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms in your area, consider joining one. There is a fee that varies by location and amount of food, you “subscribe” to the season’s harvest, and pick up your portion once a week at the farm or a farmers’ market (some CSAs also deliver). These groups are often able to buy other goods in bulk and pass on the savings to members. Most are volunteer-based, with some perks for helping out with boxing up orders and other tasks, so you get the additional benefit of knowing that A) you’re supporting local agriculture; B) purchasing the very freshest goods and C) saving money and the secondary environmental costs of not shipping produce from halfway around the world!
You can go to your local farmers market rather than the grocery store to save a lot of money on produce. You will get far more produce for your buck here (although not necessarily organic) it would be more local produce that is not laden with chemicals and it’s always great to support your local farmers!
***Extra tip: Go right before they are closing, they begin to practically give everything away! Leaving you with a ton of fresh local produce (and meat) for next to nothing!
Side note: There is NOTHING more satisfying (and it’s not that difficult I swear) to grow your own food 🙂 It’s like printing your own money and can be done in a very small area also. No need for a big garden. You can even grow items inside!
Next, head over to your bulk food store to buy bags full of legumes, lentils, beans, peas, quinoa, rice, millet, buckwheat, etc. Here you can get a huge quantity of the above that will not go bad & will be enough for many upon many meals!
I myself use cauliflower rice for my meals that would otherwise contain grains. One head of cauliflower when “riced”/minced is enough for a minimum of 4 generous servings of a much more nutritious a delicious version of rice ;).
All of the above will get you well on your way to a fuller piggy bank and a full belly making you healthier than you’d thought you ever could be on a tight budget.