Organic Week is coming up and to celebrate I've decided to tackle one of the main reasons people tell me they don't shop organic - the COST. Well I've got some good news - with a few tips and some savvy shopping, you can shop organic affordably and on a budget.
Before I get to it, I want to make an important distinction. It's not that organic food is more expensive, it's that mass-manufactured, industrial farmed and packaged foods have become so cheap! For example, in 1950 30% of a households budget was dedicated towards food vs. only 13% in 2003 - and I can guarantee you it's not because people are eating half the amount of food.
With that said, I know that budget's can be tight so (in addition to my tips below) if you have to pick a choose where you spend on organic, be sure you use the Dirty Dozen / Clean Fifeteen list to help guide your choices.
So with all that said, here are my top tips to shop organic on a budget:
1. Shop in Bulk
Buying bulk for flours, grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats), nuts and seeds is far more affordable than buying food in a package. Packaging alone can make up 15-20% of the cost. You’ve seen how much unnecessary plastic and cardboard some food manufacturers use, it’s criminal! Nut butters are a royal rip-off if you don’t purchase bulk. In some cases they can cost $4-5 more than a similar amount purchased in bulk.
2. Grow Your Own Food.
Sprouts and herbs are my two favourite foods to grow at home in my pint-size condo. Despite my mom being able to grow anything (I swear she could grow a tree from ice), I didn’t inherit her green thumb, so if I can do it, so can you! Mung beans are my faves (see my video) and they are incredibly power-packed and nutrient-dense with B vitamins and protein. Even better if you have a garden to create an organic oasis of deliciousness! Kale is very hardy and easy to grow, same with tomatoes, cucumber, green beans, snap peas, squash and more.
3. Buy Supersize.
While I’m not a fan of massive stores like Costco and Walmart, I do appreciate they make organic more affordable to the masses. Of course I always prefer supporting local and independent businesses personally, but if you have a big family to feed then that tub of organic coconut oil for $25 that lasts you 6 months is pretty gosh darn attractive. Also, stores in Canada such as Winners and Homesense often have a food section. I’ve found hemp hearts, coconut sugar, coconut flakes and coconut flour for much cheaper and they are brands that I love.
4. Make Your Own Food.
Granola is one such breakfast food that is drying up your wallet. I’ve seen granola brands sell for as much as $11.99 and you’re lucky if you get 7 days of breakfasts out of that for one person. I only have two people to feed (Walker and I, and eventually Vienna) but even still, more often then not I make my own granola with the best ingredients and it’s about half the cost. Try my Cranberry Ginger Granola. Or instead of buying organic baked goods from your favourite health food store, make them yourself. I’ve got many wonderful baked goods in my book joyous health. Have you tried the Apricot Oat Granola Muffins yet?
5. Shop in Season.
One of the many reasons I love living in Ontario is the change of seasons which means a wide variety of different foods (although I could do without winter). When you buy foods that are in season, they are far cheaper. Even better, I have often found that organic food in-season is cheaper than it’s conventional counterparts. This is especially true if you shop at farmers markets and their fruits and veggies are growing in abundance.
That's it! I hope these five simple tips help bring more delicious, organic food to your plate.
Do you have other tips to shop organic on a budget? Comment and share below!