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How To Eat Organically: 13 Tips Buy Organic On A Budget

by Helen
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How to start eating organic on a budget?

Tips on how to eat organic food, including fruits, vegetables, and organic free range meat.  Make your dollar go further when you transition to organic food.  Organic food can often be a little more expensive than conventionally-grown food, non organic.  Although, if you set some priorities, purchasing organic food and staying within your means may be feasible.  It helps to know exactly what foods are organic.   What exactly is organic food? – learn hereOrganic food tends to be more nutritiousHow to live a natural and healthy lifestyle?

Know The Levels Of Pesticides In Your Food

Some types of conventionally-grown produce contain higher levels of pesticides than others, and you should avoid them when possible.  On the other hand, some are low enough that purchasing non-organic is moderately safe.


Where Organic Matters Fruits and Vegetables

 According to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that analyzes the results of government pesticide testing in the U.S., the following fruits and vegetables have the highest pesticide levels, so are best to buy organic:

  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Potatoes
  • Grapes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Kale/Collard Greens
  • Summer Squash
  • Nectarines (imported)
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Hot Peppers

Fruits and Vegetables you - DON’T Need to Buy Organic.

Known as the Clean 15, these conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables are generally low in pesticides:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Mushrooms
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet Corn
  • Eggplant
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Onion
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Sweet Peas (frozen)
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe
Organic Food Stainless Steel Cookware
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Organic Food Examples: Buy Organic Eggs, Dairy, and Meat

In the U.S., industrially-raised animals may be fed corn, grains, antibiotics, animal by-products, growth hormones, pesticides, and sewage sludge. These practices can have health consequences for animals and people consuming their meat, eggs, or milk.

When you transition to organic food and buy organic beef and dairy products, be sure they are labeled pasture-raised or 100% grass-fed. In addition, for pork, chicken, or eggs, look for a certified organic label. How to eat organic to stay within your budget, you may find that buying more affordable cuts of meat from organically free-range raised animals allows you to eat organic without going over your food budget. For example, you can buy organic chicken thighs instead of conventionally raised chicken breasts.  Furthermore, you can cook meats in a crockpot on low to make them tender. 

How To Buy Organic On A Budget?

  1. Shop at your local farmers' markets.  Many cities host a weekly farmers' Market, where you can buy from local farmers who sell their produce at an open-air street market at a discount to traditional grocery stores.
  2. Join a food co-op.  Another option to being able to buy natural foods is to join a co-op or cooperative grocery store because they offer lower prices to members; you may have to pay an annual fee to belong.
  3. Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm.  You may be able to save money and stay within your budget, and individuals and families join up to purchase shares of produce or meats in bulk directly from a local farm.  Local and organic!
  4. Shop at Thrive Market; Thrive Market is an organic and all-natural product online grocery store that delivers directly to your front door.  Thrive Market offers grass-fed beef, organic chicken, wild-caught seafood, and non gmo organic foods.  Finally, you save up to 50%, are less expensive than Wholefoods, and have more organic options than Costco.
  5. Check your local grocery store for organic produce – the organic food segment is growing!  Therefore, your local grocery store is more likely to stock organic produce and food.  If the selection has disappointed you in the past, it's time to look again. 

  6. Eat according to the season – When shopping for organic food, you will more than likely find a better selection of organic foods in season.  For instance, in the summer in North America, you'll find a great selection of fresh organic berries at a reasonable price.  However, more organic squashes and potatoes will be available in the wintertime

  7. .Shop the sales – In my experience, organic food goes on sale just like non-organic food.  Therefore, watch for coupons, special sales, and deals, especially on a budget.  Also, there is some good news the increasing demand for more organic foods has reached even the warehouse stores and discount stores.  You may have to buy in bulk, but you can save more when buying organic.

  8. Buying frozen produce instead of fresh – frozen berries and vegetables is a great way to increase your intake of organic versions, which are usually less expensive than fresh ones.  In other words, you can get more bang for your money if you buy frozen vs. fresh.  Appropriately cooked, frozen vegetables taste good as fresh but are more convenient to use, with no waste.

  9. Choose whole foods  –  Forego convenience may save you time, but you will pay more.  For instance, when you buy a block of cheese, slicing or grating it yourself is more inexpensive than buying processed cheese slices or bags of grated cheese.  Plus, you will avoid additives that prevent cheese from caking, etc.  Thus, washing and chopping lettuce yourself is cheaper than buying bagged salad when you buy ahead.  Additionally, it will stay fresher longer.

  10. Buy in bulk.  Buy non-perishable items in bulk, such as organic dried beans, lentils, pasta, and canned fish, which will save you money and shopping time if you have the space, store products in smaller portions to use as needed.  Such as, grains and cereals can be stored in airtight containers, repurposed and jars, mason jars.  

  11. Purchase generic or store brands.  Buy a store label or generic brand because, most often, it will be cheaper than the name brand, and the quality is the same.  

  12. Drink non-bottled water instead of soda.  Water is free, and you can easily flavor it by adding various spices with fruit such as lemon, lime, or orange or by making tea. 

  13. Simple ways to save money, make your morning coffee, and avoid picking it up on the way to work or school.  Additionally, rather than buying breakfast or lunch, make your own by utilizing leftovers and making a homemade salad, sandwich, or hard-boiled eggs.

NOTE:  Purchasing goods in bulk can be cost-effective since the price per unit decreases as you buy more. This holds true for non-perishable items that have a long shelf life. However, it's crucial to consider your actual needs and consumption rate before buying in bulk. Buying too much of something that you won't use can be wasteful and unproductive. Furthermore, some items may spoil before you have a chance to use them up, resulting in wasted money. Therefore, while buying in bulk is a smart way to save money, you need to be thoughtful and intentional about it.

Related:  If you buy groceries in bulk or for less food waste, you may benefit from our guide on How To Organize A Pantry.

Perdue Farms Curated Bundles = Savings!


Buying Tips For Organic

Buy what is in season; when you buy in-season, fruits, and vegetables are the cheapest and freshest.  Ask your local grocery store or Market when produce is delivered.  You will be buying the freshest food possible.  Shop around by comparing the price of organic items at the grocery store, the farmers' market, online, and in other venues (even the freezer aisle).  Also, by storing your fruits and vegetables properly, there will be less waste.

Transition to organic food and buy organic baby food in bulk or large containers.  The other option is to make your baby food; you know exactly what is in it.  Again, always read the label.

Food for thought, organic does not always equal healthy.  Always read the label, companies make junk food sound healthy, but it is a marketing ploy in the food industry.  However, organic baked goods, desserts, and snacks are usually very high in sugar, salt, fat, or calories. 


organic fruits and vegetables

Why Is Organic Food Often More Expensive?

Since farmers do not use synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or drugs, organic food is more labor-intensive. Getting certified as organic is expensive, and farm animal feed can cost twice as much.  Although, some online organic meat delivery sources are more affordable than buying at local grocery stores, not to mention the convenience of delivery to your front door.   Furthermore, organic farms tend to be smaller than conventional farms, meaning costs and overhead are across smaller produce volumes without government subsidies.

Can You Eat Organic On A Budget?

Online retailers. Many websites offer grocery delivery services like Thrive Market; foods are up to 45% less than local grocery stores, which can save you time and, in some cases, money. Plus, some online retailers offer reduced prices over conventional supermarkets while others, such as Thrive Market in the U.S., also focus on healthy, non-processed foods. We recommend you factor in any delivery costs or membership fees when comparing prices, although many online companies offer free shipping if you spend a certain amount.  Also, food costs are less expensive than in local food health stores.


Where To Shop For Organic Food

To find online farmers’ markets, organic farms, and grocery co-ops in your area, visit:

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