Monday, June 17, 2013

Saving Money...Eating Organic

With the official start of summer coming up later this week, many people are looking forward to eating lighter, healthier meals full of fresh produce that remind us of warm weather and summer nights.

One of the most popular healthy trends right now is eating organically. Organic foods are free of typical pesticides and genetically modified organisms, but are often significantly more expensive than their conventionally grown counterparts. Is it possible to eat organically without breaking the bank?

1. Prioritize
-Research foods that are most likely to contain pesticides or be genetically modified. Consider purchasing organic for the major offenders, while purchasing conventionally for other foods. For example, I rarely purchase organic bananas, because the peel protects the fruit itself from pesticides. Eating organically doesn't have to be all or nothing. Save in some areas, while splurging in others.

2. Consider Homegrown
-Even if you have a small yard (like us), you can still grow your own food. We grow strawberries in pots, and have dwarf citrus trees that require little space. Our dwarf tangerine tree is about 3 feet tall and a foot wide at the base, but yields around 100 tangerines a year!

-However, homegrown doesn't have to mean you grow something yourself. Research local organic farms and sign up for a CSA basket. You are at the mercy of what's in season, but you'll probably get a great selection of organic produce for much less than purchasing at the grocery store.

3. Stretch Meat
-As with conventionally grown items, you'll get more bang for your buck if you use meat as a side with produce as the star of the meal. Read my top 5 tips for stretching meat here. I have found the best deals in my area for organic chicken and ground beef at Costco, but if you have local farms, you could buy a side of beef and split with a friend or store in the freezer.

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