22 March 2013

Top Tips for Organic Food on a Budget

These days, organic food is big business. More and more consumers have realized the benefits of organic foods and of course supermarkets have responded by stocking more organic products. But due to the high demand and strict requirements of organic products, their prices can be rather high, and the “organic” component can often be dubious, especially in imported products.

For those who are eating on a budget, the price of organics can be a turnoff, often doubling a grocery bill. But there are ways to get organic foods for less. Here are some tips:

* Avoid the supermarket as much as possible. Supermarkets are generally the worst place to buy organic foods, because prices are high and quality tends to be low. Instead, try buying organic foods at health food stores or better yet, wholefood stores.

* Visit your local farmer's market. Farmer's markets are among the best sources for local produce. And farmers that sell locally are much more likely to produce organic foods, even though they may not have gone through the expensive organic certification process. Detailed information about the products is usually available, and you can ask the vendor any questions you may have.

* Buy from organic food delivery services. These services sell boxes filled with various types of organic foods at discounted prices. You can get boxes of fruits, vegetables, meats or other items, or you can buy boxes that contain all sorts of organic foods. Most services offer a variety of options, so there's sure to be something that meets your family's needs. The prices are fixed, it’s delivered to your door and while the prices may be slightly more expensive than your supermarket, the quality is always superior (and often far superior) and by staying out of the supermarket you are avoiding those impulse buys.

* Buy non-perishable organic foods such as grains and cereals in bulk. Stores can sell items such as these in bulk much cheaper due to the lack of packaging. And as long as they're stored properly, they will keep for a very long time. I buy rice, flours, dried fruits and legumes in bulk and store them in the freezer until they are needed in the kitchen.

* Shop around. Different stores often have vastly different prices on organic foods. Take note of prices at local stores, and check prices online as well. When it comes to organics, it definitely pays to seek out deals.

* If you truly can't afford to go completely organic, adding more organic foods to your diet can still be of benefit. The most important things to buy organic are meat, cheese and milk. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, try to at least buy the foods organic that are most prone to pesticide contamination. These include peaches, apples, caspicums, strawberries, lettuce and carrots.

* Grow your own organic fruits and vegetables. It's simple to do, and when it comes time to harvest, you'll have plenty of food for your family and then some. Bottle, dehydrate or freeze the excess and you'll have delicious home-grown food to eat in the winter, too. You can find all sorts of information on organic gardening and food preservation in the Member’s Centre.

The benefits of organic food are many. It's better for the environment than food that's grown with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and it's certainly better for our health. And if you are willing to search for the best prices, eating organic isn't as hard on your wallet as you might think.

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