Going Organic on a Budget

Before we began eating Real Food, I never bought organic.  In fact, I was kind of proud that I was so good at keeping to a budget when shopping and didn’t “waste” money on the (mostly) more expensive organic items.   When I began learning about what’s in our food I quickly realized that the only way to avoid the “bad” stuff – GMOs, pesticides, sewage sludge (yep), hormones, etc.- – was to eat organic.  This meant I had to come up with a game plan to start “going green” without spending all our green.  Here are my top tips to start the shift to organic in your own family.

1)       Compare apples to well, apples.  Even before we began eating Real my kids loved fruit especially apples, pears and bananas.  When I began shopping for organic fruit I came to the very happy realization that a lot of it is not any more expensive than non-organic!  In fact, in one store I found organic apples for less than the other apples.  I was so excited I had to take a picture (much to my kids’ embarrassment).

Organic Gala Apples $1.69/lb vs. Regular Gala Apples $1.99/ lb.

Organic Gala Apples $1.69/lb vs. Regular Gala Apples $1.99/ lb.

2)      Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.

When purchasing organic consider the price per serving.  Oftentimes the organic choice is only a few cents more expensive per serving than the non-organic.  For example, my kids love bananas and at $.49/lb I loved buying them.  But, that organic price of $.79/lb really seemed like a jump until I weighed each bunch and realized it’s only a few cents more per banana to choose the organic option.   Check out our Organic on a Budget chart for more “per serving comparisons”.

3)       Prioritize

There are some items that are just more expensive when they’re organic and you may not want to compromise and choose the non-organic version.  If you have any doubt about spending more on animal products such as: milk, eggs, chicken, and meat, there are several very eye-opening (and stomach churning) books and documentaries that will most definitely change your mind such as Food, Inc., In Defense of Food, and the one that changed me forever The Omnivore’s Dilemma.  I recommend reading all of these and more, but if you’re just getting started a good place to begin is to buy these organic,   or buy them from your local farmer’s market and ask the farmer how the animal was raised.    Although these organic items do cost more than the non-organic options, you’ll find that when you make the switch from buying a lot of prepared foods to making them yourself with real, whole ingredients the price per serving actually goes down!  Our Organic on a Budget chart is a helpful resource to use when shopping.

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