I have a special post for all of you today and I’m purdy excited about it. I have recently fell in love with Hannah over at Wild Mint Shop. Her Mom and her have teamed together to create one powerful company and message that I truly believe in. They are helping to provide non-toxic and environmentally friendly products to help you live a healthier lifestyle. Please show them some love as they have a great message! So with no further ado, Hannah, take it away!
5 Tips for Buying Organic Food on a Budget
One of the biggest challenges my husband and I faced when we started eating healthier was how we were going to buy organic foods without going way out of budget. At first, it seemed almost impossible, and to be honest the only organic items we bought were apples (which I can’t go a day without). But over time we learned how to maximize our dollar at the store, and today our kitchen is stocked with lots of organic foods, fresh produce, and whole grains. I know we aren’t the only family who has struggled with eating better, so I’ve put together a list of 5 things we do to help us shop organic on a budget. We hope our ideas help you the next time you navigate the grocery store aisles!
1) Prioritizing the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean Fifteen”
One of the best ways I’ve found to help manage our organic purchases is to follow the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Guide. Of course, organic foods can be pricey and since there’s no magic food fairy to deliver ours free of charge (a girl can dream!), we go by this helpful guideline. The “Dirty Dozen” is what the EWG classifies as the top 12 most pesticide ridden produce items. In comparison, the “Clean Fifteen” is the EWG’s classification for produce with the least amounts of pesticide residue. At the store, we try our best to buy organic produce listed in the Dirty Dozen and choose the more conventional produce outlined in the Clean Fifteen.
2) Get it “Whole”
When it comes to pricing and nutrition, sometimes convenience needs to take the back burner! For instance, instead of buying pre-packaged produce, reach for a bunch of whole carrots, an entire pineapple, a large melon, and a bunch of loose kale. Yes, it’ll require a few more steps in the kitchen but when compared to pre-packaged produce, whole foods will last longer, are less processed (manipulation of a vegetable degrades their nutritional value), and are cheaper (a dime here and there really ads up)! When picking out our produce I also try to be as “green” as possible by packing the produce in reusable produce bags instead of the green bags provided by the store.
3) Coupons, Coupons, Coupons!
Most, if not all, stores have coupons available either at the store, via snail mail, via e-mail, on their website, and/or social media pages. Make it a priority once a week to quickly search for your local store’s coupons, then plan your meals for the week based on what’s on sale!
4) Love the Freezer
When I started buying organic foods and cooking more from scratch, I quickly discovered that our freezer would become my new best friend in the kitchen! When organic foods are on sale, we buy extra of those items we know will freeze well, especially for smoothies and stovetop cooking. Then when we cook, we make extra so we can freeze leftovers in small portions for future lunches and quick dinners. Finally, we always freeze our food in non toxic glass food storage containers because they freeze well, don’t leach chemicals into our food, and have so many uses (microwave, oven, fridge, freezer, and serving).
Another tip to help you save money is to compare the prices of frozen versus fresh fruits and vegetables. Often times organic frozen produce is cheaper than fresh, especially if the produce is not in season!
5) Buy In-Season Produce
Seasonal fruits and vegetables are significantly cheaper, and to help you stretch your dollar the most, purchase extra of the in season produce, freeze it, and save it to use when it’s no longer in season.
6) Plan your Menu
Once you start planning your meals more often, it can actually be a lot of fun! Plus, you’ll notice how much time you save during the week, how much healthier you feel, and how much money you save cooking from scratch instead of buying pre-made foods, frozen pre-made meals, ordering takeout, or eating out.
Keep in mind that the list doesn’t have to stop here. I am always looking for new ideas on for buying organic on a budget, so if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear from you!
President, Wild Mint Shop
Hannah Helsabeck is President and Co-Founder of Wild Mint, an online shop dedicated to helping families find toxin-free and eco-friendly products for healthier lifestyles. She is passionate about educating others on the benefits of healthy living and the importance of taking small steps towards eliminating exposure to toxins in people’s daily lives. She also enjoys finding new ways to be eco-conscious and is often found in the kitchen cooking up simple meals with real, whole foods. Hannah is the oldest of six kids, has amazing parents as role models in business as well as life, and currently lives in South Florida with her incredibly supportive husband.
To learn more about living a more toxin-free lifestyle and find healthy recipes, visit the LEARN section of her website.0