I know, I know, I know! It’s been FAR too long. I’ve been super busy to say the least (when am I not busy?). Between a couple new freelancing jobs and clients who want me to help them with their inbound marketing/social media and a bunch of new recipes I’ve been playing around with, it’s been a whirlwind of to-do lists to say the least. But I am back and I’ve got some great tips for going organic and making the most of your money when shopping for food.
I have plenty of friends and family members who claim they just don’t have the time or money to invest in preparing healthy, organic meals. But purchasing organic foods doesn’t need to be as expensive as you’d think. One of my favorite lists of tips for going organic is Vani Hari’s 75 Tips for Eating Organic. I love how she divides this list into several sections regarding food purchasing, coupon use, prepping, etc. I do, however, have some of my own tips for going organic that definitely help when you’re short on cash.
10 Tips For Going Organic You Need to Try Today
- Make Overripe Fruit Your New Best Friend—Many organic markets will periodically mark down produce that’s ‘overripe’ or starting to spoil. But did you know most of the time these fruits aren’t overripe, but actually perfect for eating!? The riper a fruit is, the less acidic it is for your body and the more nutrients it provides. Obviously use your best judgment and don’t purchase fruit that’s rotting. But for some fruits like bananas that are actually better taste-wise and health-wise when they’re super ripe, you’ll get a great bargain.
- Don’t Underestimate Costco—I specifically mention Costco because that’s the closest wholesale food store to me. But stores like Costco actually have a ton of organic product that you can purchase at a discounted price. I personally recommend getting grains like brown rice or quinoa at Costco because they last the longest and are already pretty cheap to begin with. Definitely take advantage of canned organic items as well like organic diced tomatoes and tomato paste. You can easily store all of these foods in your pantry and they’ll last a long time.
- Consider Going Meatless—I struggled for years about eating meat because I knew it was loaded with a ton of crap, but couldn’t always afford grass-fed/organic cuts. Going meatless was actually one of the best decisions I made. I feel better knowing I’m not putting a ton of crap into my body, and this frees up a lot of my income so I can invest in local, organic produce which I think is a much better investment in my health. Even if you don’t want to go totally meatless, a few meals a week can certainly help.
- Don’t Be Afraid of Frozen Produce—Frozen organic produce is actually just as good as fresh organic produce. The freezing helps maintain most of the enzymes you find in raw fruits and vegetables. Frozen produce is often considerably cheaper than fresh, and it’s great when you want to buy something when it’s out of season like berries or herbs.
- Try Special Ordering—Is there a specific non-perishable food you’d love to buy in bulk, but your grocer simply doesn’t offer? Try special ordering it! It might sound expensive at first, but because you’re buying so much often the grocer will sell it to you at a discounted rate. I like to do this with certain spice mixes that last for a while.
- Plan, Plan, and Plan—One of biggest problems for any diet/healthy eating plan is a lack of planning. Even if you’re just trying to eat a little better, planning is key. But for purchasing organic food, sometimes a solid plan can be your best weapon. Do you research each week and figure out what products are on sale at which stores. Plan your meals around those products. As nerdy as this sounds, I sometimes use a spreadsheet to track all my meals and snacks for the week. It’s time consuming some nights, but it’s definitely worth the money I save!
- Speak Up—Also don’t be afraid of shopping at different stores. You might find certain grains on sale at one grocer, but produce is better at your organic food market. I’m fortunate that all of my groceries are actually quite close to me. But if the commute if too much, talk to your local grocer and see if they’ll price-match you for various items. Most managers are pretty flexible and realize the competition is out there. Check out Publix and its store policies.
- Get Creative—Don’t let leftovers go to waste! Lightly saute or pan fry veggies that are about to go bad ( I do this with mushrooms all the time). Freeze tiny amounts of herbs, veggies, in fruits for a last minute smoothie. You can easily throw a couple of handfuls of kale into a soup or dice up leftover chicken from the night before into a sandwich. Try to get into a habit of not throwing food away unless it’s spoiled. Better yet, try to keep spoiling to a minimum!
- Get Accurate—If you’re not a leftover person, try only using/cooking enough food for a specific meal. I, for instance, don’t mind cooking 2-3 cups of brown rice or quinoa and having a healthy, organic, high-fiber side for the whole week. But if you like your quinoa fresh, cook an individual portion each night for dinner. It might take a little more work, but you won’t be wasting anything. Keep this tip in mind for other foods like proteins, veggies, etc.
- Learn New Recipes—Don’t just buy random ingredients and magically think you’ll have an awesome meal when you get home! This is the perfect way to waste perfectly good organic food. Create an online Rolodex on your phone/social media accounts (think Pinterest, Food Gawker, etc) with ideas for meals and snacks you want to make. Then put the ingredients for those meals into your shopping list for the week.
What are your favorite tips for eating organic? Comment below and let me know!