Food, Nutrition

Ways to eat organically without breaking the bank

Having already written a previous piece about my thoughts on organic food, I thought I should have provided you with some ideas on how I have managed to fit organic produce in to my diet without spending buckets of cash I don’t have – because it’s all good having a discussion about the why of eating organics but I’m often left asking ‘yeah but how do I do that?!’

I believe that everyone should have access to food that not only tastes good but also does them good, and organic ticks the box for me.  Below are a number of things I have discovered and personally adopted in to my day-to-day life which have helped to make organic eating a more accessible life choice for me:

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Know where to spend and where to save

As mentioned briefly here, know where to spend and where to save – some crops are sprayed more heavily than others and are therefore more toxic.  Anything with a thin skin (such as berries) tend to absorb more of the bad stuff than others such as avocados or squash.  I highly recommend checking out the ‘Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen’ list from the EWG which provides an annual updated list of the most contaminated foods ‘the dirty dozen’ (i.e. which ones you should always try to eat organic) and which ones are safer to eat non-organically ‘the clean fifteen’.  This will help you pick and choose which foods you should really be avoiding if you can’t afford to buy it organically, and others you can relax about.  I have a printed copy on my fridge.  I know, I am that person.

Swap it out

Love berries but the thought of those organic prices making you sweat?  I understand.  If you’re finding that the foods you love are just too pricey when bought organically try swapping out expensive organic options for more reasonably priced foods such as organic kiwis.  That way, you still get your fruit and veggies but you don’t end up with one bag of apples only to see you through the week

Eat frozen

If you really, really want those berries and don’t want to swap to something else try the frozen section.  Organic frozen food is usually cheaper (and fresher) plus it lasts a lot longer than fresh produce.  I buy frozen organic spinach as the fresh stuff is usually too expensive and it lasts ages.  Save yourself the heartache of retrieving a £2.50 bag of brown mush from the fridge that used to be fresh spinach two days ago (also helps to reduce food waste too!)

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Eat seasonally

You hear it all the time but eating seasonally is much cheaper.  Even if you shop in the supermarket (and not farmers markets) there’s a marked difference in seasonal vs. out of season veg.  Sticking to seasonal will help save a few extra pounds here and there.

Shop at discount retailers

I still shop about to find the best deal (because who doesn’t love a bargain?) and the ‘discount’ retailers are stepping up their game.  I have found everything from organic oats to organic broccoli in Aldi and Lidl, and although it’s more expensive than their regular veg it’s always a much cheaper price than the big four supermarkets – think 89p instead of £2 per item.  I’m a big fan of my local Aldi.

Buy in bulk

When you look at the prices, the initial outlay seems horrific (£15 for a bag of nuts?!) but when you break down the food by ££/weight and compare it to what you would spend on one bag of nuts in the supermarket, you can get some real bargains by buying in bulk.  Wholefoods, whilst most of the time are at the higher end of the price point, do a fantastic bulk section where the organic nuts, pulses, grains and seeds, work out cheaper than most supermarkets.  If you’re buying in bulk and simply don’t want the huge quantities of things then why not go halves with a friend or group of friends to split the cost?  That way, you get the saving but without the ton of dried chickpeas sitting in your cupboard for the next year.  Amazon is good for bulk purchases if you don’t live near London or a Whole Foods.

Shop at the end of the day

I love doing this!  If you time it right you can really clean-up for literally a few pence.  I find that organic produce is often discounted and ends up in the reduced sections (including milk and cheese).  In these situations I still shop sensibly by only purchasing anything I would usually not buy full price (to avoid food waste) and stash it in the freezer if I know I’m not going to use it all up that night.  Spinach and organic greens are pretty common and you can usually pick up a bag for 75p – less than half the original value.  I’ve often come away with a week’s worth of veggies for £3 or less.  Plus, it forces you to get creative in the kitchen as you’re limited by what’s there.  Personally I can’t resist a 25p turnip!

I hope these ideas are helpful and have made you think about how you can incorporate organic food in to your diet.  I urge you to give it a go – the food tastes better, is better for you and it’s better for the environment.  If you think I’ve missed out on any other ways to get your organics in let me know below, I’m always open to new suggestions and would love to hear from you.

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