When I talk to people about eating clean, organic foods, they often scoff at the price. It’s true that healthy organic foods can be more costly than their conventionally grown/made counterparts, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to eat healthy. Here are some great tips to minimize the financial burden of eating healthy.
1. Shop locally, in season and directly from the source whenever possible. Visit LocalHarvest.com to find farmers’ markets, CSA opportunities and farm stores, or visit EatWild.com to find locally-raised meats. Not only are the products more superior in flavor, but the prices are much more affordable than traditional grocery stores. Plus, if you can call or email in advance, you can often get your products packaged exactly to your specifications, and they’ll have it ready when you arrive, all of which helps to eliminate waste and save time.
Note: Many farms are located in rural areas, which might not be convenient or cost effective for you. Instead, ask if they attend any local farmers’ markets where they can bring your order, and before you go check out this post from Nourished Kitchen to get the most out of your farmers’ market.
2. Buy in bulk. If you have the space, invest in a deep freezer and purchase freezer-friendly fruits, veggies and meat in bulk for additional savings. If you don’t have the space, ask friends and family if they’d like to go in on an order with you. Purchasing a half or quarter of a cow can help save up to 20 percent off of the retail price. And for fruits and veggies, many farmers will sell discounted bruised produce, which is perfect for baking or adding to smoothies.
Note: When freezing vegetables, it is very important to blanch them first. It stops enzymes that ripen vegetables, gets rid of dirt and bacteria, brightens color, slows vitamin and mineral loss, and softens the vegetables so they are easier to pack. When freezing fruits, simply place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Once they are frozen, transfer them to the container of your choice. Keep meat in its original package whenever possible. Most meat and produce will last for one year if properly frozen, but visit StillTasty.com to be sure
3. Cook from scratch whenever possible. Organic snack foods can get expensive very quickly. Instead, work on making big batches of your family’s favorite treats so you can freeze extras or eat it for several days. Some of my favorite choices include muffins, whole grain cookies, homemade Lärabars and baked oatmeal.
4. Follow your favorite companies online. Whether you sign up for their emails or follow them on Facebook, following your favorite companies can often yield some great deals. For example, Rudi’s Organic Bakery often offers $1 off coupons on their website and Facebook page. If you pair that with a grocery store sale, you can save up to 50 percent
5. Shop online. Amazon and VitaCost are two of my favorite sources for prepackaged organic foods. Not only are their prices competitive, but you can also get free shipping and cash back if you shop through rebate websites like Ebates. Plus, if you sign up for Amazon Prime and opt for the subscribe and save option, you can get additional savings and free 2-day shipping on products you regularly use.