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The organic food guide: How to start stocking your pantry

Madeline Glasser is an Army wife and toddler mom with her Bachelors of Health Science in Physiology from the University of Arizona. She lives in Savannah, GA and enjoys good food, sweaty workouts and the adventures life as a family of th...

Upgrade your pantry to organic

We've all heard that eating organic is better for our families, but getting started can be overwhelming. Here is a guide for easily stocking your pantry full of organic and healthy foods.
Woman buying organic foods
Photo credit: Antonio_Diaz/iStock/360/Getty Images

When it comes to switching your family to organic foods, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Instead of looking at a massive overhaul, try to think of making the change as a gradual and beneficial process. With a little know-how, stocking your pantry full of healthy foods can be easier than you think.

Start with the basics

Before you get started, sit down and think about the foods you use most — these should be the items you replace first.

Many of us frequently use oils to cook with without thinking about healthier alternatives. A good olive oil or organic unrefined coconut oil is an excellent option to swap in as a healthy fat. Many dishes call for salt and pepper, so that's a good next step. Consider replacing table salt with sea salt. It's evaporated directly from sea water and therefore is light on processing. Start phasing out white flour from your pantry and replace your breads and cooking flours with whole-wheat or multigrain varieties. Other commonly used items include spices, garlic, sugar and dairy products.

Take it slow

There's no reason to throw out everything in your pantry and start new. That's a quick way to waste a lot of food and ring up a hefty grocery bill. Instead, replace what you have with better options as your current stock runs out. Are your cereal boxes feeling a little light? On your next grocery trip, pick up cereals with fun and nutritious ingredients like flax seed and quinoa. Two to add to your shopping list are Kashi's Honey Almond Flax and Organic Raisin Vineyard cereals.

Know what to avoid and what to keep

As much as we would all like to eat 100 percent organic, it's not always affordable. A good way to limit your family's exposure to potentially harmful chemicals without spending an arm and leg is to utilize the Dirty Dozen list. This list is updated yearly with the biggest produce pesticide offenders. Some of the "dirtiest" choices right now include strawberries, spinach, lettuce and celery.

There are, however, certain fruits and veggies that are almost on par with organic. These cleaner choices, like onions, avocado and bananas have been shown to have less pesticide residue. Stick with the Clean Fifteen when organic produce is out of reach.

Watch your wallet

Organic options aren't cheap, so it's important to hunt for bargains. A good way to slowly stock your pantry with organic options is to shop the sales. When something you use a lot is discounted, grab extra and stock up.

To beat grocery chain markups, visit neighborhood farmer's markets or vegetable co-ops to purchase local produce and shop for produce that's in season. This will not only lower your grocery bill, but will also increase the amount of nutrients you get out of your food.

Bonus: Watch for more organic on a budget tips

This post was sponsored by Kashi.

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