Eating organic on a budget
Going organic doesn't mean you have to break the bank. While organic food can be more expensive, with careful planning and knowing where to spend your dollars, eating organic won't cost you a fortune.
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Eating organic doesn't have to be a burden on your wallet. In fact, experts say it can actually be inexpensive, and even better, rewarding to your health.
Purchasing organic produce when it's in season is a great way to save — and you can stock up on these items and freeze them for later, says Jess Kolko, Whole Foods Market's registered dietician. If you need a particular fruit or vegetable outside its peak season, try the frozen aisle where you can find a variety of organic produce no matter what time of year.
Grow your own
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Whether you start by planting herbs on a windowsill or growing a garden of produce, growing your own organic fruits and veggies can save you a ton of cash. "It takes a little more effort than buying from your local grocery, but planting a few seeds is very inexpensive and you will have the peace of mind knowing exactly where your food came from," suggests Carrie Minter, owner and CEO of Carrie Minter's Pilates Plus.
Avoid the "Dirty Dozen"
Chances are, you've heard of the "Dirty Dozen" — the produce that are most susceptible to pesticide residue and are worth spending a little more money on the organic version. Some of these fruits and vegetables include peaches, strawberries, nectarines, lettuce and potatoes, Minter says.
Focus on what matters to you
If your diet consists of routine items, such as milk or meats, Kelly Hogan, a clinical dietitian at The Mount Sinai Hospital, suggests investing in organic versions of these products. "Organic cow's milk has recently been found to be higher in omega-3 fatty acids as compared to conventional milk, likely due to the cow's diet, which is more grass-based and less corn-based," she says.
Organic milk and meats also guarantee that no antibiotics or hormones have been given to the animals during farming, which is important to some people, she says.
Make your diet well-rounded
Whether you're eating organic or conventional foods, having a well-rounded diet is important. Start your day with a meal that is packed with nutrition like Kashi's Organic Raisin Vineyard cereal which is a good source of fiber and whole grains. Plus, with an organic cereal, you're getting more bang for your buck since it's non-GMO project verified. Vegans, take note. This cereal is packed with quinoa and plump, sun-ripened Thompson raisins.
Don't shy away from generic
The word "generic" can sound a little scary to some of us, but several supermarket retailers offer their own varieties of organic foods — and for a fraction of the cost, Minter says.
Going organic is a gradual transition, so don't feel like you need to rush into only buying organic immediately, Minter says. "Practice reading the labels on your favorite products and understanding the different terminology and how you can slowly switch to organic substitutes," she says. "You'll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle in no time."
Organic shoppers — share with us how you shop organic and stay on a budget.
This post was sponsored by Kashi.