Transitioning to a healthier, nearly all-organic, whole foods diet is much more affordable than you may think. Try following these food shopping tips to help you live a less expensive, better life. I routinely buy my fruits, veggies, and eggs every Sunday at my local farmer’s market, where I pay on average 20-30% less than Whole Foods Supermarket.
- Commit to buying your favorites, organically. To get started, choose one of your favorite food items-something you buy on a regular basis – and commit to buying the organic version of it from now on. This one simple step will greatly reduce you and your family’s exposure to pesticides, chemicals, hormones and antibiotics.
- Prioritize your shopping list – and know where ‘organic’ counts. Meats, dairy and sweet fruits are the most important products to ‘choose organic.’ When making your shopping list, keep this in mind.
- Look for organic generic or private labels from your supermarket chain. Does your grocery store have its own organic generic label or natural brand? They are typically cheaper than big-name counterparts and still certified organic. (These generic organic brands may even be cheaper than the conventional or non-organic counterpart.
- Shop bulk. Many stores that stock organic foods also have bulk grains and cereals. This can keep your spending down and save on landfill-bound packaging. Remember to bring your own bags to take home bulk food products so you don’t have to reach for another plastic bag.
- Shop at your local farmers’ market. Buying at farmers’ markets is actually one of the best-kept secrets to buying affordable, organic food, because you are cutting out the middleman or the supermarket. Top chefs throughout Europe and America’s have been doing it for years! A USDA study in 2002 found that about 40 percent of farmers’ market farmers don’t charge a premium. Cities now list their local farmers’ markets online, so simply search for the one closest to you.
- Don’t rule out non-organic when it comes to local farmers. Some farmers simply cannot afford the cost of organic certification – which doesn’t mean that their fruits and vegetables aren’t pesticide, fumigant, or chemical-free. Just ask the farmer.
- Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). It’s a great way to “go local.” Visit www.localharvest.org to find the CSA near you. Find out why “locavore” was dubbed Word of the Year, 2007, by the Oxford dictionary.