Most of us know what it takes to eat healthy, and most of us know that if you CAN buy the organic option, it's definitely best to do so. There's so much crap shoved into our food these days that it's just down right scary! From apples to chickens, it's pretty much all ruined by the time it gets to us.
The best alternative? Grow and raise your own! However, that's now always possible, is it?
The next best thing is buying certified organic. Unfortunately, that comes with a price. A pretty hefty price. Fresh fruits and veggies are easily twice the price, and the meat..... psh. Insanity!!!
So here we are, living on a very modest budget, and terrified to feed our families poison. How do we do it?? We're glad you asked. Here are our top ten ways to eat healthy and organic on a budget!
- Don't Eat Out!!! You'd think this would have to go without saying, but we fight this battle a lot. When it's late and you're still driving that 40 minute drive home from a 2 hour long soccer practice, it's tempting to swing through and get something. Did you know that it costs roughly $15 for a family of 4 to eat at a fast food restaurant? Did you know that you could make 3 (maybe more) organic meals ffor the whole family with that same $15? It's not worth it! So in those situations, plan ahead and pack something to eat for the ride home!
- Buy local if you can! From eggs to honey to fruits and veggies...Many times the foods offered at farmers markets and your local Amish store (if you happen to be lucky enough to live near one), may not be certified organic but are probably just as healthy (and sometimes healthier). Those places also offer the food at an insanely cheaper price than the only grocery store in town that offers a small organic section.
- Cook the whole chicken. Today we've become so used to having things done for us. When we're choosing meat, we carefully look over all the different cuts and choose the ones that look the most pleasing to us. While convenient, this is definitely not very cost effective. At our grocery it costs the same to buy a small package of organic tenderloins as it does to buy the whole organic chicken. Buy the whole chicken! You're going to get 3 meals out of it, instead of just 1. Look forward to a blog soon on how we prepare, cook and portion the chickens we buy.
- Check those clearance shelves. There are so many things on the clearance shelves that are still perfectly good! Most of the time, we can get organic milk on clearance for half the price and it doesn't expire for a week. With 2 kids, a husband and daycare kids in the house, our milk never makes it a week anyway! It's the same with juice, cheese, yogurt and chickens (which you can freeze!!!). Buy it weekly, and scout out the best price.
- Make your own. When we get together, we try to pick a project to do. Whether it be making our own chicken nuggets or baking our own bread, canning veggies or making and freezing soups, we spend the day making things that we need and that are expensive if you have to buy them already made. Rely on already made foods as little as possible. I'll just show you the price difference of one thing. A can of organic veggies averages $1.50 a can depending on where you go. Canning your own averages $.56 a can. That's cheaper than buying conventional AND you know exactly what's in ever last bite.
- Gardening. Having a garden is a great way to get free organic food. Even if you don't have a ton of space, you can grow things in pots on a porch or balcony.
- Left-Overs. When you're cooking for a family and using portion control, there's almost always food left over. If it's something like soup, we freeze it! Anything else, we save for Sunday and have a left over feast! It gets me out of cooking, AND it's like getting a free meal!
- Eat Simple. We usually buy ingredients for one or two "fancy" meals a week, and the rest are simple and inexpensive. It's going to cost you a lot less to serve chicken with rice and a veggie to your family than it will cost to serve Lasagna or Salmon steaks.
- Don't buy more than you need. Many times when we're grocery shopping, we tend to buy more than we need, especially if it is on sale. Remind yourself over and over again that you only need a certain amount, and unless it's a REALLY good deal AND a non perishable item, it's better to just leave it behind than to buy it and have it go to waste.
- Make a list! Going to the grocery store without a list is setting yourself up for budget failure. It's way to easy to toss things in to the cart and then freak out when you see that you've gone over your budget by $40 because you put a "few" extras in.
We really hope this has helped you out!!! Thanks for reading with us! :)
Ashley & Holly
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