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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.)
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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:)