How to eat organic on a budget.

At the moment, it’s no secret that organic foods cost more than traditionally manufactured foods. The prices are coming down as many people in the country switch to organic diets, but there’s still a ways to go. If you want to eat healthy, you’ll have to find ways to stretch your budget so you don’t go broke. Here are some tips on buying organic foods on a budget.

1. Buy generic organic.

The organic trend has become so popular, that many supermarket chains and food stores now offer generic versions of popular organic foods. These foods are still certified by the USDA, so you know they’re safe. Naturally, these generic versions are cheaper than their name-brand counterparts.

2. Prioritize what you buy.

Animal products (meat, cheese, eggs, butter, dairy, yogurt, etc.) are the most important organic products to purchase because of their risk of pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. Prioritize these into your budget before picking up the organic pasta or chocolate.

3. Buy whole chickens.

This tip works for non-organic chicken as well, but I’m surprised how many people don’t bother buying the whole bird when you consider how big chicken is a part of our meals. A whole chicken is far cheaper than packages of the individual pieces. The savings is so vast, in fact, that a whole organic chicken often costs the same as the packaged breasts. Plus your family gets a varied meal with different cuts of meat.

4. Check out the frozen section.

Because organic products don’t come laden with artificial ingredients and preservatives, they don’t keep as well as the non-organic foods. When it comes to produce, you’ll find some of these foods in the freezers at your grocery store. The foods sitting in baskets and shelves in the produce section could quickly go bad, so their price is higher.

5. Make a gradual transition.

If your budget is tight, you won’t want to switch your diet to organic foods overnight. There’s no doubt it will cost a bit more than buying non-organic foods. If you stock your cart with organic options, you’ll give yourself a heart attack at the register. Make the change over time.

6. Create weekly meal plans.

A well-developed meal plan will ensure that you use all your ingredients with as little waste a possible. If you were to pick up an onion today, use half and leave the remainder in the fridge, it might go bad before you have a chance to use it again. With a meal plan, you can designate the next night’s dish to use up that onion. This keeps your waste low.

7. Buy local foods.

Since organic foods don’t contain the preservatives, many are sold locally because transporting them across the country would cause them to rot. Your local farmers’ market will have lots of fresh, safe products at great prices because the transportation and storage prices are eliminated.

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