If you want to feed your family organically, it’s a good idea to do some research first. Simply buying any package, bag, or box of food marked “organic” may not accomplish your health goals and definitely won’t accomplish your budgetary goals. Here are some tips on what and where to buy organic:
- Identify your organic needs. Unless you have an unlimited budget, shopping all organic can difficult. You might want to pare down your organic purchases to produce, dairy, and meat, for example.
- Focus on perishable food, not processed. Processed food isn’t that good for you, regardless of whether the ingredients are organic or not. So, use your dollars for perishable organic whole foods that are good for you. For example, purchase organic Greek yogurt instead of organic granola bars.
- Know your grocers’ prices. Retailers can price the same item very differently, so shop around a bit to find out which stores have the items you need at the lowest prices. This can take some time in the beginning, but it gets easier and saves money in the end. For example, I only buy organic romaine lettuce hearts at Trader Joe’s because they are $2.79, whereas at Whole Foods the same package can be as much as $3.99. But I always buy my weekly gallon of 2% organic milk at Whole Foods because it is almost a dollar less than at Trader Joe’s.
- Don’t discount the discount retailers. It may seem counterintuitive and a departure from the farm-to-table concept, but you can turn your favorite big-box retailer’s buying power into savings on your organic shopping. My local Costco has the lowest per-unit prices around on many of our organic favorites, such as Stonyfield Farm half-and-half and yogurt, private-label trail mixes and nuts, maple syrup, milk, eggs, fresh chicken breasts and other meats, and pantry staples.
- Bulk up. Another great way to get big savings on organic foods is to shop Whole Foods’ bulk section. Stock up and save on oats, rice, dried beans, flour, and dozens of other items.
- Know The Dirty Dozen. Concentrate your organic buying on foods from The Dirty Dozen list. These foods are the ones most likely to be contaminated with chemicals; they include thin-skinned fruit like strawberries and leafy greens. Conversely, learn about The Clean 15 foods, which are less likely to be contaminated, such as onions, pineapple and corn. Then devote your organic dollars to The Dirty Dozen and buy conventionally grown varieties of The Clean 15.
For more tips on feeding your family organically, check out Get the Most Bang for Your Organic Buck.
Jessica is a mommy of three. She has a degree in fashion and the equivalent in childproofing a cool modern lifestyle.