Organic food can be found in many places and throughout recent year, it has only gained more popularity and made its way into mainstream stores and platforms. But even though it is easier to find, it isn’t always easier to afford. The number one gripe I always hear from people when I talk to them about eating organic – “I want to buy organic, but it is too expensive”.
In truth, organic foods and products can be absolutely be more expensive. Some organic foods, especially if out of season, can cost twice as much, with name brands running even higher at times. This can make it seem nearly impossible, or just impractical, to buy. But there is a reason to make the splurge if possible – organic options can also be much better for you than conventional produce, packaged food and traditional products. They contain less traces of pesticides and chemicals that are known to disrupt hormones, your gut health, and cause inflammation. All of these things can cause huge stress on your body and throw off the balance within your bodily systems. All of that means less health and more illness. There are also studies that show organic options contain more of the good stuff, like anti-oxidants, phytonutrients and enzymes, which make your body thrive. Plus, the organic options usually taste better, which means you eat more, but you also eat better.
If you are wanting to eat organic, but you find that most if it is out of your budget, there are some ways to make it less expensive. Sometimes it just depends on where you go to buy your organic foods and products.
Here are 5 places to shop for organic when you are on a budget:
Big Box Stores.: While it might not seem like the first place to go, big chain stores, like Target, Costco and even Wal-Mart, offer a large variety of organic foods, especially in the packaged and frozen aisles. The produce selection isn’t huge, but some of the basics (apples, bananas, spinach) can usually be found, in either a larger size or a cheaper price than your average store. The packaged foods and frozen sections contain even more organic options, so you can stock your pantry and freezer full of items you can use to round out your organic meals and snacks. In the aisles, you’ll find plenty of organic teas, seeds and nuts, flours, sugar, coffee and even wine. You’ll also find a variety of organic snack food and breads, as well as smoothie supplies and side dishes in the frozen section. Many of these stores also offer organic milk, yogurt and eggs. Some stores even have extensive organic store brands (Target, Costco), so you can save even more money on your organics and have a wide variety to choose from.
Discount Stores: Stores, such as Trader Joe’s and Thrive Market (online), pride themselves on offering you discounted prices on organics and healthy food staples. At Trader Joe’s, mostly everything is a “Trader Joe’s” brand, so they can keep the prices low, while offering you organic options. They tend to have a wide variety of organically grown produce, that is sometimes even cheaper than conventional produce at your local grocery store. While they might not have the same amount of exotic varieties and specialty foods as a bigger, more expensive health food store, they offer the basics for a much lower price.
If you don’t have a store like Trader Joe’s near you, you can also shop online. Stores like Thrive Market offer a discount on organic pantry items, that are often much less than you;d find in the stores and are delivered straight to your door. This can be a great place to find items like coconut oil, nut butters and snacks, especially if you are short on time or live far from healthy shopping options.
Farmer’s Market and Local Produce Stores: The best bet for fresh, inexpensive produce is at your local Farmer’s Market or local produce stores. Many farmers produce certified organic produce, but many more produce non-sprayed, non-GMO, non-chemically fertilized produce grown on rotating fields each year – aka organic without the pricey certification. Because you are buying seasonal and straight from the producer, you can get a HUGE bang for your buck here. If you miss the Farmers’ market, there may be a local store selling the same produce. Many of these stores are independently owned and receive their produce straight from their farmers, so they can keep the process down as well.
Bulk Bins: For dry goods, the best place to save is in the Bulk Bin section of the store. From spices, to grains, to snacks, to nuts, to bath salts and soaps, these prices are hard to beat. It’s kind of like they are giving you a price break, because you are doing the work – packaging it to take home yourself. The other benefit, you can buy as little or as much as you need. This is perfect if there is a strange grain or a new spice you want to try, just take enough for one serving and try it out, rather than buying a huge portion you may not like. You’ll save money and not waste food.
Health Food stores: While these are not the cheapest, you can usually find store brand organic items for less than name brand organics at a conventional grocery store. If you have exhausted all other options, check out the store brand and see if they have the organics you are looking for.
No matter what your budget, you can find organic, healthy produce in your price range. Make a list, map your route, and stop at whichever stores you need to. It might take some time the first trip or two, but after you get into a routine, you’ll know just what to buy and where, which will save you time and money, while getting you quality food you deserve.
To make it even easier, be sure to download the Organic vs Conventional printable, which will tell you which foods are the best to buy organic, and which are not so bad when you buy them conventionally (or regular) grown. You can grab you download below, then print it and take it shopping with you.