We used to live in a great funky little neighbourhood on the west end of downtown. It was fabulous for walking to the local butcher, cheese shop and bakery. But the absolute best part of grocery shopping happened at the gorgeous farmers market every week. The rows of farm fresh produce and goodies would be all lined up and ready to go into whatever wannabe-gourmet meal we were cooking that night (life before kids!)
After moving to the ‘burbs I kind of miss the ease of shopping local, but it definitely got me into the habit of buying organic when I can.
I’m not sure if its having kids that has made me more aware of what I’m putting into and on my body (and theirs) but I think its a good awareness to have. I’m not a hardcore foodie in terms of needing to know what my chicken was fed before I buy it, but I like to know that it wasn’t raised on hormones.
Buying organic can get pricey though ($7.99 for a melon? ) so its good to have a few tips handy:
Start with Meat and Dairy – If you’re not able to commit to going fully organic, try just switching over your meats, cheese and milk. Conventional products in these categories are usually high in hormones and pesticides.
The Dirty Dozen – Some produce are known to be grown using higher amounts of pesticides so you should try to focus your organic purchases on these if you can – these are the dirty dozen (list below is for 2013):
- Cherry tomatoes
- Hot peppers
- Nectarines (imported)
- Sweet bell peppers
The Clean 15 – Conversely, these fruits and veggies can be purchased conventionally:
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas (frozen)
- Sweet potatoes
Buy Local – You can easily find a local farmers market or even delivery services that will bring food boxes to you weekly with local produce. We used Green Earth Organics for awhile and it was a great way to try out produce that you might not usually go for at the store.
Buy Seasonal – Its always cheapest whether organic or not to select whats currently in season. You may be craving peaches in February but it’ll sure hit your wallet on the way out!
Get a points card – It sounds simple but if your local grocery store has a good selection of organics (most do these days) make sure you get their points card so you can maximize your spending while you’re there.
These are just a few tips that I’ve found have helped our family to shop organically on a budget. I definitely feel better about what we’re eating when I know its organic and while we haven’t fully committed yet we are definitely on our way.
Do you have any tips for organic shopping? I’d love to know!