“The first wealth is health.”Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The green or eco-friendly shopper can find creative ways to stretch the food budget and still eat organic and natural groceries. I think this topic is even more important right now. Our health and budgets are so important right now.
Being green and shopping organically isn’t easy on a budget, especially as food prices rise and the products are shrinking. The savvy shopper can find creative ways to save without skimping on quality by thinking outside of the box.
Eating healthy and green living go hand in hand, so check out my living green on a budget post too! Here are a few of my favorite ways to eat healthy on a budget.
Shop Locally Grown
Food close to the source ensures freshness and a smaller impact on the environment since fewer resources will be used to transport the food from the farm to the dining table. Locally grown food is commonly available in the following forms:
Community Supported Agriculture or CSA – Summer and Winter shares are purchased by a family in advance to pick up weekly throughout the growing season.
Farmer’s Market – a popular option for shoppers that want variety or cannot commit to a CSA share.
Farm Stands – usually a roadside outbuilding on the property of a local farm.
Pick Your Own – some farms make crops available for public pickings, such as apple picking or other seasonal fruits.
Not all Community Supported Agriculture programs are restricted to fruits and vegetables. Chestnut Farms in Hardwick, Massachusetts, offers a six month CSA meat share available by the pound. Their membership includes beef, lamb, pork, and poultry, and members can pick up their share of meat every month. Another variation of the CSA is the Hudson Valley & Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farms, a sheep and goat farm that offers a Yarn and Fiber CSA for knitters or spinners.
Buy Organic with Coupons
Money-saving coupons are few and far between in the natural and organic community unless one knows where to look:
Mambo Sprouts – provides email and postal mail coupons for U.S. residents on natural and organic foods and products. Membership is free; print coupons are mailed quarterly.
Eating Well magazine – offers coupons within the magazine as well as through email subscriptions on their website.
Natural Foods stores – often time the natural foods stores will offer coupons in weekly flyers and store shoppers.
Product Websites – some manufacturer’s websites or electronic newsletters will offer coupons as an incentive for potential customers to try a new brand or product.
Look for Generic Natural Products
Stores like Whole Foods will offer a generic or the 365 store brand product at a significant discount from the name brand product. Other stores, such as Trader Joe’s, will cut out the name brand and offer store brand items only. Small and family-owned businesses will brand a line of supplements or products to bring down the price. A comparison shopper can determine whether the savings add up enough for a switch to a store brand.
Buy More Produce and Bulk Foods
Frozen meals and packaged foods can eat up the family budget very quickly. Help the dollar to stretch farther by purchasing in bulk and shopping the produce section first. Cooking from scratch can save money and is often healthier than costly ready-made items. A budget-conscious shopper will compare eating habits, needs as well as the time when comparing prices of prepared versus fresh. Bulk foods such as grains, pasta, and cereals have a relatively long shelf life and can be quite versatile on the menu.
Right now our Homegoods store is closed because of the pandemic, but I was talking to my friend Stephany from the Momfluence and we are both missing the healthy food section of the store. When they open back up, I need to do a post on the awesome finds you can get there. All of my smoothie supplies are running low right now, spirulina, chia, maca, it’s all there and half the price of Whole Foods. They also have such a good selection of spices and healthy fats like coconut oil.
I’ll admit, I always pick pretty produce at the grocery store or farmers market. But the ugly imperfect produce tastes just as good for a fraction of the price. There are so many produce box companies that will deliver you ugly but tasty produce at a fraction of the cost. If you live on the East Coast, Misfits Market has a great program. The West Coast has The Produce Box. You get a random box every week, and you just google fun recipes with your fresh produce.
I hope these tips help your body and bank account stay healthy!