Most of us know that choosing organic, natural food is the only way to ensure good health, from the inside out. However, it’s not always easy to buy healthy organic food, especially if you are on a tight budget or have a large family to feed.
So how can we live a healthier life and provide the best food for ourselves and our loved ones, without breaking the bank?
Here are 10 top tips to help you get your kitchen in order.
1. Write meal plans for the week and shop accordingly
This way you know exactly what you need to buy, and won’t waste money buying food that will end up in the bin. Also, you will be less likely to impulse buy, and consequently won’t be tempted by “treats”, that are no good for you or your wallet.
2. Make friends with your local butcher
This is a golden tip that is invaluable. Most butcher’s meat is from good local sources, and is at the very least non-GMO, and is also usually grass-fed, and sometimes organic too. In the butchers, you can buy exactly what you need, instead of having to buy packs of food, that is the wrong size for your family, so although it might cost a little extra, you know you are buying just what you need for that meal. Also, your butcher will always have good quality bones for just a few pence or sometimes even free that make great bone broths – an excellent way to cheaply nourish a large family! With a few good veggies and a handful of pearl barley, you can have a delicious, hearty soup on a cold day!
3. If you buy organic veggies, don’t throw your ends away!
It’s so easy to re-grow many veggies from their stalks – garlic, spring onions, celery, cabbage, carrots to name a few, most can be grown on a window sill, and you will be getting free organic veg for weeks!
4. Buy your veg in season and locally
Its usually much more expensive to buy out of season vegetables, than it is to buy seasonally. Also, locally grown vegetables won’t have shipping costs factored in, so are usually cheaper.
5. Prioritise your organic shopping
All your meat and dairy should be your number one priority, as non-organic produce is pumped full of antibiotics, and fed on grains that have been treated with pesticides that become part of the meat. Choose your fruit and veggies carefully too. Anything with a thick skin like bananas, pineapples and avocados are ok to eat non-organic as the skin will have largely protected the edible flesh from contamination, whereas fruit and veg that either have thin skins or are fully edible such as berries, leafy greens, apples and peppers will have allowed the toxins to penetrate the flesh and cannot be washed off.
6. Reduce the meat portion of your meal
Instead of buying cheaper non-organic meat, buy your quality meat in smaller portions, and load your plate up on extra veggies. Not only can you eat that lovely steak for a lot less, but you will also be healthier too, as we all know that eating less meat is something we should all be doing. Another way of doing this is to include more pulses into your diet. You can buy cheap wholesome legumes in large packs, soak them, cook them up then freeze them. Then simply add to chillies, casseroles, salads, or as a filling accompaniment to a meat dish, enabling you to cut back on the meat portion.
7. Stock up on cheaper organic veggies
For example carrots, onions and potatoes are not much more expensive organic than non-organic. You are better off eating more of the cheaper organic veg than eating expensive veg with pesticides! Also when buying broccoli or cauliflower use the whole veg! Don’t throw the stalks or leaves away. Broccoli stalks can be chopped up and steamed, and cauli leaves can be cooked just like cabbage! Or they can be tossed into a stockpot with your bones and add lovely rich minerals to your stocks and soups.
8. Grow your own herbs
For a packet of herbs in the supermarket, you can usually buy a small plant for the same price, but you will have fresh herbs to use for much longer than your packet will last!
9. Check prices online
Especially for your pantry purchases like flour, nuts, seeds, oats etc, there are some great online stores where you can bulk buy, and save pounds!
If you can’t afford to buy organic fruit and veg, then give your produce a good scrub with a vegetable brush and a solution of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water before you eat or cook them. This will remove a lot of the pesticides from the thicker-skinned veggies, but remember – produce that you can’t peel (like your leafy greens and berries) and thin-skinned produce (like potatoes and grapes) are always better to be organic.
Happy shopping, and healthy eating!!