Breaking the Myth That Organic Food is Too Expensive
Sometimes, I hear people say: “I don’t eat organic because it’s too expensive.”
Although some organic foods may cost more than conventional options, this in reality isn’t always the case. To help you reduce costs while reaping the benefits of incorporating more organic foods into your diet, here are five tips to remember when grocery shopping.
Shop in Season
When fruits and vegetables are in season, they’re at their peak not only in terms of taste and quality, but also in affordability. In Canada, we’re fortunate to have a bountiful growing season and lots of options for fresh organic foods grown right here at home. During the upcoming summer months and even into the fall, stock up on what’s in season, then clean, dry, and freeze it for later.
Berries are the perfect fruit for freezing, as it’s one that can be costly to find organic during the winter months. Stocking your freezer with bags of organic berries in the summer, whether handpicked yourself or store-bought, will give you the option to add organic berries to your smoothie, oatmeal, and healthy desserts all winter long.
Along with berries, you can also freeze vegetables such as squash, pumpkin, tomatoes, and even corn. All of these can later be added to your soups, stews, and sauces during the winter. It’s a good idea to slightly boil your vegetables then immediately place them into cold or icy water before drying—this process is called “blanching” and will help to preserve the texture and colour of the vegetables.
Pick the Clean 15 and Avoid the Dirty Dozen
Each year, the Environmental Working Group releases guides called “Clean 15” and “Dirty Dozen.” The Clean 15 are those fruits and vegetables that are not typically as contaminated by pesticide use, and the Dirty Dozen are those that are. By grocery-shopping while following these lists, you can save on produce listed on the Clean 15.
I like to print the full list and keep it in my wallet so I can pull it out as a quick and easy reference guide when I’m grocery-shopping. Keeping in mind our first tip, remember to stock up on organic produce listed in the Dirty Dozen when they’re in season. That will save you even more dollars!
Source: Environmental Working Group
Look Beyond the Produce Aisles
When we think about going organic, we often only think about fresh fruits and vegetables. There are, however, many other organic food options available. From sauces to soups, beans, and pastas, the options are endless.
You can find prepackaged foods made with organic ingredients, but do you know how to read the labels to be sure? To verify that the product is made with 95% organic products, look for the Canada Organic logo (right) on the product label or box.
Stock Up When Items Are on Sale
Everyone loves a good sale! All right, it’s not the same as buying a TV on Boxing Day, but unlike gadgets and toys, if you don’t take advantage of price cuts, you’ll have to pay for it sooner or later!
Stocking up on organic food at a reduced price means you can have a freezer and pantry full of cheap organic food. For instance, if you weren’t able to stock up on produce when it was in season, be sure to fill your freezer bags during these sales. And don’t forget about those sauces and soups as well! Nonperishable items can sometimes be bought at lower prices and stored in your pantry until you need them.
Be sure to store your food items safely. Health Canada has developed a guide to provide instructions for proper storage (see link on our blog).
Shop at Your Local CHFA-Member Health Food Store
Your local CHFA-member health food store is the best spot to shop for organic foods. These stores typically have a wider selection, and specialty products that can be hard to find. You can find your local CHFA-member health food store at chfa.ca.
Eating organic food doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you follow these tips!
Michelle W. Book
A graduate in holistic nutrition and spokesperson for the
Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA), she focuses
on living life and raising a family focused on holistic
health and wellness.