Eating Better for Less: My top tips to eating Organic on a budget!
Eating organic produce is extremely important to me and my family. We find that the quality of our fruit and vegetables is so different to that of what you find in the local supermarket. Our produce tastes fresher and I love knowing that what we are consuming isn’t full of chemicals, pesticides and a whole range of nasties!
That said, eating organic can be expensive. Really expensive. And when you’re on a budget with a family to feed, it can be really difficult to find the extra dollars to justify buying organic produce.
So, with that said, here’s my top tips to help your family to be able to afford the tastes of organic produce, on a budget!
- Create a veggie patch & grow your own!
This has been so much fun for my little girls! Over the last 6 months, Gav and I really committed to creating our own little patch of paradise and growing some vegetables at home. Now when I say Gav and I, what I really mean is Gav (gardening just isn’t really my ‘thing’). Gav and the girls really enjoy this time together each day and I’m happy to help out on the Clean up Crew!
Our veggie patch is a modest little garden – there’s no fancy, expensive raised garden beds here. Just a little patch of dirt dug out by hand, some good quality soils, a barrier to keep the pooch out and a little bit of effort and a lot of love. We all have really loved having home-grown, fresh veggies available to us all year round. Not to mention the tiny dent it’s helped make on the grocery bill! My top tip here is to focus on your leafy greens; lettuce, kale, spinach and herbs. They’re easy to grow but expensive to buy and often, we waste so much as we only need a small amount at a time and by the time we go to go back to them, they’ve spoiled and need to be thrown out.
- Reduce food wastage
Speaking of throwing things out, a big pet hate of ours is food wastage. Apparently, most house-holds waste around 20-30% of food they purchase. Crazy! For so long, we were guilty of buying more than we needed or buying things, changing our dinner plans and letting food go to waste. Nowadays, we try to be more environmentally (and budget!) conscious of what we have available in the pantry, in the fridge and in the freezer before we do our weekly grocery shop. We are also try to meal plan as much as possible to ensure that we know what we’re going to be eating, which saves those last minute runs to the supermarket buying more ingredients and wasting what’s in the bottom of the crisper. We also eat lots of leftovers for lunch and make sure that we’re getting the most we can out of fruit and vege.
- Eat Less Meat
For some, this is easy! For other meat-loving-carnivores (particularly the man of the house!), this one can be a bit trickier. Heavy consumption of meat has a significant impact on the environment and when my family does choose to eat meat, we always make sure we allocate a chunk of our food budget to making sure we only buy good quality, grass fed (and grass finished), organic and nitrate free meats. To lower our meat consumption, we often have ‘Meatless Monday’ where we don’t consume any meat at all. We also will often buy cheaper cuts of meat, such as a pork belly or lamb shoulder and pop them in the oven and roast (plus we are investing in a slow cooker very soon!) – much more cost effective and so delicious!
Now hands-on-the-heart honesty here, until very, very recently, Gav and I were both pretty much vegetarians. I would occasionally eat meat, when my body called for it and particularly when I’ve been pregnant, but for the most part, I maintained a vegetarian lifestyle. Re-introducing meat to our diet is an important change for our family and we are doing so carefully and consciously – keep an eye out on the Blog as soon I will be sharing the reasons behind this decision and how we’re going about making the change.
- Join a Food Co-Op
Some people might not be aware, but we have a fabulous local Food Co-Op! (You can check it out HERE.) Through this Co-Op, I’m able to source great organic, fresh produce and ingredients, at a discounted price driven by people power! This is a great way to ensure I’m able to get my hands on all the ingredients and produce I need on a weekly basis, at a great price and we’re even supporting small local businesses at the same time! Winning!
- Buy Seasonally
One of the things with modern living, in our big, lit up Major Supermarkets is that you can pretty much source whatever ingredient it is you want, whenever you want. The disadvantages here are that often, these are fruit and veg that aren’t in season here in Australia. This means they’re being imported from overseas and stored for long periods of time. What does this mean for us as a consumer? Well, firstly, the quality is generally pretty poor and expensive to purchase. It also means that this product has a larger environmental footprint in terms of the cost of sourcing and importing this product. So, for this reason, my family shop to the ‘seasons’. Australian Mangos in Summer are a fabulous treat. But in Winter, we choose not to purchase them. Same goes for most of our beautiful fruits. And in Winter time, we choose to follow the Season by buying our winter vege and making up delicious soups and stews!
I hope that these tips will help any of my beautiful Yogis who are looking to embrace a more organic lifestyle. Hopefully I’ll see some of you at the Newcastle Farmer’s Market soon! Let me know below if you have any more tips to add, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Love, Aimee x