Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Eating Well On A Budget



At the grocery store this week it was no easy task sticking to my budget. Prices just keep going up. More and more I'm asking myself: How can I balance my organic/healthy food habits with my tight budget? Yup, it's time for some tips. Here are some things I do and some things I need to start doing.

1. Shop at farmers' markets. For farms and farmers' markets near you visit Local Harvest.

2. Buy a share in a community-supported agriculture program. Some farms even have a Winter CSA program.

3. Buy in bulk. This is especially true for beans, grains and nuts. Just make sure you have a cool, dry place to store your dry goods for a few months.

4. Buy lots in-season. The best time to buy an organic fruit or vegetable is at the peak of its growing season because this is when price is usually lower. Since there's only so much you can eat before it goes bad refer to Tip 5.

5. Learn how to freeze, can, and dry fruits and vegetables. Buy them when they're in season and save some for later. Check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

6. In the off-season, don't buy fresh. In the winter avoid high-priced produce and buy canned, frozen or dried organic fruits and vegetables instead.

7. Shop house (generic) brands. There are generic organic food brands - like Whole Foods 365 and Shaw's Wild Harvest. I just watched a report on CN8 comparing prices. In some cases the generic organic brand cost the same as, if not slightly less than, the conventional name-brand.

8. Clip coupons. Sometimes organic brands have coupons in the newspaper, but a good online reference is Mambo Sprouts. Or, many organic food companies offer printable coupons right from their website. Just make sure your grocery store accepts e-coupons.

9. Grow your own. Start small and go from there.

10. Rethink your food budget. Try to eat out less or avoid splurging on as many venti non-fat triple shot lattes and put that money towards your grocery budget.

These are just a few tips, but I'm sure you have more creative ideas. Feel free to share them!
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