Eating organic can be expensive. But with the recent news that pesticides have been linked to ADHD (and diabetes, cancer, and lower IQ), it seems that it's time for me to find a way to squeeze organic meats, veggies, and fruits into our family diet and budget. It's a tight budget, but there's always a little wiggle room to be found for important items, like healthier food.
Not all organic foods are created equal. When it comes to fruits and veggies, there's the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15. The Dirty Dozen are the 12 items you must buy organic. The Clean 15 are the ones that you don't need to buy organic versions of. Print the lists and take them to the store with you. But even if you don't memorize the lists or forget to bring them along, follow this basic rule: the thicker the skin, the less likely the fruit or veggie will have absorbed the pesticides. Knowing which items you must spend the extra cash on will help you make better decisions at the grocery store without breaking the bank.
Skip Unnecessary Items
In order to fit foods like organic beef and chicken into your budget, you may need to consider skipping some of those snack items you usually buy. Cookies are expensive, and have you read the list of ingredients on most of them? You are better off baking your own. Do you buy a latte every day? Skip it a few days a week. By sliding those items off your list and sticking organic items in, your grocery budget may just even itself out.
Some people turn their noses up at coupons. I am not one of those people. I love coupons. I clip them constantly, but it wasn't until recently that I realized there are coupons for organic items too. Coupons for frozen organic berries, organic salad, organic milk, yogurt, and cheese can easily be found online. If there is a specific brand you like, visit the company website. Some brands will offer coupons right on their site or through an email newsletter. This is a free way to save money on healthier products.
Eventually, all of our foods will be free from pesticides. But it will take years. Until then, it is possible to protect your family from the side effects of these chemicals even if your budget is restricted.