Whenever I talk about buying organic food the first concern most people have is how expensive it is, however, shopping and cooking organically can be done more cheaply than you may think. The truth is that it does require organisation, creativity and lifestyle changes, but these changes have the potential to make you healthier and happier. It took me a little while to get into the swing of things but I learnt a lot along the way. So here are my top tips to eating as organically, ethically and as healthily as possible on a budget.
Farmers Markets: Your local farmers’ market is a great way of getting fresh, local and organic produce. They offer the best organic produce of the season and as the goods are local it tends to be cheaper than buying from supermarkets. A good tip is buying organic in bulk and freezing what you can. You may get a discount if you snap up all of the spring onions :-). Also, if you go at the end of the day you may also be able to get a discount as they try to get rid of remaining goods. For details of a Farmers’ Market close to you check out the Local Foods directory.
Sign-up to an organic box scheme: Online shopping for organic produce with a company that delivers to your door is truly great idea especially as most of us are incredibly busy. Riverford and Abel and Cole are great UK companies that deliver local, seasonal and organic fruit and veg straight to your doorstep. There are often special offers on their websites so you can get excellent value for money.
Eat the Seasons: Cook fresh fruit and veg from scratch. Avoiding over packaged convenience foods is not only usually healthier but also cheaper.
Less meat, more veg: Meat can be an expensive addition to your shopping basket. Try to have fewer meat based meals each week. If you do like red meat try to lower the cost by buying cheaper cuts like pork belly of neck of lamb, offal can also provide nutritious meals (I love what River Cottage has done to highlight great pieces of meat for less). Local butchers are your mantra here. Get friendly with them and ask for advice on good alternative cuts. With poultry I make every part count. Nothing goes to waste. I tend to buy a whole chicken and divide it into meal sized portions. I will keep bones to make stock for meat based soups. Fish, can be expensive. I buy whole fish as this can be more economical and then cut it into meal sized portions and freeze.