Eating organic might not be a top priority on your list. But with summer around the corner, eating organic food can actually help you get the healthy and lean beach-body you’ve always wanted. Studies have shown pesticide exposure could have an influence on your health and weight. I’m not here to preach about how your diet should be 100% organic; I realize you all have lives and are worried about far more important things like post games, finals, and whether or not that guy you’re casually hooking up with actually likes you. But for those of you who try to be semi-health conscious, today’s post is all about eating organic—even when your budget is tight!
Pick Your Battles
I’d be a pretty unrealistic foodie if I tried to scare you into eating completely organic. The truth is, not every product you buy NEEDS to be organic. The only difference you’ll see in organic rosemary versus conventional rosemary is being broke all the time. Picking your battles is key to eating organic on a budget. Even if some (but not all) of your foods are organic, you’re still exposing yourself to fewer chemicals and pesticides! Ultimately, produce, animal products, and whole grains are the top foods you should buy organic. Don’t waste your money on organic cookies—they’re still cookies and they still have sugar! If you’re trying to buy more organic produce, check out the Environmental Working Group’s dirty dozen list. This list explains which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticides and why you should try buying them organic.
The Lowdown on Organic Meat
Here’s the deal with animal products: not only do you eat the meat/dairy on your plate, but also everything the animal ate. So if you enjoy sinking your teeth into a conventional cheeseburger a couple of times a week, you’re not just eating beef but also all the antibiotics, growth hormones, and GMOs the cow ate. Organic meats can be pricey. However, if you do buy these meats you’re reducing a ton of your exposure to pesticides, herbicides, and other nasty chemicals. It’s ultimately your call and comes down to what foods are most important to you.
Consider Going Vegetarian/Vegan
With that said, if you’re grossed out by non-organic meat but can’t afford organic animal products, consider cutting the meat altogether. By opting out of meat and/or dairy products, you save a ton of money you can then invest in healthy, organic produce, nuts/seeds, and grains. There are a ton of food blogs and sites devoted to entirely vegetarian and vegan cooking. A 20 minute cruise through Pinterest or Food Gawker will blow your mind and give you dozens of meal ideas. Even a few vegetarian or vegan meals a week is a good start!
Stock Up on Sale Items
Stocking up on sale items is another great way to eat organic and not go totally broke. If organic basil is on sale for instance, buy a ton of it to make pesto or spaghetti sauce. Freeze unused portions so that you can enjoy these organic foods for the next few weeks. Stocking up also applies to buying food at wholesale stores like Costco or BJ’s (no girls, not THAT kind of BJ). Use wholesale stores to splurge on organic grains like brown rice or quinoa that last for a long time and ounce for ounce are much cheaper than if you were to buy them at a normal grocery store.
Make Friends With Your Grocer or Health Food Store
Not too long ago, I was on the hunt for an organic ranch dip mix. My local health food store didn’t have any, but because I’m good friends with the manager they special ordered it for me and sold it to me at a discounted rate. Besides having a really nice supply of organic ranch mix for the next few decades months, I learned that working with my grocer is essential to getting the most for my money. You don’t need to be up your grocer’s ass, but an occasional hello won’t hurt either.
Eating organic isn’t just for hipster health freaks anymore. It’s a much more mainstream food movement that just about anyone will benefit from! Use these tips on your next food trip to save some money—because who wouldn’t want more money for an extra round of shots this weekend?