Quite some time ago at a church service in Dallas, I heard a speaker that changed my way of thinking about food and what I put in my body. After that service I vowed to never eat high fructose corn syrup again, not to eat any pork or pork products (gelatin), to be careful of the amount of processed foods I ate and to eat organically as much as I could.
It came pretty easily considering we lived in Dallas, had ample places to find organic foods, and had a pretty limitless budget when it came to grocery shopping. Plus we didn't have any kiddos at the time contributing to our food budget. But being back in Oklahoma, having a very clear limit on grocery spending, hardly any choice when it comes to finding stores that carry organic products, and having two extra mouths to feed has made it a little more challenging.
So today I hope to offer some ideas on how you can eat healthy, eat organic (sometimes but not always) and save some money.
In order to save money while trying to eat organic, non-processed foods you have to be willing to give a little. Especially if you live somewhere where the organic grocers are few and far between. In my family there are a handful of items that are organic only items. I will not buy these items conventionally. Milk is one of those things. Belle (and soon Molly) drinks a little less than a gallon of milk a week. For me, deciding what items I buy organically comes down to what we eat, or in this case, drink the most. Since we drink a lot of milk, I feel it is important that it be organic milk. Of course organic milk is not cheap, so I visit the Horizon website in order to score some coupons. There are other items like eggs, some produce and baby food that I do not compromise on, but generally everything is fair game. You have to be willing to do some investigating to figure out what is okay to not buy organic, but it is worth the time. Additionally, you have to be willing to seek out coupons for the items you buy most often.
Next, I try to buy what I can at Walmart and Target. Yes, they carry organic products. Especially canned goods, baby food, milk, eggs, and some produce. Generally the prices for these items is less than if I drive to Whole Foods to get them.
If an item is not available in organic or is too expensive for me to buy organic, I still try to be healthy. For me this means that the item does not contain HFCS or lots of chemical ingredients I can't pronounce. One example of this is yogurt. I do not buy organic yogurt. The girls only eat it sometimes and it is way more expensive than conventional, sometimes double the price of others. However, I only buy yogurt made with kosher gelatin and made without HFCS. Another example is peanut butter. I usually get the all natural peanut butter, but not organic in order to save some cash. Again, we eat it so rarely I don't worry about it being conventional.
I would also like to say that I do cheat sometimes. I eat brownies, I eat ice cream, I have had sausage in the last five years (probably could count the times on one hand, but still). The point is, I have not gone off the deep end. It is easy to go overboard with the organic, healthy, non-toxic craze. You can drive yourself crazy. So I try to be reasonable. I buy organic, yes, but I also stick to a budget and make changes when I can. I look for coupons and shop at Walmart and Target, not Whole Foods for most items. It is possible to eat semi-organically, healthy and not break the bank!