*Guest post from the Organic Trade Association
Think a family on a budget can’t eat all organic all the time? Think again. With proper planning and preparation, families of four can enjoy three organic meals every day for less than $25, according to tips and recipe suggestions offered by theOrganic Trade Association (OTA), the leading voice for organic trade in the United States.
And, according to The Organic Center, the trusted source of information for scientific research about organic food and farming, families who eat all-organic on a budget can also enjoy the full nutritious, sustainable benefits that organic diets offer and the integrity and reliability the USDA Organic seal provides.
“Organic food sales are increasing by double digits annually, and more than 80 percent of parents reported buying organic food for their families last year,” said Laura Batcha, Interim Co-Executive Director for OTA. “While there’s great momentum for organic sales, the overwhelming reason people give for not purchasing organic is because it’s too expensive. But there are many ways families can enjoy all organic meals every day for about the same cost as conventionally produced food.”
Seven tips for making organic food more affordable:
- Buy in bulk. A mantra for all food purchases, but nowhere will the value be greater than with organic.
- Buy in season, then store for the off season. Organic produce is more affordable while in season, and holds its full nutritional benefits when frozen or stored for enjoying when not in season.
- Plan for the month, not just the week. By planning meals as far out as possible, you can curb your costs by finding multiple ways to incorporate organic spices, oils, nuts, dried beans, flour/grain, frozen produce and other ingredients many times over the month.
- Explore private label ingredients, which have gone through the same rigorous USDA organic certification procedures as name brand organic products and are often even less expensive than their conventional products.
- Join buyers’ clubs and loyalty programs. Many buyers clubs ship organic food wholesale to doorsteps – and many organic food producers and retailers’ websites and social outlets feature frequent coupons, offers and other incentives. Also, joining organic farm CSAs not only saves you money, but directly supports your local economy.
- Shop at two destinations. With organic food available at most grocers, consumers now have the opportunity to comparison shop at multiple locations to keep their prices down. One strategy could be purchasing fresh produce at organic-focused markets, and packaged, canned and shelf-stable items at larger discount retailers.
- Go by/buy the books. For extra inspiration, discover helpful cookbooks with recipes and ideas for organic on a budget, such as the newly released The Essential Good Food Guide by Margaret Wittenberg and Wildly Affordable Organic by Linda Watson.
Organic – It’s Worth It for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Families of four can enjoy all organic on budgets of $25/day or less, and still reap organic’s full nutritional and sustainable benefits. To show you how, OTA offers menu ideas for all-organic breakfast, lunch and dinner, while The Organic Center highlights their scientific benefits*.
BREAKFAST: Organic Strawberry-Oatmeal-Yogurt Muffins
Families can bake and enjoy a dozen heart healthy fresh muffins every morning for $3.55. According to The Organic Center, organic strawberries have higher Vitamin C and phenol levels than conventional strawberries. And, the organic oats prohibit the use of herbicide 2,4–D–linked to an increased risk in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
LUNCH: Organic White Bean-Tomato-Spinach Soup
This lunch is not only warm and filling for your family, but also sustainable for the planet–all for $7.06. Recent studies have found the organic spinach in this soup has higher levels of ascorbic acid and flavonoids–and lower nitrate levels. Meanwhile, organic celery is grown without the use of organophosphate insecticides such as malathion–linked to developmental problems.
DINNER: Organic Chicken Tamale Pie
A delicious dinner for about $12.19 that just may leave you with leftovers for the next day, Organic Chicken Tamale Pies are also delicious for what they don’t include. Organic bean production prohibits insecticides and fungicides, organic dairy avoids exposure to growth hormones, and organic chicken has lower rates of antibiotic-resistant bacteria than conventional poultry.
*Contact The Organic Center for sources to this research.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 6,500 organic businesses across 49 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.
The Organic Center’s mission is to convene credible, evidence-based science on the health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming, and to communicate the findings to the public. As an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) research and education organization, operating under the administrative auspices of the Organic Trade Association, The Center envisions improved health for the earth and its inhabitants through the conversion of agriculture to organic methods.