By Nina Rizzo, health writer
Think you can’t afford an organic diet? Think again. Eating cleaner and greener foods on a budget is all about making smart choices, and everyone can do it.
Organic foods are sometimes more expensive to produce because they are grown without pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics and artificial ingredients. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t bargains to be found in the organics aisle.
Plan your weekly meals around groceries that are on sale and concentrate on those for which you have coupons before heading to the supermarket. Many organic food manufacturers offer coupons on their websites or social media pages. You also can join their electronic mailing lists so the deals come straight to your inbox. Consider store brand over name brand items. A 2015 Consumer Reports study found that, on average, store brands were 25 percent cheaper than name brands. Sometimes name brand manufacturers make private label goods, too, so there’s often no difference in quality. ShopRite lists dozens of store brand organic products, along with digital coupons, on its website. Aside from a huge assortment of organic dairy products, whole grains, cereals, juices and frozen veggies, ShopRite has an ever-growing selection of organic produce. Think berries, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, leafy greens and fresh herbs. Organic salad dressings, marinades and croutons are also available right in the produce aisle.
Stretch your budget by making your own soups and stews with organic meats and veggies. Experiment with creating your own grab-and-go snacks, using organic granola bars and cookies, organic oats, flour and dried fruits. Freeze leftovers in small portions to ensure little or no waste. Roast a whole organic chicken (it’s less expensive than the parts) and use the remainder for chicken salad sandwiches the next day. The carcass can be used for soup stock and get you started on another organic meal. For big families, creamy roasted vegetable lasagna made with organic dairy products is a delicious alternative to the traditional red sauce-and-meat casserole.
Depending on the time of year, frozen fruits and vegetables are usually more economical then fresh. But now that spring is here, look for locally grown produce. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to buy organic and still save money.
Talk to your local ShopRite dietitian to learn more ways to prepare budget friendly organic meals or visit
ShopRite.com for more info.
Here’s a great meal that can be made with organic or conventional ingredients that your family is sure to love.