Buying healthy, organic food can be expensive, but there are ways to save money when grocery shopping. From joining a CSA to choosing the right cut of beef, find out how to keep your kitchen stocked with healthy, local, and organic foods while staying well within your food budget!
Join a CSA
Becoming a member of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is an easy way to save money on organic produce. If you're unfamiliar with CSAs, think of them as a farmers market in a box. For a monthly (or, in some cases, seasonal) fee paid directly to a local farm, you'll receive a weekly box of fresh organic produce. Besides fruit and vegetables, many CSAs offer grass-fed meats, organic poultry and dairy products, as well as a host of other organic, local, and Fair Trade items like coffee, olive oil, and homemade jams. I pay much less for my CSA-box subscription, than I would if I bought the same (nonorganic!) fruits and veggies from the grocery store. Visit the Local Harvest website to find a CSA near you. (If you don't want to commit to a CSA, shop for organic fruits and veggies at a farmers market. Prices on organic produce are generally lower at a farmers market than the grocery store.)
While you may not be able to shop organic 100 percent of the time, there are tools that can help you decide when it's best. Use the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch pocket guide to know what seafood is the most sustainable in your area. For fruits and veggies, The Environmental Working Group has two handy lists to use while shopping. The "clean 15" list is conventional produce that tested low in pesticides and contamination, and the "dirty dozen" is a list of fruits and vegetables that you should always buy organic. When it comes to meat, look for less popular cuts of beef since they are usually much cheaper. I love using both grass-fed organic flank and skirt steak in my cooking; both of these cuts are much more affordable than even what a nonorganic rib-eye steak will run me.
See even more grocery shopping tips for saving money after the break