Many consumers are willing to pay more money for organic foods because they value the health and environmental advantages, but the question that arises is: “Is it worth it?” This comes up frequently because organic foods tend to be much more expensive than their conventional counterparts. The truth is that, when equipped with the right tools, you can eat organic without making a major dent in your bank account.
Use the following five tips to become a savvy organic shopper and start eating organically—without your wallet taking a big hit.
1. Avoid foods that will not provide the benefits of the organic seal.
Certain foods absorb higher levels of contaminants and pesticides than others. However, ones that contain few pesticides do not appear to provide nutritional benefits when they are purchased organically. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a public health research and advocacy organization, produces an annual guide to pesticides in produce based on an analysis of 28,000 samples of produce collected by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. EWG determines which fruits and vegetables are the least likely to test positive for pesticide residues, known as “The Clean 15.” In other words, not only do these 15 fruits and vegetables pack the same nutritional punch in organic and non-organic varieties, but you won’t cut your pesticide risk by opting for the more expensive option. Here they are:
• Sweet Corn
• Sweet peas (frozen)
• Sweet potatoes
Additional foods that are not worth buying organic (or even non-organic) are processed foods, such as chips, crackers and cookies. From a nutritional prospective, what really counts is that the product is low in fats, added sugars and calories. Cookies are always going to be cookies, high in calories and fat and sugar. Even if the cookie is made with organic ingredients, it is still a high-calorie indulgence. If you are trying to lose weight or eat better, the best advice is to skip the cookies altogether.
2. Buy in bulk.
Most of us live near a wholesale store, many of which sell organic foods in bulk. If you’re searching for an inexpensive way to purchase organic foods, it may be worth getting a membership to one of these stores. For instance, you can save between 20 to 35 percent on organically raised chicken when bought in bulk vs. not in bulk. Other cost savings can be found in organic milk and even coffee.
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