I guess I'm on a natural/ organic food kick these days on my blog . I have been researching ways to help those of you who want to eat healthier stay within your budget . While you can find organic selections at your local grocery store ( Von's / Safeway and Kroger have good selections) Whole Foods seems to be the Mecca of natural eating . A trip to Whole Foods may make some of you balk when viewing the prices of your staples like bread, meat, and dairy. You can , however, eat all natural ( not all organic and I will get into that later) , and still stay in your budget .
I'm going to start out talking about savings at Whole Foods markets.
First of all Whole Foods produces their own coupons , which appear bimonthly in their newsletter . Ok , OK the coupons aren't GREAT and they are on only Whole Food's Generic brand 365 , but they are coupons, so print them. The 365 brand is significantly cheaper than their organic counterparts so keep an eye out for your product's cheaper doppleganger.
Next you need to find coupons for organic food brands . Whole Foods carries a large variety of organic brands and matching a coupon to a brand they carry is relatively simple. As in regular grocery shopping couponing , look to match your coupons with Whole Foods sale items for maximum savings . Mambo Sprouts is a great resource for organic / all natural coupons.
Now you need to know what to buy organic vs what to buy all natural .
Fruits and veggies . If you are eating the entire fruit or veggie like berries, lettuce, tomatos, squash etc.. buy organic. pesticide residue remains on the outside of the item and is sometimes absorbed through the thin skins and cannot be removed through washing.
Breads/ Grains : organic Bread is relatively cheap and so are cereals . You can usually find a coupon to help bring the cost down futher as well . Make sure you scan the aisles of your local grocery stores, and not WholeFoods to stock up on cheapo cereal . Since there is less turnover of organic food in your regular supermarket the grains will usually go on clearance quarterly . I scored .59 boxes of cereal , and so can you.
Juices: Skin and all usually make up your juices , so if they are not made organicly you will be consuming all those pesticides as well. Don't buy your juice in the aisles of the grocery store however, go to the frozen foods and buy the concentrates. You'll save around 50% at least, over the jared variety. Also look for juices in the large can as opposed to glass or plastic bottles , they're cheaper.
Buy "all natural"
Meats : look for grass fed cow's meat or Bison ( healthier than beef and interchangeable in recipes) Pork ( though pork is not produced with antibiotics) , and wild caught seafood as opposed to farmed , Free range poultry . Only fruits and veggies can be certified organic , not meats.
Prepared foods : All natural means that preservatives and ingredients in the product are found in nature ( salt is a natural preservative used for thousands of years to keep things from rotting and raising blood pressure along the way ) . It's always better , and usually cheaper if you can make your own version of the product . However, you can usually coupon match to get the items cheaply .
Dairy : Dairy is a tough one . I usually go for dairy products that are from cows not treated with artificial hormones and antibiotics for myself and my husband and bought organic milk for my son until he turned 2 . There are organic dairy coupons though , so you can always match coupons to bring your cost down. Since Cows are herbivours I am not as concerned with their dietary habits as much as how they are treated to be more productive milk makers . If there is a good deal on organic though , I'll always pick the organic selection.
So here's my organic shopping list :
Regular Grocery store
Cereal, packaged foods marked "all natural" , fruits and veggies that have thick , inedible skins like oranges and bananas, anything organic or all natural on clearance .
WholeFoods or other specialty grocery store:
Meats, poultry, or seafood. ( If you have a Frsh and Easy near you they usually have meats marked on clearance that are all natural so check them first)
Fruits and Veggies with edible skins fresh, frozen, or canned ; whatever's cheaper.
Dairy , if it's not on sale at the regular grocery store it is usually cheaper at Whole foods. Condiments
Here is my BEST tip for saving at whole foods marketplace , buy in BULK . You don't have to wait for a case pack sale like in your regular grocery store . If you eat something regularly , and it's not perishable , request case pack / bulk pricing at the customer service desk . They will give you a lower price than what's on the shelf . If you can't afford it on your own look for buddies to split the cost with you !
This week I am going to be on a MISSION to get some organic freebies and SUPER Cheapies. Check back and see how I did.