Clean Eating on a Budget

With my Why Organic post, I told you why I choose to eat organic. Today I’ll tell you how I manage to eat mostly organic with very little processed food on a $150 per week budget for a family of five. When I first started on this real food journey, I didn’t think we would ever be able to do it. The prices of organic foods are much higher than traditional and take more time to prepare than processed foods. Once I built up my pantry and freezer, I realized that it is possible. It just takes time and effort to get there.

I can’t say that we eat 100% organic or even that we have no processed food in the house (I face some resistance from my other half:)). We have to make sacrifices in some areas to be able to splurge in others, but I still feel good about what we are eating. Everyone’s priorities with food are a little different. Some will buy conventional produce but not meat. Some will buy conventional dairy but not produce. What is important is what you think is best for your family. Many will not agree with the way I do things, but it is what works best for us. So here are some tips to get you on your way!

1. Start to build a whole foods pantry– I began buy purchasing mason jars, organic oats, and organic brown rice cereal. Each week I would make room in my budget for a few more things, like raw honey, organic sugar, whole wheat flour, and organic raisins. All of these things can be used frequently and still last a long time.

2. Buy in season or frozen fruits and veggies– I shop at the farmers market as much as I can, but it’s sometimes hard to even get there with three little ones! Right now, organic apples are inexpensive. My grocery store had them for $1.25 per pound this week. Things like berries are really expensive right now and their quality is poor, so we skip berries this time of year. For smoothies I buy organic frozen mixed fruit. The same goes for veggies like corn.

3. Eat a lot of greens– Lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard are all inexpensive organic options, so we eat a lot of those.

4. Stock up when meat is on sale– We cannot always eat organic meats, it gets really expensive to do so. A couple of weeks ago, organic chicken breasts were on sale for $2.99/lb, which is incredibly cheap so I stocked up and put it in the freezer! I also buy a whole organic chicken each week and cook it in the slow cooker. It generally makes two meals for us and is usually around $2.29/lb.

5. Eat breakfast for dinner– Eggs are high in protein and organic eggs are only around $4 per dozen.

6. Make your own snacks– I make granola bars, cinnamon raisin bread, apple chips, and apple sauce most often. This not only saves money, but cuts out a huge amount of processed food that we used to eat. There are tons of recipes on Pinterest!

7. Shop at a wholesale store– We shop at BJ’s Wholesale every week, along with our trip to the grocery store. They have their own organic brand, and it’s much cheaper for spices, frozen fruits, and tons of other stuff.

8. Buy a water filtration system– I used to go through two cases of water per week, which was around $10. I bought a filtration system to go on my faucet for around $30 and I only have to change the filter every four to six months.

9. Stay on the perimeter of the grocery store– everything in the middle aisles is processed. When we first started making the switch, I realized how much all of those boxes of macaroni and cheese and potatoes add up. It will really save you money. We shop the perimeter first and then go down the organic aisle for anything we need that is processed.

Right now, we buy regular milk. My kids drink a lot of it and organic milk is really expensive. I make sure to buy milk that is labeled antibiotic/hormone free. This means that it likely contains GMOs but at least my kids won’t be hitting puberty at 10 or getting an antibiotic resistant infection because of what they are eating. I do the same thing for beef.

That’s how we do it! We are far from a perfectly clean eating family, but I do feel good about what we eat for the most part.

Do you have any clean eating tips or recipes you’d like to share? Leave me a note in the comments!

Until our next adventure,
Moving mommy

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