Most organic foods cost a bit more than their non-organic counterpart. For people on a tight budget deciding to eat organic foods can be a tough choice. When you live on a limited budget you have to choose carefully how you allocate your funds. What is really important to you? Perhaps you would rather have 200 cable tv channels instead of a refrigerator full of organic food. Perhaps you would rather eat dinner at a restaurant once a week than eat organic meals every day.

Eating organic foods on a tight budget begins with a choice. You can choose to eat foods that are sprayed, coated, genetically altered, artificially ripened, and unnaturally preserved. You can choose to eat foods that drain your health, destroy your environment and degrade your children’s future.

If you don’t like these choices then read on. Eating organic foods on a tight budget is easier than many people realize. Once you have made the decision to commit to a healthy organic diet, there are several tips for eating organic on a tight budget that can make this decision affordable.

Tip #1: Comparison shop

Most towns and cities have at least two stores that stock organic meats, produce, and dry goods. Many traditional chain grocery stores have organic foods. Compare their prices to those at the local health food store, food coop and/or farmer’s market and buy items where they are cheaper.

Tip #2: Spend your money where it matters most

Some produce items are more contaminated with pesticides and insecticides than others. The UNC School of Public Health suggests that people buy organic versions of these most contaminated conventional items: peaches, apples, nectarines, celery, pears, potatoes, bell peppers, raspberries, grapes (imported), strawberries, spinach, and cherries.

Other produce items are likely to have only a minimal amount of contamination. The organic version is better if you can afford it. But if your budget is tight, save money by purchasing the conventional version of these items: papaya, kiwi, broccoli, asparagus, onions, bananas, peas, mangos, cauliflower, pineapple, avocado, and corn.

Tip #3: Stock up on sale items

Organic foods go on sale just like every other food you can buy. When one of the organic goods you like goes on sale be sure to stock up. Dry goods are easy enough to store. Meats freeze well. But remember that certain fruits and veggies can also be frozen. Cut up pineapple, strawberries, mango and more and freeze for future smoothies. Lightly cook spinach, beans, corn, etc and freeze away.

Tip #4: Find coupons

Many health food stores, such as Whole Foods and Earthfare, have coupons that are specific for their store. Look for coupon booklets near the entrance or at the checkout counters. Additionally, many organic products have coupons available online. If you have preferred products, it’s worth a quick search on the internet to look for coupons.

Tip #5: Eat less meat

One of the most expensive grocery items that people buy is meat. Eating only antibiotic-free and hormone-free meat is essential for optimal health, particularly in growing children. However, many people eat more meat than is necessary. A serving size of meat should be no bigger than the size of a deck of cards. Limiting your portions to this size will save you money.

Additionally, consider cooking with meat substitutes. Tofu and tempeh are great alternatives to meat. Save money by purchasing these organic items when they are on sale and eating them in place of meat. Enjoy the variety of texture and taste that these non-meat proteins offer.

Eating organic foods is an excellent choice for one’s health and for the environment. By following the tips above, it is entirely possible to eat delicious organic meals on a tight budget. Enjoy!