With the price of fuel and food skyrocketing it's time to find ways to make every dollar count. Sometimes it's hard to eat well on a budget as organic items can be expensive. I have gathered some tricks and tips to help you stretch your food dollars while still keeping the environment and your health in mind:
1. Eat locally. Shop your local farmer's market for fresh, in season produce. The markets are always cheaper than grocery stores, you can find unique varieties not found on supermarket shelves, you reduce packaging on your food, you help support farmers in your community, and you will enjoy the freshest most flavorful fruits and veggies money can buy.
2. Cook from scratch. Preparing most items from basic staples, will save you money and will reduce the amount of packaging that your family disposes. By making items like, pancakes, tortillas, bread, treats, etc. you can also eliminate excessive preservatives, fats, and chemical in your family's diet.
3. Plan your meals. Reading sales circulars and buying sales items helps you save money while still making your family's favorite meals.
4. Buy and cook in bulk and then remember to eat the leftovers. By cutting down on the amount of meals you have to cook from scratch you save time and electricity. Bringing leftovers in your brown bag lunch will save money when compared to eating lunch out.
5. Don’t buy too much food. Buying food that goes bad before you'll use it doesn't save money and impacts the planet with extra waste. Plan your meals carefully and use what ingredients are fresh in the fridge. Shop your pantry for items that you already have on hand and plan meals around these items.
6. Quit eating meat. Buying meat can really break the bank and is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. By replacing meat with plant-based protein sources, such as beans and lentils you can save money and lighten your footprint. If you can't give up meat completely, decreasing your meat-based meals will help the planet and your pocketbook.
7. Use coupons. Now that organic foods are growing in popularity, so are coupons for these foods. Check your Sunday newspaper for coupons, check your local store for coupon books like Mambo Sprouts, or check the websites of your favorite companies for coupon offers. When using coupons, don't just buy an item because you have a coupon, if your family won't eat the food you've wasted money not saved money.
8. Grow your own food. My family is getting ready to prepare a bed for planting in the fall and we are researching which fruits and veggies will grow best in our area. We have been composting for a year and have some great materials to feed our soil with. Organic seeds are inexpensive and can be found at most garden stores or online.