Organic food on a budget

Which foods to prioritise buying organic 

Buying organic food on a budget can be done, you just have to prioritise which foods you want organic.

In the pre-children days, especially when I lived in London, I ate almost exclusively organic food.  I was spoilt for choice for fancy health food shops and fashionable eateries and had a fair whack of money to throw about on whatever took my fancy.  I remember I could pick up an organic and vegan lunch (including gorgeous vegan puddings like cheesecake!) just down the road from my office.  That shop was fantastic and stocked every fresh and convenience food you could think of, all organic.

Since moving back to my home town the range of organic food has certainly diminished.  Organic, pre-prepared/convenience food has become very light on the ground.  The organic, fresh food available has also shrunk down to the basics, but even so before the kid she came along, most of the food I ate was still organic.

Since the arrival of the kiddie twinkles our household budget has dropped through the floor.  We just can’t afford to buy so much organic food, the money just isn’t there.  But I don’t want to give up on organic food completely.  I believe strongly in the importance of eating organic for the environment, and our health.   Most of all I really want my children to eat nutritious food free from pesticides, drugs and antibiotics.

So, if you have to cherry pick the foods you buy organic, what do you prioritise? The Soil Association recommends starting out buying the basics such as:

  • milk – good value for money, organic milk gives you 50% more omega 3 fatty acids than non-organic
  • meat – eating less, but better quality meat is good for your health. Try lower cost cuts such as belly or shoulder, which have more nutrients but cost much less.  Like milk, organic meat has approximately 50% more omega 3 fatty acids than non-organic and has reduced exposure to drugs and antibiotics
  • fruit and veg – shop in season to keep the costs down. Organic fruit and veg contains up to 68% more antioxidants than non organic and has reduced exposure to pesticides
  • store cupboard essentials – food such as baked beans, pasta and canned tomatoes can often be found for the same price as non-organic

So, that’s pretty much what we do in our house.  We basically concentrate on getting the basic, fresh food organic where available, and try not to worry too much about everything else!

For more info visit the Soil Association