{Mama Diaries: Organic on a Budget}

I have talked so much about my switch in products and eating organic while expecting and especially when Zoe started eating solids. Lot's of folks believe that because they survived non-organic lifestyle that the babes will do just fine and to each there own because we all make our own decisions for our family and do what is best for ourselves but... But but but. I will say that the chemicals and pesticides that are around now are far worse than when I was growing up. Which is why we made the switch.

And since I have gotten a few emails asking for tips on feeding the fam organic on a budget I decided to narrow it out and share my top ten tips. Here goes.

1 - Do your research. This Dirty Dozen list shows the produce you should by organic and was super helpful and this Clean 15 shows the ones you don't have to buy organic. (rule of the thumb in my house is if you eat the peel if should be organic....)

2 - Meat. If you can buy local, cage free meat and eggs do that but if not buy organic meat when it's on sale and freeze it. I use to hate freezing (and defrosting) meat but it is an awesome way to save your pennies. We have an extra freezer in our basement that I have been stocking with organic chicken, beef and turkey (ground meat is a lifesaver for throwing a quick meal together). I take it out the night before and place it on a plate at the bottom of my fridge (a ziploc can help any unpleasant leaquage). Also love to buy a whole chicken v/s just the breast, cheaper and easy to chop up and freeze for different veggies. Or to roast during the colder months. Another big tip is to use your left over bones and veggies for a stock, I make a big batch and freeze it in mason jars. Less waste and less expensive than the stuff on the shelves!

3 - Zoe is picky about her berries being mushy or bananas that are too ripe so when the fruit is a little past it's prime I like to wash, chop and place in labeled ziploc bags for smoothies or Aiden's dog food. This also works like a charm on veggies. I have raw veggies from our CSA frozen and ready for soups and chillies this winter. I also plan on roasting a ton of corn and freezing the kernels.

4. Shop the sales and stock up. I always check all 3 local super market flyers for the organic deals and sometimes that means I stop in at all 3 to shop our pantry goodies that are on sale but it is worth it. Just spread your trips out during the week or go on a weekend AM sans babe. Keeping your pantry stocked also helps with last minute homemade dinners. (I'll be doing another post on our weekly rotation of meals).

5. Buy in bulk. I love to buy our grains from the wholefoods bulk section, they have great deals on nuts too but because of my peanut allergy we can only buy brands that don't package peanuts in the same factory (hello Blue Diamond!). Also don't underestimate your local BJ's or Costco's, both have a much bigger organic selection that I thought and prepared with coupons and your flyer you can actually save even more. Sometimes you have to buy a lot more than you'll ever need to use their in-house coupons so buy with a group and split it. Hello mommy buying groups! I also invested in good quality storage containers to keep my bulk pantry buys from getting stale!

6. Clip the organic coupons. (Follow Nutiva facebook page for Tuesday deals, great for stocking up!) WholeFoods has coupons here. Also check the site of your favorite brands, most have coupons on there or on there Facebook page. Alsoooooo most stores will take competitor coupons so ask and use them on the double up days (ours doubles up coupons on Tuesdays!)

7. Buy frozen! I have talked a little too much about freezing in this post but seriously check your freezer section for frozen veggies and fruits, 9 times out of 10 the organic frozen produce at the store is cheaper than fresh, I especially love them if the fruit or vegetable is out of season!

8. Buy online.

-Green PolkaDot Box – This service delivers organic and non-GMO food directly to your door step. It is membership club like Costco and Sam’s Club with some of the lowest prices available for organic staples, meat, dairy and other goods.

-Amazon – We all know my love for the Prime. It is truly something we use on a weekly basis.

-VitaCost – Another low cost website that has a wide variety of organic and healthy foods, vitamins, etc.

-Herbs Pro – Another low cost website that has a wide variety of organic and healthy foods, vitamins, etc.

-Retail Me Not for promotional codes and discounts for all your favorite online stores and sources.

9. Buy local. Farmers markets, CSA's, Farmstands. Google, ask around, you may have to make a family drive out of it but it is worth it!

10. Grow your own. I can't wait to do more of this next spring once we figure out our backyard. Even an herb garden or your own tomatoes can decrease costs and is so much fun to do with the kiddos. These tips to grow your own food in your home all year round! More tips here, here and buy non-GMO organic seeds here.