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Eat Organic on a Budget? It Can Be Done!

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Eat Organic on a Budget? It Can Be Done!

Let’s start with full disclosure: I am not by nature a frugal shopper, nor a shopper on a budget. In fact, I’ve been known to make salespeople gawk at me when my bill gets tallied (like when I drive an hour to the closest Whole Foods with a cooler in the back of my truck to stock up for months at a time). I am fortunate in that I don’t have to worry about my grocery bill. However, I know that lots of people do, including my mother-in-law, who would be a frugal shopper even if she were a millionaire. She uses tea bags at least twice, and always wraps rolls and butter in paper napkins and stuffs them in her purse when we go out. Her famous line is, “Our people’s poor food is your gourmet!” She was born in America, but will always consider herself Italian first and foremost. Here is what I learned from her:

Don’t Frack Organic Food

1. Make meats, poultry, and fish a side dish, not the main dish. After 19 years of eating amazing meals in LeRoy, NY, at Rita and Louie Cinquino’s house, I can say the only time meat is the main dish is when there is a turkey or a ham and a major holiday—and even then there are so many side dishes, it’s hard to eat too much meat. Meats, poultry, and fish are used to flavor soups, sauces, and pastas, and not the main focus. Besides being cost-effective, this method is also much better for your health and is one of the key components of the famed “Mediterranean diet”—which includes the Italian cuisine, of course.

2. Use everything. Never throw a bone or carcass into the trash unless you’ve already made soup out of it! Eat the skins of all your fruits and vegetables. Whatever you have left, feed it to the pets (that’s my tip—my-mother-in-law never let a pet in her house!), and if there’s anything else left, make compost.

3. Make it from scratch. Most of what people waste money on is alleged “convenience,” a.k.a. processed, overly salted, overly marketed food with excess packaging. Most things we buy in processed form are fairly easy to make from scratch with a good, simple recipe. Spend your money on quality ingredients, and you won’t need fancy sauces and artificial flavoring to make it taste good.

Is There Lead in Your Juice?

Next: 7 More Ways to Shop on a Budget

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Read more: Basics, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, Maria's Farm Country Kitchen, , , , , ,

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5:52PM PST on Jan 12, 2012


12:51PM PST on Feb 10, 2011

Great article - even though I feel that not all of these these tips are geared specifically towards eating organic on a budget as much as eating on a budget. Nonetheless, very useful!

11:08PM PST on Dec 7, 2010

Great Advice!!!!! (^_^)

6:17PM PST on Nov 16, 2010

Thanx for article

2:26PM PST on Nov 15, 2010

Good article, great tips! Thank you.

6:20AM PST on Nov 14, 2010

My biggest frustration with trying to eat locally and organically is that it costs so much more. Thank you for some great suggestions.

9:59PM PST on Nov 12, 2010

Our grocery bill is ridiculously low! We eat organic fresh food. Nothing processed and we never eat out. When we trave, we head to a local grocery and find organic fruit and veggies. If you are willing to change, the abundance is overwhelming. Thanks for all the tips they are great. Anything we have left over we put in a bowl outside and some critter will eat it!

8:43PM PST on Nov 12, 2010


11:03AM PST on Nov 11, 2010

Thanks for posting!

8:17PM PST on Nov 10, 2010

thanks for sharing.

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Mmmm looks delicious. I'd love to try some of these. Mayhaps I shall!

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