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Living An Affordable, Organic Lifestyle

April 05, 2012

While healthy eating is top-of-mind for families everywhere, the cost of buying organic produce and meat is sometimes too much to swallow. However, living an organic lifestyle doesn't have to be expensive. Maintaining a healthy home requires a little flexibility and if you are willing to get creative, your family will reap the rewards.

Start by buying seasonal produce. Whether you are living an organic lifestyle or not, buying produce while it is in peak season will make it much more affordable. Also, keep in mind that the supermarket isn't the only place to buy food. Local farmers' markets are a great place to find fresh produce and farm-raised meats at reasonable prices. Plus, you can ask the sellers if they have any "less than perfect" products or less favorable cuts of meat which they will sell to you at a discounted price.

How you cook is a large part of what makes buying organic food a money saver for your family. Find recipes incorporating the ingredients you purchase and use the leftovers to create another delicious meal later in the week. If you have more ingredients leftover than you can use immediately, freeze the excess while it is still fresh. This helps maintain the nutrients and flavor, allowing you to enjoy the produce again in a few weeks or months - long after it has gone out of season at the market.

Growing your own produce is something many people fear. However, it's much easier and more financially beneficial than you might imagine. Live in a condo? No problem. Commonly condo associations are comfortable giving owners an area to grow their garden so long as the gardens are properly maintained (don't forget to ask first!). Don't have land, but do have a balcony with lots of sun? Then, buy some large planters. They work well to grow vine produce, such as tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.

Can't buy from the supermarket or grow your own? Local farmers often work together with community-supported agriculture programs (CSA) and grocery co-ops to provide produce in bulk at discounted prices. In these groups, you typically pay a fee up-front for seasonal produce all year or a small fee every few weeks for a box of assorted seasonal produce and frozen meats at 30% to 50% off retail prices.

Don't be afraid to experiment with where you shop and what you buy. What's in season may not be what you are used to eating, but there are thousands of recipes available in cookbooks and online to help you prepare foods you aren't familiar with. By using these tips, you can lead your family into living a healthy and organic lifestyle without breaking the bank.

SOURCES: bankrate.com, sparkpeople.com, sharewi.org 


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