6 Ways To Eat Organic Without Breaking Your Budget

Organic, healthy food is important. Food is what we need to consume to survive; what we put in our bodies ultimately has an affect on the quality of our lives, so it makes sense to want to be mindful about where it's coming from and how it reacts with our bodies. And true, when you hear the word "organic," a lot of not-so-convenient things come to mind — time, effort, and, of course, money. It can all seem a little bit intimidating at first, but hold onto your seat belts, because it isn't really as complicated as it seems.

So let's face the reality that we all know: fast food is easy. It's cheap, it's accessible, and (let's be honest) usually quite delicious, or else they wouldn't have gained popularity in the first place. And while it's totally OK and normal to indulge in fast food, it would also be a shame to be so reliant on it that you never actually tried to experiment with cooking on your own, using ingredients that you choose, and having a sense of where those ingredients came from. And it doesn't have to be so complicated — in fact, when you break it down and do some research, it's a lot easier than it seems. By becoming more mindful of where you shop, what you buy, how you cook and when you eat, you can afford to eat organically. Here, a few ways to get started.

Shop Locally

If you can haul to a farmer's market once a week, you'll likely save a lot of money. At farmer's markets, the middle-man is cut out. Prices aren't jacked up between manufacturer and distributor.

Shop Cheaply

Expensive food does not mean expensive taste. It's one of those weird paradoxes, like how fine wines are sometimes more disgusting than your go-to $12 bottle. It's also kind of like how Chipotle is the greatest food you've ever had — it's just simple foods, put together well. Focus your shopping on very basic foods (think: fruits, rices, etc.).

Simplify What You Eat

Make a staple of your eating habits to just have a piece of fruit for a snack or make a habit of throwing mixed greens on the side of everything (with a really great dressing, it can be good!) Simple? Yep. Cheap? Definitely. Boring? Doesn't have to be!

Cook With Ingredients

Rather than buying your prepackaged favorite parmesan truffle mac & cheese (you all know the one I'm talking about, don't front), learn how to make it yourself using noodles and cheese you bought separately.

Realize That Not All Fruits And Veggies Are Priced Similarly

You can get out of a grocery store with a week's worth of fruits and veggies for under $20, if you're just aware of the fact that, for example, avocados are expensive and bananas are not. (Learn more about the fluctuating prices of fruits and vegetables at the USDA website here.)

Find What You Love

If you're used to having pre-packaged foods as your go-to, it's probably going to be an adjustment to switch to more "stripped down" foods. Yet, you can't make eating into a chore and expect it to last. So experiment with foods and spices and salts. Find dishes you love so much, you're not even thinking they're "organic." (For example: brussels sprouts on their own? Gross. Brussels sprouts sautéed with brown sugar and garlic? Amazing.)

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