Earlier this month we wrote a blog about organic vs non organic. We found that scientist can’t seem to agree whether eating organic produce is better for our health; with one study showing no nutritional differences and more recent contradictory studies have shown organic vegetables contain more antioxidants, less pesticides and vitamin retention. So we can’t tell you with any certainty if organic foods are better for you across the board. Most people who would like to eat organic will always argue that the associated costs don’t seem worth it. So can you go organic on a budget and with time restrictions? The answer is yes and here are some ways to feel better about the foods you eat
Know which produce to focus on
Keep an eye on “the dirty dozen” by the Environmental Working Group. The group publishes an annual list of a ranking of foods by pesticide residue. The group has estimated that individuals can reduce their exposure by 80% if they switch to organic when buying these 12 foods. This means we don’t need to go 100% organic to reap the benefits. This is a US based list but I think it should work for the UK too.
Grow your own
For the green fingered among us who have the time growing your own is a great option. Even with minimal space growing your own herbs, which can be expensive in shops, is easy. The BBC has a great gardening section on growing your own vegetables.
Buy in Bulk
For larger families the most cost and time effective way to eat is to buy in bulk and meal plan. Dry, ferment, dehydrate or preserve any excess. Alternatively why not start a food club with friends where you can buy in bulk and split the produce? The soil association support organic buying groups by giving them more information and resources and putting you in touch with your local farmers.
Eating seasonal can also mean eating local so you get 2 benefits in one. The abundance of produce in season and its locality means you can save a considerable amount if you stick to 100% seasonal for a year. A list of seasonal produce can be found on the eat seasonably calendar
Sign up to an organic box scheme
For those short on time or lacking in inspiration an organic box scheme is great. Box schemes can come at different price points with some services offering add-ons such as recipes or meal plans. Take a look at this 2013 list of the top 10 box schemes as published by the Independent. A tip I found was to ask for no potatoes so you get a better variety.
Make your own
Dont fall victim to overpriced “healthy” and organic snacks sold in health food shops or supermarkets. Stock up on mini tupperware and resealable sandwich bags and make your own trail mixes, energy bars and vegetable sticks. A brilliant investment is a dehydrator, although an oven can also do the job. Dehydrate sliced fruit, Kale for kale crisps, chick peas or corn for savoury snacks or make your own wasabi peas. Click here for some dehydrator recipes and ideas.