We’ll show you how you can enjoy a variety of organic products for $50 or less – we’re talking fruits, veggies, condiments, whole grains and probiotics, the whole gamut! Here’s how.
With inflation at its highest in 20 years and grocery prices up by 10%, shoppers are struggling to meet their weekly food needs, making organic produce seem more out of reach than ever. Unfortunately for our health, regular fruit and veg tend to be higher in pesticides, and studies show eating these not only reduces the nutritional benefits of our food, but also increases our risk for cardiovascular disease.
In an ideal world, all our food sources would be organic and affordable, but unfortunately that’s not the case. Most of us are familiar with the price jumps that characterise organic food – but it is possible to go organic without killing your wallet. Let’s get into the how.
Meal planning and prepping
First, you’ll want to make a plan for the week’s meals and figure out where to cut costs. You can also check your local store’s current sales and adjust your plan to fit. Here are a few of the basics of meal prepping:
Choose the right food:Products with long shelf-lives and fresh produce that is a little hardier will be your best picks for meal prepping. Take a look at some of the best options for tasty and affordable meals:
- Pasta, rice, bucket, millet and wholegrain bread
- Legumes like beans, lentils and chickpeas
- Raw veggies: carrot, celery, capsicum, cucumber
- Cooked veggies: broccoli, asparagus, carrot
- Fruits like apples, mandarin, bananas
- Nuts and nut butters
- Sauces, spreads and dips
Proper storage techniques: Using airtight containers will be important for keeping your meals fresh, and remember to keep fruits whole! Chopping them up will lead to them going off quicker, though a quick vinegar wash can help them last longer. If you have extra ingredients, drop them into the freezer for money, time and waste savings.
Now, let’s do the math(s) on keeping your organic shop under $50 a week – below is an example of the organic foods you may want to include in your plan.
Sample weekly meal plan
Here’s a quick meal plan sample which we’ll be unpacking the costs of – it’s based around a family of 3. You can easily make your own plan that fits your needs and those of your family, plus you can incorporate a greater variety of foods to keep things interesting.
Breakfast: Porridge with peanut butter, banana, yoghurt and flax seeds
Lunch: Leftover lentil soup with wholemeal bread and an apple
Dinner: Lentil soup with tempeh, spinach, carrot, cauliflower and brown rice
Your shopping list:
Keep in mind, some of these ingredients will last more than the week, such as the oats and rice.
- Grains: 1 box oats, 1 pack brown rice, 1 loaf wholemeal bread – Approx. $12 (Comes down to around $6 per week)
- Legumes: 3 cans lentils – Approx. $4.50
- Spreads: 1 jar peanut butter – Approx $6 ($1 per week)
- Veggies: Spinach, carrot and potato – Approx $15(1 bunch spinach, 500g carrot, 1kg potato)
- Fruit: Apples, bananas – Approx $12 (1kg apples, 500g of bananas)
- Probiotics: Yoghurt and tempeh – Approx $11 (700g yoghurt, 300g tempeh)
- Flax seeds – Approx $5 (500g flax – comes down to $2.50 per week)
This is already pretty affordable, but if you want to shave a few dollars off the total cost and get it well under $50, here’s what to do:
Buy uncooked legumes over canned options: You’ll get more food in total when you go for the uncooked packs of lentils and chickpeas, meaning they’ll last longer and make your dollar go further.
Freeze extra food: You can make your veggies, meat and fish last longer if you freeze any excess. Or, if you notice they’re on sale, pick up some extra portions and pop it in the freezer to use as you go – this will not only save you money, but time spent ducking to the shops (and the fuel or transport costs that come with it!)
Saving money on meat and other proteins: Meat can be one of the pricier items on your shopping list, especially when it’s organic – and with meat prices up by 10%, many are feeling the burn. One method to save is to scour the supermarket deli or a local fruit shop for sales and then store extra stock in your freezer, but if you’re struggling to find the cash, there are a few alternatives. We opted for tempeh in the sample meal plan, and it does make for a good alternative to meat when it comes to texture and heartiness, plus it has protein, calcium, probiotics and vitamin K2 – the bone-strengthening nutrient we need in our diets. But it tends to be a little pricier, so for more savings, tofu and lentils may be the better choice. Other alternatives that are a little easier on your wallet include seitan and legumes like chickpeas and mung beans, and for a B12 boost, add some eggs, nutritional yeast and hard cheeses onto your list.
Don’t buy everything organic: Some fruits and veggies tend to be “cleaner” than others, like pineapples, avocados and asparagus, so buying them organic will make little difference and will only lighten your wallet. Just keep in mind the Environmental Working Group’s 2022 Dirty Dozen List:
- Kale, collard greens and mustard greens
- Capsicum and chilli
Buy in-season: Fruits and veggies are cheaper when they’re in season, simply due to the fact that they’re overabundant and the laws of supply and demand take care of the rest. In general, broccoli, zucchini and spinach tend to be on the more affordable side.
Buy in bulk: Buying cheese, meat, legumes and produce will slice the total cost off your bills. You can simply freeze anything you don’t need, meaning you can take less trips to the shops and save on transport costs too! You’ll also find that buying whole foods in bulk is cheaper than buying highly-processed goods, which tend to come in smaller packages – and they’re packed with sugar.
If you’re keen to get your health on track and after more handy tips like this, that’s what we’re here for. During our 8-Week Program, we’ll be unveiling ins-and-outs of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Here’s what you have to look forward to:
- 8 weeks of expert-crafted meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support from the I Quit Sugar team, plus our panel of experts.
There’s no better time to take back control of your life and enjoy mental and physical health benefits that last a lifetime.