Thursday, September 10, 2009

Eating Natural For Less

Like many people I want our family to have healthy food to eat without spending too much. Organic and natural foods are often pricier than alternatives, but I've developed some strategies to implement them into our diets without sacrificing cost.

1. Price Compare - Several times I've purchased a one pound bag of organic whole (not baby) carrots for less than conventional. At Walmart I've twice found the organic to be less expensive. At Super Target, I've found these on special for 79 cents on two occasions.

This week, our Kroger ad had organic raspberries on sale for the same price as the conventional. Make sure to check the fine print in the ad; that's where I saw that the organic was included in the sale.

2. Check "sell-by" dates. Recently I noticed that all of the Laura's Lean Beef (Lean natural beef, raised without growth hormones or antibiotics on an all vegetarian diet- from their website) at Kroger had sell-by dates on the next day. I found a worker in the meat department and asked if they could be reduced because of the date. He told me that they would be $2.99 a pound instead of $6.99. That is a great deal for 4% and 8% ground beef. I bought four packages and threw them in the freezer immediately.

Because organic products don't often sell as quickly as others, stores often have a supply that is approaching the expiration date. Look for reduced prices on these. I've also found organic cheese and yogurt greatly reduced that had expiration dates several days later.

3. Shop online. My husband has follows a gluten free diet, and Envirokidz Organic Crispy Rice Bars are a staple in his diet. I often order these in bulk from Orders over $25 ship free, and they have a program called Subscribe and Save where you get free shipping and a 15% discount for signing up for periodic deliveries of your products. A few months ago they had an Earth Day special where you could get a free reusable grocery bag and $15 off of your order of Natural foods over $45. They often have various specials on different categories of products.

4. Sign up for coupons. sends out coupons in the mail and has printable coupons on their site for organic products. Check out the Earthbound Organic website and click on the Products tab, and then Free Stuff and More. Occasionally coupons are available here. On the bottom of their site you can click to join their newsletter list. On the Horizon Organic website, you can print out coupons and subscribe to their enewsletter.

5. Be Creative. In an attempt to move toward more natural foods, I enjoy finding healthier options to conventional foods that aren't as pricey as organic. I buy wild caught fish because it contains less mercury than farm raised. A local grocery store recently had wild caught mahi mahi advertised for $2.99/lb. I asked at the fish counter for several frozen filets. The worker brought some from the back that was still frozen and individually wrapped. These are great keep frozen for future meals.

I'm also trying to avoid sodium nitrite in processed meat products. I noticed that Kroger had packages (Kroger brand) of uncured bacon that was all natural. The meat isn't from organically raised pigs, but it is free of nitrites and nitrates. It costs just a little more than conventional bacon. Similarly, Hormel Natural lunch meats are 100% natural and are often on sale for prices comparable to other lunch meat options. It is also easy to find coupons for these products.

As more people attempt to eat naturally, the costs of these products should fall. In the meantime, be a smart shopper as you move toward organic.

No comments: