Sunday, November 4, 2007

Green Food- striking a balance between health, environment & your wallet

How to choose healthy food on the cheap!? Everyone has different opinions about quality, quantity, and source. Personally, I do my best to strike a balance. I have noticed you can get just about anything with organic content (even Oreo's!), so I'm feeling like I'm buying trendy jeans when I buy Organic apples from New Zealand. Then there's the issues with conventionally grown food (will I get cancer from these grapes?!). We just use our best judgement based on personal circumstances.

The cheapest thing to do would be grow your own garden. Personally, I kill everything I try to grow (cuz I forget plants need water!); so, we buy what we can as organic or local. I'm considering planting fruit trees, since I get the idea that they require less maintenance.

In the grocery store, mostly we skip the organic meat due to price. Milk is much more available as organic, but you can also get no-hormone-added milk and its a bit less. Again, if you have multiple teenagers gulping it down, it can be a quantity issue. Fruits and veges are hit or miss. My daughter LOVES apples, but organic ones can be kind of pricey, so we do some organic and some non-organic. Carrots are always available organic and resonably priced, so we always get those. We get organic broths, since they are a good deal. Some bulk items are well priced as well. I opt for non-organic Kashi products, since whole grains are important to me. Mostly it seems that any given packaged product (mustard, mayo, crackers) will cost at least 75 cents more than the conventional counterpart.

As far as organic farmers' markets; I'm undecided. I would think a farmers' market would be a little cheaper than the store, but that's not always the case. There are several coops and farmers markets in Houston and its got to be a pretty good deal for me to make an extra trip. Now, I may be more excited about this if delivery was an option (in some places it is). Maybe I wouldn't mind paying a delivery fee if it ends up being the same cost, but buying produce is a hands-on experience.

Don't forget that some stores offer a discount if you bring your own grocery bags. Also, aks your current store to stock items you like. Our local Target started carrying Seventh Generation products when I asked for them.

I'm interested to hear what other people do when they shop, and what the good deals are out there. Do you opt to make an extra trip to the farmer's market or Natural Foods store? Maybe there's a good deal that makes it worth the trip? Here's some coupon links: Organic Valley Seventh Generation Stoneyfield Farms Brown Cow Mambo Sprouts Santa Cruz Organic various links