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How to Eat Clean on a Budget
Let’s face it: organic food is not cheap. Although technically, junk food IS cheap which make organic food look expensive. But eating as clean as possibly is important these days. Thanks to pesticides, herbicides, GMOs, and fake ingredients our food supply is pretty crummy in general. So finding places to shop that offer real foods at a good price is absolutely essential. I’ve made a list of the main stores that are great for organic, whole foods.
You can read my post here for the basics on eating clean.
Costco is one of the best places to shop for organic and all-natural food these days. They typical have organic eggs, Kerrygold butter, plenty of organic fruits and veggies (or at least non-GMO certified produce), organic beef and chicken, grass-fed whole milk yogurt, and more. Costco might have a yearly membership fee, but it can be a real boon for those with bigger families that want to eat better.
Target is quickly becoming a great place for affordable organic and natural foods. They created their own store brand a few years ago called Simply Balanced that is amazing. You still have to read labels if you’re trying to avoid certain ingredients, but for the most part the Simply Balanced products can be trusted. They have fresh and frozen fruits and veggies, grass-fed beef, organic chicken, coconut water, organic beans and soups (in tetra paks, not cans!), sprouted organic breads, and plenty more. Target tends to offer a lot of other great brands like Amy’s and Annies for organic products (although most of those are convenience foods, but they are still better than the typical brands!). Target also offers a free app called Cartwheel that has deals on a ton of their products. They always have decent deals on produce and even their Simply Balanced brand foods. Plus, they have the Target Red card which is a debit card and gets you 5% back on all purchases made at Target.
Farmers Markets can be gold mines for amazing deals. We used to be able to buy 2 huge bags of fresh produce for about $20 each week in our old state (we haven’t found a good market in our new state yet though!). Supporting local farmers is one of the best things you can do. Plus, things like raw honey and bee pollen are best to find from local sources so you can get the benefit of allergy protection.
Some Walmarts are surprisingly getting better at offering better food choices. I have not noticed this in all stores yet, but hopefully they are planning on doing so in more stores. It’s worth it to take a look if you haven’t been to your closest store in a while!
This is definitely a popular choice for real-food lovers. Trader Joes is affordable and they offer a great selection on pretty much anything you can think of. Produce, dairy, frozen foods, imported chocolates and candies, and much more!
Aldi’s is a store that is not as known to people unless you have actually seen one. Aldi has been in the news lately in the natural health world because of their commitment to banning certain chemicals that harm bees (source). Many people find great deals at Aldi on things like Kerrygold butter, canned goods, and fresh produce. You can look up their site to see if you have a store near you!
Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods tends to offer an amazing selection on basically everything you can think of: all natural food-dye made from vegetables and spices, kombucha, grass-fed bones for making broth, and of course tons of fresh fruits and veggies. They also actually have pretty decent prices on their frozen produce which can turn out to be more affordable than fresh for some people. They also offer a free app that shows you the deals of the week, as well as a booklet that is available in their stores for coupons to use for 2 months.
Fresh Market is nearly as diverse as Whole Foods, but offers better prices. They always have great deals in their weekly flyers. Check out their site to see if you have one close to you!
And of course:
Always look for smaller businesses that specialize in real, wholesome foods. Not every one is lucky enough to have an awesome, local health food store but it doesn’t hurt to search for a bit. Always check for apps that offer coupon deals, and you can always sign up for emails from most companies so you get a weekly flyer. Also think about starting your own garden for herbs and veggies! Not only would you save yourself some money, gardening can be a great stress reliever.