We all love shopping at Whole Foods. You feel healthier just walking through the front doors! But sometimes the checkout can be painful... despite by education and personal commitment to buying quality food, I still find myself caught between this is healthier and money well spent and I have no business spending our grocery money on meat that costs more than twice what it costs at Safeway.
I am always on the lookout for ways to get high quality, organic foods for reasonable prices. We are consistently taught in school that these foods are better for overall health, yet we rarely address cost. And I am not totally comfortable sitting down with a future client and telling them they must switch to all organic foods, spending almost twice what they currently spend at the grocery store. I believe it’s money well spent; but I also believe in budgets, especially when you’re trying to feed an entire family.
Last night ABC News had a feature about “going organic” (watch it here). It talked about natural foods chef Craig King’s food documentary called "Here we Grow." So many people consider stores like Whole Foods as “whole paycheck” stores. Organic = Expensive, and they are turned off by that. King set out to disprove this.
One woman, a single mom, went from shopping at a local discount grocery store to shopping exclusively at Whole Foods, barely adjusting her budget. King taught her some tricks for buying organic on a budget. These include:
• Planning is KEY!
• Buy Whole Foods’s 365 brand when possible (it is less expensive than others)
• Buy your staples each week regardless of price, and then just go for the sale items
• Buy what you can in bulk and store in mason jars
• Do not buy anything processed: “Buy whole and make it yourself”
King believes that children learn from our decisions and habits. If they see the importance we place on our food choices, they will be influenced to do the same. The single mom he followed lost 10 pounds just by switching to all organic, whole foods. She prepares meals and snacks herself now, rather than feeding her family processed foods. And she has learned how to do this on a budget.
Buying in bulk and storing in mason jars is a great tip. I already do this with my grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. It not only saves money, but also simplifies my weekly trips to the grocery store.
There are other good organic grocery stores out there. Vitamin Cottage has a much smaller selection, but their prices are usually lower than those at Whole Foods. Sunflower Market has many organic options, and most discount grocery stores like Safeway, King Soopers, Schnucks or Kroger now carry organic brands (although selection is limited).
The trailer to King’s documentary is below. I encourage you to try taking your grocery money to Whole Foods or another organic grocery store. With a little effort and creativity, I believe you can feed your family these foods that are so much healthier and wholesome without breaking the bank.