Monday, November 15, 2010

so many options...

As a first time apartment dweller, I'm also, basically, a first time grocery shopper as well.  Of course, I've run to the grocery for my mom, or to pick up something quickly (ice cream), but this is the first time that I'm purchasing all of the food I need, every single week.

Prior to going to the grocery, I'd vowed to buy generic - except cereal and peanut butter, because that's the golden rule - or, if it's an option, to buy organic.

Upon entering the grocery, I quickly found that there are both generic and organic versions of everything. And, price wise, they're completely opposite.  I needed apple cider vinegar and was fortunate enough to have options ranging from .99 to $7.00.

Needless to say, I was completely overwhelmed and spent about two hours purchasing 12 items.

Which is when I decided I needed to figure out exactly when to buy organic, and when to cut costs.

Here are the rules I'm now living by:

  1. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, you can compare apples to oranges.  If you eat the skin, buy organic.  If you peel it, it is less important that it be organic.   To see a complete list of the dirtiest and cleanest fruits and veggies, check out this post by Courtney. 
  2. If it comes from an animal, buy organic.  Based on the hormones and antibiotics animals are fed, it's worth splurging on organic milk. 
  3. If possible, opt for organic coffee. Coffee farming depends heavily on pesticides and herbicides, in countries where chemicals are not strictly regulated.  If you're able, buy locally, and drink organic. 
  4. Packaged foods, like chips, pasta, bread, cereal, oil, canned or dried fruits and vegetables, and my much-needed apple cider vinegar, can be nonorganic.  These foods don't have a great enough difference in safety and nutrient values between organic and nonorganic, so it's not worth spending the extra money.
And, remember, the best organic food is grown locally.  If you're not sure where you can find local options, check out this great site, Local Harvest. You can search by zip code to find excellent local, organic options for restaurants, grocery stores, farmers' markets, and farms. 

Happy shopping - and eating!

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