Making Healthy Choices on a Budget

A Guide To Help Become an Educated Food Consumer

If you are like me, a mom of growing kids, your wallet will start to feel the growing pains of your grocery bill. I have 2 boys and I can’t keep food in the house. I make it a point to give my kids healthy, non-GMO, organic foods, but that comes at a big cost. Finally, a lot of grocery stores are starting to carry more of these foods at an affordable price.

The challenge comes on being an educated consumer when making food purchases for your family.  A good guide that helps me is when buying produce is the Environmental Working Groups Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Every year this non-profit group puts out the most up to date version on the clean 15 foods you don’t have to buy organic and the Dirty Dozen that you should! I encourage you to check this out. www.ewg.org

Looking at the PLU codes on fruit and vegetables can also be helpful, but not always accurate. The PLU codes are those round stickers you see on your fruit and sometimes vegetables. If the code contains a 5-digit number starting with the number 9, that means it is organic. If the code contains a 4-digit number, it means that food was conventionally grown. If the code contains a 5-digit number that starts with the number 8, that means that food was genetically modified.

A great resource to help you navigate through the non-GMO products is http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/.

Now that you have some resources to guide you along in this process, where is the best place to buy all these foods at a reasonable sustainable price? Giant and Safeway carry many of these items and have sales. Depending on the area you live in Costco, has become the go-to place for our family. Online shopping, Amazon, Thrive market, and Frontier offer bulk pricing. If you live in an area where you can participate in a CSA, this also may be a more economical option. In this scenario, you and other families can go into together and purchase meat and produce at more affordable prices right from the farm.