How to Shop Organic on a Budget During a Pandemic like Coronavirus-Tips from a Holistic Nutritionist

Updated: Aug 27

In a previous blog, I shared 7 reasons to buy organic, according to a Holistic Nutritionist. You can read it, here.

Organic Produce on a Budget

By now, we may already know that choosing organic is better for both our health and the environment. BUT is can be so expensive! My previous blog explained that this is due to a lack of government funding, strict standards, and regulations (which is a good thing) and the higher cost of production. And what about food shortages? Is it really necessary to worry about whether or not I'm buying organic if I'm fearing the possibility of food shortages in the first place? That stress alone can be so overwhelming. As consumers, we have the choice to determine what is actually a priority. For some of us, this pandemic has really made us take a look at our health and lifestyle habits. Maybe now is the PERFECT time to learn about the benefits of transitioning to organic- and you need to know where to start.

So here are a few tips and suggestions that can help you still shop organic on a budget during a pandemic like Coronavirus.

1. Assess other expenses. Optimal nutrition and quality food is one of the most important drivers of your health status and deserves to be a priority in your budget. Where are you spending your money? One latte at a trendy café is the same price as 1 dozen organic, pasture-raised eggs – a high-quality protein source for up to SIX meals.

2. Don’t shop hungry- and bring a list. Statistics show that up to 20% of purchases made at the grocery store, is bought on impulse. By having a plan (and a meal) beforehand, you can ensure your buying exactly what you need, and staying on budget- even while buying organic.

3. Plan ahead to avoid waste. We touched on planning ahead and bringing a list in the previous point, but this bears repeating. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, we throw away several hundred dollars of food per person, per year. Create a meal plan, or have one created for you and your family. Buy a mix of fresh and frozen organic ingredients (frozen is even sometimes cheaper!) Planning ahead and reducing food waste can stretch your dollar and make room for organic buys.

4. Refer to the Environmental Working Groups Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Each year, they publish a guide that lists the top 12 fruits and vegetables that should be bought USDA Certified Organic, due to the high amount of pesticide residue left on them, even AFTER washing. This list is known as the "Dirty Dozen". They also publish a list of 15 low pesticide fruits and vegetables, which can be bought not organic, due to the low levels of pesticide residue left AFTER washing. This list is known as the "Clean 15". So when transitioning to buying more organic produce- this is a perfect place to start!

Dirt Dozen and Clean 15 List

Bonus Tip: Wash all produce to reduce surface pesticide residue, by using a baking soda solution (1 tsp. baking soda per 2 cups of water).


If you would like to discuss some other ways to prioritize your health during this time, I offer a complimentary 20-minute phone call, and telehealth consultations for one-on-one sessions, meal planning, coaching, and accountability.