Do you feel like you don’t have the money to eat organic?
Do you feel like you do not have the time to make your own food?
Do you fear that your meal options would be extremely limited if you were to adhere to an organic lifestyle?
For today’s post, I will share some tips on making organic eating a little less overwhelming.
First if all, there are things you can do to reduce the cost of organic food. Which I will discuss later in this post.
Other than that, let’s just be honest. Unless you are raising your own cows and chickens, have a fruit and veggie garden, and make everything from scratch, going organic will be more expensive. There are ways to save money, but in general, expect to pay a little bit more.
Having said that, I am convinced going organic is entirely worth it. If you need a little convincing, read this post.
Now, let’s move on.
After you have decided that eating organic is better for you, our animals, and our environment, the main issues with eating healthy food are related to time and variety.
I think people forget that organic doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. It just means no synthetic pesticides, chemicals additives, hormones, or GMOs. Therefore, for just about every food out there… there is an organic version. So truth is, when it comes to eating organic, the sky’s the limit! (But don’t go pigging out on organic cheesecake, or organic fried chicken, or organic hot dogs everyday!!)
There are times, though, when preparing homemade, organic, meals from scratch is just too overwhelming. In reality, making all your meals at home, regardless of whether or not you choose organic ingredients, is time consuming and requires a lot of planning. Therefore, I try to make a grocery list on Friday morning, and go grocery shopping either Friday afternoon, or during the weekend.
Last week, I failed to do either.
So come Monday, I was scratching my head and stressing out trying to come up with something for dinner.
Let me remind you: I try to eat organic at all times. So 97% of restaurants and 99.5% of fast food joints are off limits. The few restaurants we have to choose from in our area are a bit pricey. At the store, organic packaged/prepared foods can be really expensive too (i.e. at certain stores, a jar of organic spaghetti sauce can easily run you 5 bucks). So when I am caught without a plan for dinner, it is a dire circumstance indeed!
I can’t stress this enough: when creating a healthy lifestyle, there is no alternative to doing the hard work. You have to want it. You have to be willing to do the work. Trust me, it gets easier.
But, it’s OK to take a break
So here are some tips to get you through when you don’t have the time or energy to cook up an organic, gourmet, meal:
1. When you find organic packaged items on sale, or if you know a particular store has a really good price a certain item, stock up and hide them in your pantry or freezer. Look for things like organic pasta, sauce, soups, granola bars and even frozen selections. You will thankful for your stash the day you come home from an exhausting day at work, would rather use your energy to clean up a messy home, have piles of laundry with your name on it, or a whining kid that needs to eat NOW!
2. Be all about simple! Tuna sandwiches, pasta, macaroni and cheese, eggs and toast, chicken and rice. You can find all of these items organic, with the exception of the tuna. (You can probably find sustainable tuna.) A couple times a week, I make very simple meals.
3. Cheat. I am known for buying a dollar rice noodle bowl at Trader Joe’s and adding my own veggies to it. I am famous for saying (as I am adding fresh broccoli to my bowl), “Look! It’s healthy now!”
It also makes the bowl more filling!
4. Trader Joe’s. If you do not have a Trader Joe’s near you, I am so sorry. If you are looking to move anytime soon, try to be within the vicinity of a Trader Joe’s. Although they are coming under fire for not proving that they do not source GMOs, there are still plenty of items that they carry that are organic… or good enough. I will eat non-organic food if there is no corn, soy, canola, or zucchini in it (these items are almost always genetically modified if they are not organic) and if there are no animal products in it- organic meat and dairy is very important to buy organic. (Click here to find out why). Anyway, Trader Joe’s is the epitome of healthy and affordable. We tend to stock up on our snacks and packaged items at TJ’s.
5. Go raw! Think about it. If you do not have to cook something…. doesn’t that automatically save you time? You do not need to literally “go raw” as in eating everything raw, but it’s good to incorporate raw food into your diet, especially for snacks. It can be as simple as eating an apple or two or day. Munching on carrot sticks. Eating almonds or cashews. Halve an avocado and put a little salt on it. You can make your own trail mix and keep it on hand for a quick snack. Heck, you can just open up the fridge and eat a cucumber. No preparation necessary!
Speaking of raw food, one of my new goals is to eat more salad. We’ve been slipping lately. I just get lazy! It can take 20 minutes to make a good salad! So once or twice a week I am trying to make a HUGE bowl of salad that will last for a few days. It’s perfect for a snack, or an addition to a meal. It really helps to have it ready in the fridge. You just take some out and eat it! Try it!
And what would this post be without some recipes!?
Chicken, Rice, and Brocolli
This is my go to meal! So easy! So Healthy!
6 Organic Chicken Drumsticks (only 3 or 4 dollars at Trader Joe’s or Sprouts!)
Organic White Basmati Rice (make a HUGE pot so you have leftovers)
Lemon, Dry Spices (sea salt, garlic powder, pepper, oregano)
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Squeeze lemon all over the chicken legs. Sprinkle spices all over the chicken. Place chicken on the top part of a broiler pan (line the bottom of the pan with foil for easy cleanup!)
Place chicken in oven for 45-50 minutes. Turn the chicken over after about 30 min. Sometimes, I turn the oven on broil for the last few minutes to get the outside nice and crispy.
While chicken is cooking, make some rice. Put 2 cups of rice and 3 cups of water in a pot. Turn the heat on high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover, and let it cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, but keep lid on for another 5 minutes or so. When chicken is done, remove from oven and while it is cooling, steam your broccoli.
Leftover Organic Rice
Chopped Organic Carrots
Frozen Organic Peas
2 Organic Eggs (beaten)
Leftover Organic Chicken, chopped (optional)
Coconut or Olive Oil
Salt, garlic powder, organic soy sauce.
Directions: Cook frozen peas on stove for a few minutes. Heat oil over medium heat in a large pan or a wok. Add carrots and peas. Let it cook for a few minutes. Add eggs and immediately scramble them while they are cooking with a fork. Mix well with veggies. Cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken if you want. Add about 2-3 cups of cooked rice. Cook for a few minutes. Add a little salt, garlic powder, and soy sauce. Mix well!
This “recipe” is for when you are having, “One of those days.”
Directions: Buy a can of organic soup or a rice noodle bowl and add your own fresh veggies to it, such as carrots, broccoli, spinach, or kale. As you heat the soup, the veggies will soften. I like to get a rice noodle bowl, and add broccoli, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Mmmm! Now it’s healthy!
And finally, here’s a basic salad dressing to go with all the salad you will be eating
1/2 cup high quality organic, cold pressed Olive Oil
1/2 cup organic red wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced or garlic powder to taste
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Directions: Mix all ingredients together!
There you have it! Easy food!