Organic living can be expensive and downright frustrating! When you have a family living on a budget organic living can feel impossible. It doesn’t make sense that buying “real” food is outrageously more expensive than the fake, modified chemical version. (a long heavy sigh….)
Thankfully there are ways to live organic on a budget. The key, I have found, is simplicity!! I am not a cook, baker or anything that pertains to that word and don’t enjoy cooking one bit. However, I do enjoy taking care of my family so I have had to buckle down and come up with weekly “real food” options that are cost effective and kid friendly.
We rotate a lot of the same dinners each week because they are easy and the kids like them. One of our main staple ingredients are dry organic black beans! We eat black beans at least twice a week at 1.99 lb at Whole Foods which is about as cheap as we can do it! Thankfully black beans are incredibly nutritious and we mix and match them with quinoa, brown rice or as ingredients in other recipes to keep them fresh for the kiddos.
I almost never leave the grocery without the ingredients for these 2 dishes. I would consider these our staple weekly dinners and at $2.50 per person I am quite happy for these clean food recipes!
1) Organic black bean noodle spaghetti + spinach salad and peas
- 1 Jar of organic spaghetti sauce (Trader Joes $1.99)
- Organic Box of black bean noodles (Costco bulk for $9, only used 2 oz, $3)
- 1/2 bag of Organic Peas (Trader Joe’s $1.50)
- Organic bag of Spinach salad with dried cranberries & goat cheese + T’J’s dressing (all Purchased from T.J’s total paid $9 total for all 3 ingredients but only used a sprinkle of cranberries and goat cheese $5 for this serving)
Total Dinner Cost after tax= $12 (Our family of 5 breaks that down to about $2.40 per person!
Need to make it cheaper? Next best, whole wheat grain noodles. Sub a veggie like broccoli instead of a salad.
2) Organic Sweet & Spicy Chili
- 1-2 lbs of organic ground beef. We use 1.34 lbs per serving (Costco Bulk $18 for 3 lbs) Which makes our price per serving $6
- 3 cans of organic chili beans (Kroger .99 per can, $3)
- 1 can organic tomato sauce (Kroger $1.15)
- 2-3 Tbs Chili Power
- Cayenne pepper (to your desire of spiciness)
- 1/4 Cup honey (start with a little then add till you get the perfect combo of sweet and spice)
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
- Optional Cheese and avocado (We try and stay grain free as much as possible and don’t eat chips or bread but if you prefer add $3-4)
Ground your beef in a skillet until browned, combine all ingredients in a slower cooker or stove top. Slow cooker ( 4 hours on high, 6 hours on low) Stove top bring to a boil then simmer chili for 5-10 min.
Total dinner cost after tax and adding a few dollars for the cabinet stables= $12
Need to make it cheaper? Go meatless and add an extra can of beans!
You can always skip on the canned beans and buy bulk organic dried beans with a little more prep in your step to save on cost 😉
Both these dinners are delicious and under 30 min to make! We always have leftover chili and eat for lunch the following day which covers 2 meals saving us even more money!
If eating organic is not an option to your budget I highly recommend becoming familiar with websites like EWG.ORG to learn which fruits and veggies are safest to eat conventional. Look for options like WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT, shop the outer parts of the grocery store for the healthiest foods, (avoid boxed snack options, instead make homemade snacks) buy dried beans in bulk and use pesticide soaks when necessary.