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Real Food on a Budget {Part 2}: Fruits & Vegetables

on March 19, 2013 by Jami Balmet 0 comments

This month we have been exploring what it means to eat healthy and do it on a budget! Now we will really dive into how to actually convert your diet to healthy real foods without breaking your budget! Start with my simple steps to saving money on a whole foods diet and then continue on to today, part 2, where I discuss where I actually do my shopping and how I save money!

Eating a real, whole foods diet can feel overwhelming at first! It may seem like you HAVE to buy all organiclocally grown foodgrass fed & free range meats, and raw milk, and go totally natural! But in reality, it takes baby steps to start converting your diet. Don’t try and jump into it all at once or you might will feel overwhelmed and give up! Come back next week for my story about converting to real foods and why we are not totally natural!

I was SO overwhelmed when I first began this journey so I want to help point you in the right direction. Slowly I have learned {and I am still learning} how to convert our family slowly to healthier and more natural food! So let’s dig in!

Natural & Healthy Shopping on a Budget: Fruits & Vegetables!


Produce is the first thing my family started converting. I started researching how to get more vegetables into our diet and this led me to really understanding what the big deal about organic produce is for the first time! While my budget can’t handle my buying organic produce ALL the time, I have committed to purchasing all items off the dirty dozen list organically. Here is how I found to purchase produce within my budget!

Grow Your Own Garden!

This is the cheapest option if you have the time to put into it and the space. For a few cents for seeds or a few dollars for young plants, you can have a whole crop of fruits and vegetables all summer long! Feel like you don’t have the space? I didn’t think so either until I found out that I could have a whole vegetable garden out on my apartment patio! Nearly everyone can grow something even if it’s just a few herbs in your kitchen or a tomato plant or two outside your front door. Get creative and you can save a ton of money on fresh, organic, healthy veggies! 

This summer my in laws are doing a big garden in their back yard so we are staking our claim to part of the garden. 99% of our produce this year will come from our own garden. It saves SO much money but does take a lot of effort. But there is not better way in my opinion to get fresh healthy vegetables into your diet while on a budget! AND learn how to garden in small spaces.

Farmer’s Markets

This is an excellent resource if you have one nearby! If you can’t grow your own produce, then hop online and find your own farmer’s market nearby. Local Harvest has an option to search for farmer’s markets by zip code. You can also try googleing farmer’s markets and searching on Craig’s list.

Farmer’s markets are a great resource because small local farms can come together and sell their produce and goods at a great cost! They can cut out the middle man and sell directly to their consumers. They bring what is in season and it’s usually picked fresh that morning and on your dinner table that night! Since the process to become “certified organic” is a really long and expensive one, many small farms are not certified but still follow organic guidelines. So make sure to ask each farm how they do their produce and goods and you may find that most of them are basically organic!

Photo by Robert S. Donovan

CSA {Community Supported Agriculture}

A CSA or Community Supported Agriculture is when a local farm delivers {or you pick up} a box of fresh seasonal produce 1-4 times a month. You get a box of whatever they are harvesting that week or month so you are always getting something new and it’s always fresh! The advantage is you get fresh, local produce for a great price! The only disadvantage is that you don’t usually get to pick what you get. Often you will get a discount for signing up for the whole season at once! You can also search on Local Harvest for a local CSA in your area.

Local Grocery/Health store

My local grocery store is a good option for produce on the clean 15 list and for last minute purchases. I usually pick up yams or sweet potatoes at my local grocery store and don’t worry about it. Other things that should be bought organically, such as apples, I get at my local Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. Costco also has fantastic prices on seasonal produce and most stores carry a wide variety of organic produce.

Since we don’t have our Spring and Summer crops in our garden yet and because I am still so busy cuddling {and nursing and changing} my twin baby boys a lot of our produce the last few months has been purchased from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Costco and some at our local Safeway {normal grocery store}.

Organic Apple slices at my local Costco

Come back tomorrow for Part 3 of Real Food on a Budget as we discuss where to find the best deals on meat and dairy! In the meantime read the rest of our posts in our Feed Your Family: Healthy Eating on a Budget Series!

***Psst! Did you know that you can get great dried fruit {and so many other great things} from Vitacost for an UNBEATABLE price? AND you can get $10 off your first purchase using the coupon code found HERE.***

Want an easy way to transform your grocery budget and get more nutritious vegetables with every meal? Start a vegetable garden! Don’t think you have the room? ANY space, even an apartment patio or kitchen window, has enough space to give you herbs, fruit, and vegetables all year-long! Find out more and start your garden today with my book, Apartment Gardening: A Practical Guide to Growing Vegetables in Small Spaces!


This post is part of my Feed Your Family ~ Eating Healthy on a Budget series. Catch up on all the posts in this series:

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are 100% my own.

Get instant free access to my Finding Joy in Your Home video course.

  • Do you want to discover more joy, peace, & tranquility within your home?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed and like your house is out of control?
  • Join my free course and learn the essential habits for Christian homemakers

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