We all want to do the right thing. We want to buy organic exclusively. We’d love to buy grass-fed beef regularly. And we’d like nothing more than to eat wild seafood all the time.
But I know I’m not alone when I do a double-take at the seafood counter. I blink when I see wild shrimp selling for $15.99 a pound versus farm-raised for $5.99 pound. I gulp when I stop at a farmers’ market to find grass-fed rib-eyes priced at least three times higher than conventionally-raised ones.
What’s a budget-conscious, environmentally-concerned consumer to do, other than bolt to the dried pasta aisle and call it a day?
The answer is surprisingly simple, according to champions of sustainability:
Eat what’s best for you, but eat less of it.
With one third of all adult Americans now obese, that’s not such a bad lifestyle change to make. You might think twice about buying grass-fed ground beef at $9 a pound. But half a pound of it at $4.50 is doable for most budgets. After all, there’s no real reason each of us has to gorge ourselves on 6 ounces of beef at dinner. Try 3 ounces instead. Same with wild seafood. There’s no requirement that we must have a dozen shrimp in a serving of paella, when six shrimp is more than generous.
It’s easier than you think to get by with smaller servings of wild seafood, grass-fed beef because they generally have more flavor and plenty of protein, and are thus more satisfying. Put simply, it doesn’t take as much to feel satiated.
Round out meals with more whole grains and produce, which health experts always scold us to consuming too little of anyway.
How else can you better allocate your shrinking budget when organic items, on average, cost 50 to 70 percent more than conventional ones? The consumer guide, the Daily Green, has compiled a handy list of the top 12 foods to buy organic whenever possible, based on considerations of pesticides, chemicals, additives, and hormones. Its top picks for organic are:
- Sweet bell peppers
When gas prices skyrocket, you don’t stop filling up. You just drive less. When the price of movie tickets soars, you don’t stop patronizing your local multiplex. You just become choosier about which movies to see. Organic and sustainable foods may carry higher price tags, but you can afford to enjoy them in some form or quantity. Given today’s health and environmental concerns, you can’t afford not to.