Raising a toddler these daysredefines overwhelming. Not only do we have to make sure they don’t toddle intoa toilet, we have to make sure they are eating a healthy diet, not chewing onphthalate-laden toys, and not biting the other kids in daycare.
At this age, toddlers tend tobecome more particular about their eating habits. This can be terriblyfrustrating when we’ve spent hours making a balanced organic meal from scratchand they only want to eat Cheerios.
I’ve faced this struggle with both of mychildren, and although sometimes I am determined to starve them into eating chickenpiccata, more often I compromise with organic Cascadian Farms O’s andhormone-free milk.
Not only is it exasperating—itcan be expensive! If you are hoping to provide clean, wholesome, and less-worrisomenutrition for your toddler (without blowing your entire life savings), these six strategies for going green on a budget are sure to help!
The good news is that organic is becoming more affordable than ever.
1. Big businesses making small changes.
As corporations begin to listen toconsumers who are voting with their dollars, it’s now possible to find a reasonably priced pound ofgrass-fed meat at Costco and organic coconut oil at Walmart.
Even the bigconventional brands are taking steps to make their products a bit better, eliminatingartificial flavors and colors from popular kids’ cereals and mac and cheese.
2. Mind your peas and cucumbers.
As far asproduce, the Environmental Working Group releases annual lists of the “DirtyDozen and Clean Fifteen”—the fruits and vegetables most and least likely tocontain pesticides. You can download a handy appto keep track.
You’ll usually notice that apples, berries, and stone fruits like peaches tend to top the dirty list.
For 2016,the dirty dozen consists ofstrawberries, apples, nectarines, peaches, celery, grapes, cherries, spinach,tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers.
The clean fifteen are avocados, sweet corn,pineapple, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mango, papaya, kiwi,eggplant, honeydew melon, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and cauliflower.
It’s alsoa good idea to go organic with anything where you eat the skin. Notice thatavocado, kiwis, and pineapple areon the low pesticide risk list, partly because you’ll be removing that inedible rindwhere much of the nasty stuff lives.
3. Go organic online.
Organicpantry items, such as grains, broth, spices, condiments, and snacks can bebought at discount prices from sites like Lucky Vitamin and Thrive Market. Some sitesallow you to save more by buying in bulk or setting automatic re-orders foritems your family uses regularly.
There arealso coupon sites for natural and organic products including Mambo Sprouts, The Greenbacks Gal, and Organic Deals. Whole Foods Market has alsolaunched a new rewards program complete with in-app coupons, and Berry Cart is a new app with cash back onselect natural brands.
4. Save those seeds.
It’s easyto say “grow your own,” but sometimes you spend money on seedlings and soil toyield only four cherry tomatoes. However, if you have a green thumb or even a luckyseason, you could score big.
This year I planted sugar snap peas from seeds andmy kids have been having a ball picking and eating them. Even if you only havea small outside space or a windowsill, herbs like basil, mint, and parsley areeasy to grow and can be dried for continued use.
5. The freezer is your friend.
You can save money by buying in bulk and freezing, especially when seasonal items likeorganic berries go on sale. Freeze fruits and vegetables, homemade baby food, grass-fedmeat, large batches of soup, and baked goods. You can also buy frozen organicproduce when it is cheaper than buying fresh.
6. Feed baby wisely.
If you areusing formula, you know how expensive that can be—another great reason to breastfeedif you can. But if at some point you do choose to purchase formula, going withthe powdered version not only decreasesBPA exposure, it reduces packaging and is much less expensive than ready-madeor condensed formulas.
And, althoughit may seem obvious to some, homemade baby food is seriously cheaper than allthose little jars. Plus, it doesn’t need to be time consuming if you make largebatches and freeze them in portions.
These tips won’t keep yourtoddler from throwing spaghetti against the wall, but at least you can feel abit better knowing you didn’t spend a fortune on the gluten-free pasta and organictomato sauce. ?