6 Tips for Shopping Organic…on a Budget

Blueberries, summer, child - Lovely girl with fresh blueberriesI wouldn’t consider myself a green activist. I try to make reasonable and responsible choices for my family and the environment. We recycle, and we reuse. We clean our house with organic solutions, and we try to eat organic produce, milk, and meat. Does every item in my house have a certified USDA Organic label? Honestly…no. Am I opposed to the idea of 100% organic? Absolutely not, I’m just haven’t become a purist quite yet.

Pregnancy and raising an infant has push me a little bit closer to the purist line. Although I always appreciated the idea of organic produce, it was just so expensive. For years, I lived on an incredibly limited budget funded solely by student loans. This made organic groceries seem like a luxury rather than a necessity. However, the more I learn about pesticides and processed foods, the more I am willing to spend on organic. Being pregnant impacted my diet significantly. I followed the pregnancy food restriction guidelines like they were the 10 Commandments. When I learned that my favorite fruits (berries) were on the non-organic “No, No list” due to their pesticide levels, I realized that I needed to make a change.Diet in pregnancy

If my growing fetus could be negatively impacted by these pesticides, I didn’t want to take a chance. After my daughter was born we decided to spend the money on organic baby food since the American Academy of Pediatrics even recommends that this may be a better option. Having a baby is expensive, and since I wasn’t pregnant, I reverted back to eating a lot of non-organic produce. Funny thing is…babies start eating table food eventually! The idea of cooking two separate meals was out of the question. Consequently, my concern for my daughter’s environmental exposure to pesticides has probably added a few years onto my life! Here are 6 tips for those of you trying to figure out the wonderful world of ORGANIC on a budget:

1. Buy What You Can Afford

My suggestion for all parents is to incorporate as much organic into your child’s diet as you can afford. We all have different grocery budgets, and the last thing you want to do is buy only organic and end up with a starving family. If you aren’t able to reasonably purchase only organic, then prioritize what you purchase. This leads me into point #2.

2. Ditch the “Dirty Dozen”

Start by replacing items from the “Dirty Dozen” list with their organic counterparts. If you aren’t familiar with the “Dirty Dozen,”  this is a list of produce items that contain the highest amounts of pesticide residues. The first steps of the kid

3. Beyond the “Dirty Dozen”

If you are able to do more than just the “Dirty Dozen,” then start working your way down the Environmental Working Groups 2014 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides. Here they list 48 fruits and vegetables high in pesticide residue. Start swapping these out as well. And, if you can go even further, consider exchanging your milk and meat for organic/antibiotic free/hormone free options.

4. The “Clean 15”

If you have maxed out your organic budget, take a look at the Clean 15 list. These are 15 foods with some of the lowest pesticide residues. If you need to put more produce in your basket at a lower ticket price (non-organic), then choose the items on this list.

5. Farmer’s Markets May Be Your Best Friend

In addition to supporting your local farmer, shopping at a Farmer’s Market my save you a lot of money. Many of the produce options in the Farmer’s Markets are organically grown. Because these items practically come from your back yard and don’t have to be shipped, you can get them at a fraction of the grocery store price. Besides, taking your kids to a Farmer’s Market is just plain fun!Berries on Wooden Background. Summer or Spring Organic Berry ove

6. Consider an Organic Produce Delivery Service

If your local grocery stores are lacking in organic options, or if you don’t want to have to shop at two different stores, consider signing up for an organic produce delivery service like The Green Bean Delivery service. These companies use local produce, they deliver to your front door, and they usually don’t cost any more than an organic market. You might just be able to purchase a little more produce with the gas money that you save.

Remember that even if you aren’t eating 100% organic, you can still make healthy food choices for your child (A non-organic apple is always preferable to Mc Donald’s french fries). Offer your child a variety of health food choices. Starting this at a young age may save you the grief of a picky eater later in life and will ensure that your child is getting the nutrients that he/she needs for growth and development. You don’t have to break the bank or starve your family to eat healthy. You may be surprised by how much organic produce you can fit into your cart and your budget. Give it a try, and let me know how it goes!

From The Mom in Me, MD

 

9 Maternity Clothes Tips and Tricks for Every Fashionable Momma

Happy Young Funny Pregnant WomanExcited at the thought of being pregnant, I went a tad overboard on my maternity clothes. The idea of a new wardrobe dedicated to my changing body and the baby growing inside of me sent me into a shopping tailspin. Now, looking through my piles of maternity clothes (and, wondering if I will ever want to wear them again), I decided to share some tips to look amazing while sticking to a budget. Here are my 9 tips and tricks for every fashionable momma!

  1. Raid Your Closet First (with a belt in hand)

You may be surprised by what you already have in your own closet. Recent styles have included looser shirts and blouses. Using a thin belt, you can easily create an umpire waist effect with these flowy tops. This look can be very flattering for your stylish baby bump.

  1. Buy for Comfort and then Style

Although I am a fan of style, an uncomfortable pregnant momma is an unhappy pregnant momma. This doesn’t mean that you should wear baggy sweat pants and oversized t-shirts, but you should try everything on before you buy it. If it doesn’t feel good for the three minutes that you have it on in the store, it isn’t going to feel comfy for a full 16-hour day.  News Flash…you are only going to get bigger and things are only going to get tighter. If it’s uncomfy at your current size, it’s only going to feel worse in a month or two. Buy what you like and what makes you feel pretty, but remember to keep comfort in mind.

  1. Spend “More” Only on the Essentials You Will Wear Everyday

If you have a little wiggle room in your budget, consider putting that money into the staple items that you will want to wear regularly. From my experience, if you buy a good pair of leggings, they will probably last throughout your entire pregnancy rather than falling apart after 30 washes.  These are my top picks for essentials:

  1. Leggings
  2. Jeans
  3. Versatile dress (black or a solid color with a simple style)Miracle expectation
  1. Don’t Spend on Trend

Many a maternity dollar is wasted on passing fashion trends. Let your accessories create your trend. Fill your closet with the staple items listed above, along with timeless pieces. That way, if you get pregnant again, you will still want to wear the maternity clothes you already own. And, if you want to consign them, your items will fly off the rack.

  1. Mix and Match

It is amazing how many different “looks” you can create with just a few items. You can transform a dress by changing the jewelry, adding a blazer or a belt, or by simply switching out your shoes and purse. Many items can be dressed up or down depending on your mood and the occasion. Get creative. Take a Saturday afternoon to stand in front of the mirror trying things out. The number of new outfits that you create may surprise you!

  1. Use Accessories to Your Advantage

I already alluded to the fact that accessories can be your best friend. A slim belt can flatter you baby bump, and a beautiful scarf can make even a simple dress look boho chiq. Necklaces and bangles have the ability to transform any outfit. And, shoes…do I have to say more! Again, be willing to experiment with jewelry. The nice thing is that you will still be able to wear your maternity accessories after you deliver! These purchases will stay in your closet instead of ending up in a box in the basement.

  1. Tight Can Actually Be More Flattering

Although many women are unsure of their expanding bodies, tight clothing can actually be very flattering (if it is tight in the right places and made of decent material). You want to show off your baby bump! Find shirts and dresses that draw positive attention to your bump. You don’t want to wear something too flowly that leaves people wondering if you are pregnant or not. Make it clear that you are growing a baby!Beautiful eight months pregnant blond woman with curly hair in a

  1. Look in the Non-Maternity Section

Although many women are excited to shop in the Maternity department, be willing to look in the stores that you usually like as well. You may be able to find some great items that will accommodate your belly but at a much better price.

  1. Allow Yourself a Pity Splurge

When I was pregnant, I had many a moment when I hated my new body. I was unsure of my shape and unhappy with my closet options. I now blame it on hormones, but if you are feeling plain old huge, giving yourself some retail therapy may do just the trick. Every pregnant momma wants to look beautiful. Finding a new dress or top that makes you feel comfortable with your changing shape may be just what the doctor ordered!

By using these 9 tips and tricks, I guarantee that you will be one fashionable pregnant momma who still has some pennies to spare for baby clothes!

From The Mom in Me, MD