Have you ever wondered if it is possible to eat healthy and not spend a fortune on it? Generally paying more usually means getting a better product. Yet, food production and distribution are so complex in the modern world that this correlation between quality and price doesn’t always apply here. So, the answer to the above question is yes, but it takes a bit of time and effort. Read on to find out more.
In good organic company
It’s only natural that the first thing that probably comes to mind when somebody mentions healthy eating is bio or eco-friendly produce. And you are quite lucky to live in Switzerland because our country together with Austria have the highest proportion of agricultural land used for organic farming in Europe. Also, the Swiss spend more on organic products than anybody else in the world. This means that getting bio stuff is very easy in Switzerland.
The markets are really super
Thanks to the fact that organic is so common here, you can find plenty of bio produce in the biggest supermarket chains. You only need to bear in mind that getting a certification is not easy for small producers as organic has become a big business. So, you might also consider other options of getting quality food such as markets. The thing is that smaller farmers selling there might not have the trendy green stamp but usually tend to adhere to the same principles. Since they don’t have unlimited land to exploit, sustainable agriculture means to them actually sustaining their daily bread. And while supermarkets have sophisticated supply networks allowing them to ship goods across the country easily, you can bet that food sold on local markets didn’t have to travel very far. The farmers after all have to take care of their farms so spending long hours on road wouldn’t make much sense for them.
And what about the price?
Now comes the best thing about buying local stuff on the markets: the price is similar if not lower as for comparable items in the supermarkets. And here is a secret tip on how to save money on local markets: try going there later in the afternoon because then farmers might give you better prices as they are trying to get rid of goods they weren’t able to sell throughout the day. The choice will probably be slightly limited and the vegetables and fruits not as fresh as in the morning but still fresher than most of the ones you can get in any supermarket.
Support your local farmer
And if you want to save even more, then shop directly from farmers on their premises. It will be cheaper than at local markets because the producers have to include transport costs and fee for the selling stand in the price. The beauty of this also lies in the fact that you can easily ask the farmers anything about the food and how it is produced. And if for some reason you are not able to visit them, luckily nowadays most of the farms have websites where you can choose from baskets to have delivered to your home. And how to find your local farmers? Well, the answer is strikingly simple: just google something like ACP (Agriculture Contractuelle de Proximité) initiatives in your language or your region. As we are based in Sion, it was easy for us to find our supplier of mixed basket (not only vegetables since some farmers offer cheese, meat and other products as well) through this extensive list of basket suppliers in the French speaking part of the country.
Spend less, save the planet
You might as well live on a shoestring or get your kicks from spending less because it’s environmentally conscious. But that doesn’t mean you can’t eat healthy food. Whether you have or choose to have a limited budget there are myriads of tips on how to do your shopping. We picked these five which relate more to supermarket shopping but some have general implications as well:
Ideally do your weekly menu in advance and then buy accordingly in the store. This way you can save money on buying one ingredient that fits multiple meals and also avoid impulse shopping.
Do your shopping only once a week and leave your kids out of it.
Instead, let them prepare the food with you later on as it might entertain them the same way as throwing colourful stuff into your shopping cart.
Now we are not suggesting excessive shopping or to fill up your fridge or freezer to the top. Yet, there are things that last and you buy them regularly like toilet paper or canned food. So why not take advantage when they are on sale?
Speaking about sales, be vigilant.
The thing is that a product on sale doesn’t necessarily have to be the best deal. Look at prices of other products as well and pay attention to the price-per-gram/kilo/unit printed on the shelf tag.
Place leftovers on one specific shelf in the fridge so you don’t move them to the back and forget about them.
Yet maybe the most important tip is to try enjoying your grocery shopping. Ok, its necessity that we all simply have to do but it can also be rewarding (at least sometimes). Honestly, doesn’t it feel nice when you manage to get a good deal or buy something from a person who actually made it?