Where to Start?Organic choices made simple.
We all want food that's been grown in healthy ground or on healthy trees, and produced in a way that protects and supports the land and our communities.
If these things are important to you, you might be thinking about making a switch to organic, and the first question is often where to start. It can seem like an organisationally and financially daunting task, but by breaking it down into smaller steps and making incremental changes over time, eating organic can become an easy lifestyle choice that's wallet friendly too.
You don’t need to begin in any particular place or follow these in order, but there are some foods you might benefit from switching out first.
There are a few things to consider when prioritising which produce to buy organic. Among them are deciding on the fruits and vegetables you eat most, the ones that might have the highest levels of chemical spray residue, and the produce you eat skin and all. New Zealand’s Safe Food Campaign created the ‘Dirty Dozen’, which showed grapes, celery, some citrus fruits and strawberries were among the most likely to contain residues, ranked by the number of pesticides found in samples and the percentage found to have pesticides.
A great way to start switching to organic produce is to start a small garden at home and plant a few staples, or buy from a local farmers market where fruit and vegetables are organically grown. Another convenient option is Vegebox, where you can order seasonal, organic fruit and/or vegetable boxes to be delivered to your door each week.
We turn to pantry staples like spreads so often for kids’ lunches or snacks. So, it’s nice to know that these staples - including nut butters and tahini – aren’t made with preservatives, and that the nuts and seeds that go into them are certified as organically grown. It’s also ideal when manuka honey is more naturally produced, without any additives, as it’s a popular baking ingredient and breakfast spread. Choosing Chantal peanut butter, tahini and honey are three easy switches to progress towards only organic spreads in your pantry.
Many pre-packaged snacks have been heavily processed and are filled with artificial colours, flavours and preservatives to extend their shelf life. You might want to choose the organic option when it comes to quick bites on the go, or even consider making your own. Here’s some simple inspiration for healthy, homemade snacks .
And if popcorn is your snack of choice, try to avoid microwaveable bags. Research has shown that the linings may contain potentially harmful chemicals. So, we recommend buying organic popping corn, and making your own instead.
Canned beans are pantry staples used in everything from a quick lunch on toast or wrap on the go to hearty casseroles and soups. They’re an inexpensive yet nutritious source of protein and fibre, so combined with their versatility they’re another good switch if you’re thinking of going organic at home. Add to that, BPA (bisphenol-A), which has been linked with hormone disruption, can be found in the lining of aluminium cans. So, we recommend seeking out BPA free cans like ours, and using BPA free storage for your food wherever possible.
Recipe bases and tomato products
For tomato based recipes and Italian classics like pasta or pizza, ready to eat tomato products are go-to ingredients. Because they’re the foundation for so many dishes, we think they deserve a place on the list of foods you can progressively switch to organic.
Dairy and eggs
Conventional animal products can be highly processed and contaminated with antibiotics and growth hormones, which aren’t so great for our health, or the environment. Organic standards ensure the fair treatment of animals, along with healthy soil, pasture and feed management. If you do consume dairy, we think it’s worth making the switch for less processed and higher quality milk, cheese, butter, yoghurt and eggs.