Holiday parties are all about sharing food and love with friends and family. But serving a large group of people the healthy, organic food you give your family can get expensive. So, how do you treat everyone to a wholesome meal without compromising on nutrition or breaking the bank?
Consult the EWG’s “dirty dozen” list and buy these ingredients organic. The dirty dozen are non-organic fruits and veggies that are often contaminated by pesticides (you can download the EWG’s app for iPhone or Android and take it with you to the grocery store). For the “clean 15” – non-organic items typically found to contain less pesticides — feel free to buy whatever is on sale to make your meal. No matter what you bring home, always give produce a good washing. To remove residue and grime you can use Honest’s Fruit & Veggie Wash.
Go for bulk. Instead of buying a box of organic quinoa or a bag of organic flour, check out the deals you can get in the bulk section of the supermarket. It’s amazing how much you can save when all you have to do is scoop it yourself.
Veggie-fy your meals. Juli Novotny of PureMamas says buying organic meat and dairy can up your grocery bill, but when you stick with organic fruits, veggies, and grains, it’s actually pretty affordable. An organic kale salad for 6-7 adults will only set you back about $10, and a vegetarian lasagna can feed a group for about $15 (see Juli’s shopping lists below — prices are approximations).
- 2 heads of dino kale is (about $4.00)
- 1 -2 cups of uncooked organic cooked brown rice ($1.00 – $1.50)
- 4 ounces walnuts ($3)
- Sea salt, lemon juice & olive oil dressing ($1.00)
- 1 non-organic avocado ($1.00)
Serves 5-6 adults
- Organic noodles ($1.50)
- Organic tomato sauce made from scratch ($8)
- Cheese ($5.00)
- Spinach and zucchini ($1.00)
Shop farmers’ markets. This is a great way to buy organic produce at affordable prices. According to Christopher Gavigan in Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener and Safer Home, if you can’t buy all your food organic just going organic with the “dirty dozen” can reduce your family’s pesticide exposure by 90 percent. Bonus! Buying in-season organic produce is less expensive, so consider purchasing it over other items and highlight that ingredient in a stand-out appetizer or specialty organic cocktail.
An organic holiday party doesn’t have to begin and end with the menu. Inform your guests of your get-together by sending electronic invitations (Evite and Paperless Post have tons of cute templates that’ll save on paper and stamps). Create some ambiance with solar-powered lanterns for outdoor parties and soy-based candles for indoor soirées. And make your job as the host easier with eco-friendly biocompostable or biodegradable bamboo plates in case your reusable plates aren’t an option.