Buying organic can be pretty rough on your wallet. Is organic produce really worth the extra expense? The truth is, some non-organic produce is just as safe as its organic counterpart. Read on to help you navigate your way through the produce section safely.
Some research shows that organic produce is no richer in major nutrients (such as vitamin C) than conventionally grown crops. But several studies also found that conventional fruits and vegetables had far higher amounts of synthetic pesticides. Researchers are still exploring the potential long-term health effects of exposure to such chemicals.
Helpful Tips for Buying Organic and Not Blowing Your Budget
Buy in season. This not only ensures you get the biggest bang for your buck, it also means your produce will taste full of flavor and perfectly ripe.
Stretch some meals with beans.
Utilize pantry staples. Pantry staples reduce the need or urge to order out by ensuring you can whip up a meal with only a few fresh ingredients from the store.
Grow your own fruits, veggies, and herbs. This can be a big money saver!
Buy in bulk.
Buy your organic meats straight from the farm and save hundreds each year.
Make your own breads, hamburger buns, pizza crust, and granola bars.
Buy whole foods instead of packaged foods.
Plan your meals. Meal planning saves money. It limits the spontaneous desire to go out to eat and you also only buy the ingredients you truly need.
Be Discerning. If you can’t afford to buy entirely organic, choose wisely which items to pay more for. A good rule of thumb is to buy organic fruits and vegetables that have thin skins (like apples and berries). These foods tend to absorb the most pesticides and herbicides. Check out the list below for the produce you should try to purchase organic.
Find coupons for organics on the internet.
Do some research.
Shop at farmers’ markets.
Buy a share in a community-supported agriculture program.
Join a co-op or buying club.
Freeze organic fruits and veggies when they are in season.
Ease into organic.
The Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” are the 12 worst offenders for pesticides, and it’s worth the investment to find an organic alternative. Conversely, the “Clean Fifteen” are the least likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues, so you can save your cash and skip the splurge. Check out the list below, and go organic when it counts!
The Dirty Dozen (from Worst to Best)
The Clean 15 (from Best to Worst)