Spend your organic dollars wisely…
Spend your organic dollars wisely…and increase your fruits and vegetables in your diet whether you buy organic or not!
After talking about gardening and heading to the local Farmer’s Market, many Moms asked me about organic vs. conventional (non organic) fruits and vegetables. What should a parent do? What is worth the organic dollars and what is not? What if you can’t fit organic foods into your budget, what should you do as a parent?
First and foremost, Americans need to eat more fruits and vegetables. The recommendation is that we all should eat at least 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables. The Center for Disease Control tells us that only 1/3 of the adults in this country follow that guideline and even less of our children do. With a nation that is becoming more and more obese, the health benefits of a diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables are very important. Studies show us that eating conventionally grown (non organic) produce is much better than not eating fruits and vegetables. If your budget will not allow you to buy organic produce, don’t worry, do continue to eat fruits and vegetables! You still will be healthier and so will your children. The health benefits of a diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables instead of a lot of processed high fat and high sugar foods far outweigh any risk of pesticide exposure. Trust me, a Pop-Tart is worse for you than a conventionally grown apple!!
That being said, if your budget allows you to spend some of your food dollars on organic foods, there are smart shopping choices. Environmental Working Group’s report (EWG) analyzed pesticide residue testing data from the US Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration and published the “dirty dozen” and the “clean fifteen”. If you choose to spend money on organic produce, then concentrate on the 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residue and don’t bother spending money for the 15 fruits and vegetables on the clean list. Organic food has become big business. Don’t waste your money on organic processed foods like boxed macaroni and cheese! Save those dollars for better food choices like fresh produce, either organic or conventional. All fruits and vegetables, organic or not, need to be washed well to decrease the risk of food poisoning and to decrease the level of pesticides on the produce.
The Dirty Dozen Environmental Working Group (EWG)
- Nectarines (imported)
- Grapes (imported)
- Sweet bell peppers
- Blueberries (domestic)
- Kale/collard greens
The Clean 15 Environmental Working Group (EWG)
- Sweet peas
- Sweet potatoes
Remember….it is much better to eat conventionally grown (non organic) produce than to skip the vegetables or fruit all together because of the fear of pesticide contamination. Fruits and vegetables provide important nutrients, antioxidants, and other health benefits that every adult and child needs, organic or not! So eat your fruits and vegetables, and be a wise shopper!
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.