urban pacifier – organic on a budget

In the ideal world every fruit and vegetable would be pesticide free, but sadly they aren’t. Instead we pay a premium to eat foods that are free of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones and that are not irradiated, genetically modified or cloned.

When considering what to feed your child it is important to know that children are more sensitive to pollutants than adults, and according to the AAP, when it comes to pesticides, children are about ten times more sensitive!

The good news is that it still costs less to buy organic and make your own baby food, than it does to buy pre-made baby food, but, if you still want to cut costs here are the fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides that you should consider buying organic: 

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Nectarines (Imported)
  • Grapes
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Potatoes
  • Green beans
  • Kale

What makes these the worst? These are the foods that carry the highest pesticide residue. You can lower your pesticide intake substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables on the list above and eating the least contaminated produce. If you want to see the entire list of offenders you can visit www.foodnews.org

How do you know that it is organic?

In 2002 the USDA implemented the National Organic Program, a standard that farmers and manufacturers have to meet. Look for the foods marked with the USDA’s green-and-white certified organic seal. To qualify for the seal whole foods (fruits and vegetables) must be 100% organic and mixed foods like soup or other prepackaged items must be at least 95% organic to qualify for the seal.


So if you are on a budget, spring for the organic produce on the list above as well as dairy, poultry and meat, and find your costs savings in the “clean” fruits and vegetables that you don’t’ need to buy organic. To end on a high note here are the “2013 – Clean 15” – the fruits and vegetables with the lowest pesticide residue on the market, so stock up on these if you are on a budget!

  • Onions
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapples
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet peas
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Eggplant
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe (domestic)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Grapefruit
  • Watermelon
  • Mushrooms

If you still find yourself struggling to buy organic produce here are some tips, courtesy of Baby 411, to try and limit pesticide exposure to you and your children:

Scrub your produce with a brush under running water to remove any residue

  1. Peel whatever produce you can (this does remove the fiber so if you are going to splurge try to spend money on the ones with edible skins)
  2. Don’t eat the outer leaves of leafy vegetables like lettuce and kale.
  3. Grow your own (if possible)
  4. If your product is imported, only purchase that which can be peeled
  5. Buy what’s in season

These tips do not remove all of the pesticides, but every little bit helps!

If you have any more tips on shopping/eating organic we would love to hear from you in the comments section.

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