I would love to buy everything organic, but that is just not always possible for me. I am limited by the selection I find at the grocery store. Here is how my Juggling life works. I make a meal plan and create a grocery list from that plan. If I don’t have too much going on, I can make a trip to my organic co-op, my preferred grocery store (preferred because they have a greater selection of organic foods), and then Great Harvest for my bread. During the summer, I swap out the organic co-op and go to the Farmer’s Market which is closer for me. Again, this is my ideal. Now add in a birthday party, sports practice, trip out of town, etc and that plan is out the window. What I am left with is a trip to my regular grocery store. What is an organic-loving girl to do?
Thankfully, early on I learned about the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean Fifteen”. These are lists created by EWG which evaluate the foods with the most and least amount of pesticides used in farming them. You can check out more on EWG here. I use these lists as a guide when shopping my grocery store. I know that when I buy onions that if I can’t find organic then it is probably OK since they are on the Clean Fifteen list. I’ve been trying to teach my family some shortcuts on this as well since a lot of times the only time we have to shop is at like 11:00 at night at the 24 hour grocery store. During these times, I send my husband and stay home with the kids. What I taught him is that if it has a skin that you peal away, like a melon, then it is OK if it is not organic. If you eat the skin, like strawberries, it is best to buy organic. Although, not perfect it generally is logical and that helps when making quick decisions at the grocery store.
The Dirty Dozen – These are the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and are best to buy organic. (Again, whenever you can.)
- Sweet Bell Pepper
- Green Beans
The Clean Fifteen – These are the fruits and vegetables with the least contamination and are therefore a better bet when buying conventionally grown produce.
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas
- Sweet Potatoes
Bottom line for me…………if it is a matter of eating highly processed foods or fresh fruits and vegetables, I am definitely going for the fresh produce. That being said, I prefer to buy organics where possible. The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists have been a huge help for me when shopping my regular grocery store. They are also a great guide for budget conscious folks. Use them to help your efforts at eating Real.