How to Know Which Organic Foods to Buy

An estimated 78 percent of American families buy at least some organic foods. While many families buy organic, only 4.2 percent of food in the United States was organic in 2011. Exposure to pesticides, weight loss worries and health concerns are just a few of the reasons to buy organic. As organic foods become more easily available, it is important for families to decide which organic items are best. Do you have to buy only organic veggies? Is there a way to save money on your grocery bill?

Which Foods Should Always Be Organic?

The USDA discovered that organic produce cost 30 percent more than typical produce. If you want to save money, there are a few organic foods that you can skip. The Environmental Working Group put out a list of the 12 worst foods for pesticide contamination. These fruits and vegetables should always be bought organic:


– Cherries

– Nectarines

– Cherry tomatoes

– Peaches

– Spinach

– Strawberries

– Celery

– Sweet bell peppers

– Cucumbers

– Grapes

– Apples

– Tomatoes

Healthy Organic FoodsAs a rule, pesticides find it harder to penetrate a tough skin. Foods with thick skins like bananas tend to have lower pesticide concentrations. Thin-skinned foods like tomatoes end up high in pesticides. Stick to organic produce if you are buying something with a thinner skin.

Which Foods Do Not Have to Be Organic?

Ideally, it would be best to buy everything from the organic aisle. If this is not possible, there are a few foods that are fairly safe to buy non-organic. These include:


– Asparagus

– Kiwi

– Avocado

– Papaya

– Cantaloupe

– Eggplant

– Carrots

– Mushrooms

– Grapefruit

– Watermelon

– Sweet potatoes

– Sweet peas

– Mango

– Cauliflower

– Pineapple

– Onion

– Sweet corn

Some products like carrots have pesticides just on the surface. For carrots, make sure to peel the carrot to remove the pesticides. Despite having a fairly thin skin, kiwis are generally safe. Pesticides are seldom used on kiwis, so they can be bought non-organic.

Organic Meats and Seafood

Unfortunately, cows are given sex hormones to grow quickly. Medical professionals think that these hormones could cause human girls to start early puberty. While these findings are not conclusive, organic beef also has omega-3 fats that make it a better option. Likewise, stick to organic pork and poultry. Organic farms do not give synthetic pesticides and antibiotics. If you have to buy non-organic meat, remove the fat and skin. The pesticides tend to lodge in these two areas.

As for seafood, there is a problem with buying organic. The USDA does not have set standards for labeling seafood organic. Because of this, you cannot know if “organic” seafood is contaminated or not. Instead, stick to fish that are low in mercury like salmon, shrimp and anchovies.

While eating organic food may not shrink your waistline, it helps to boost your long-term health. A diet rich in vegetables and fruit has been shown to help with weight loss and heart health. Organic produce also has a higher concentration of the vitamins that your body needs to function at its best.