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Should I buy organic produce?

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Mother carrying baby while shopping in grocery store

Perhaps you’re confused by all the buzz about organic foods. Is it really necessary to spend more money on organic?

If you prepare meals at home to be healthy, then buying organic can enhance that factor in some cases.

The color of foods is important when planning meals, say registered dietician Hannah Michaels, a former nutrition adviser at the Orlando-based Nutritious Lifestyles, a program funded locally by Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County. And most fruits and vegetables burst with color.

Michaels suggests following the "My Plate" model as described at choosemyplate.gov. "When preparing a meal for your family, keep in mind the more colorful, the better," she says. In other words, varying colors of fruits, vegetables and grains should make up the majority of the plate.

But should they be organic or conventional?

If you’re on a budget and need to prioritize your organic purchases, or you simply would like to know which type of produce harbors the highest pesticide residues, here is a chart to help:

Best to buy organic

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes


OK to buy conventional

  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet corn (frozen)
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Kiwi
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Papaya


Source: Environmental Working Group



• Hannah Michaels, former nutrition adviser, Nutritious Lifestyles
Environmental Working Group

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