This is Day 43 of the Green in 365 series!
Clean eating begins in our kitchen and the foods that we choose to bring into our homes. Saving money is on the top of almost everyone’s priority list, but so is feeding our families good, nutritious food.
One of the ways that our family stretches our grocery budget while still purchasing and eating organic food, is to use the EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists. They list common fruits and vegetables in order of those with the highest pesticide residues to those with the lowest, so you can prioritize your food dollars by buying the produce on the Dirty Dozen list organically, while saving money by purchasing conventional produce from the Clean Fifteen list.
You may notice that some of the produce items on the Dirty Dozen list are hard to find organic in your area, especially when the fruit or veggie is off-season. In that case, for our family, we usually pass up buying that type of produce fresh, and if we really need it, we try to find it frozen and organic.
For example, strawberries are on the Dirty Dozen list, and they were recently on sale at the grocery store. BUT, they were conventional strawberries, and fresh organic ones were not available, so we passed on buying the strawberries, and instead, because we wanted them for green smoothies, bought bags of frozen organic strawberries at Aldi (By the way, so excited that Aldi is now carrying organic foods! Check them out if you haven’t yet, and buy them so that Aldi knows their customers want organic options!)
This is another reason why it’s great to try to find bulk sources of local, fresh, pesticide-free produce (even if it’s not certified organic) when it’s in season in your area, and put it up to last throughout the year. We do this with blueberries, visiting our local, organic U-pick blueberry farm and picking as much as we can to freeze and use throughout the rest of the year so we don’t have to resort to buying conventional blueberries.
The EWG has made a printable guide to the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen so you can print it off and carry it with you in your purse or wallet for reference while shopping.
Of course, it’s always better to eat fresh fruits and vegetables than none at all, so don’t pass up feeding your family fruits and veggies just because you can’t find an affordable organic option for the produce on the Dirty Dozen list. Do the best that you can, with the budget and selection you have, and don’t worry about the rest.
How do you use the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists to stretch your family’s food budget?
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