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Ask a Dietitian: Affordable Organic Produce

by Jessica May, MS RD/LD

Q: I'm worried about the amount of pesticides in fresh produce, how can I buy Organic at an affordable price?

A: Many people are concerned about the use of pesticides on our fruits and veggies and even in meat products. There is not a lot of definitive research at this time to suggest that long term consumption of fruits and vegetables that are produced with pesticides can cause significant health problems. However, the little research that is out there can be intimidating so here are some things you can do to lessen the amount of pesticides in your food without breaking the bank:

  • Buy store brand version of organic items. Many companies and grocery stores are making their own version of organic foods to compete with other more known brands and these are not as costly.
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables well. Giving your produce a good scrub prior to eating can help wash away some of the chemicals. Scrub the outsides of produce with a firm skin using a produce brush and remove the outer layers and leaves of other produce before washing. Don't use soap!
  • Use Coupons! There are plenty of coupon sites out there that are available for you to make buying organic foods more affordable. Try for starters.
  • Avoid the "Dirty Dozen" and buy organic. Many fruits and vegetables have had their pesticide levels tested and here are the top 12 fruits and veggies that contain the most amount of pesticides: FRUITS: Peaches, apples, nectarines (imported), strawberries, blueberries (domestic), grapes (imported); VEGETABLES: sweet bell peppers, celery, spinach, lettuce, potatoes, kale/collard greens.
  • Buy conventional from the "Not-so-dirty-dozen." These are the top 12 fruits and vegetables that have been shown to have the least amount of pesticides: FRUITS: watermelon, grapefuit, kiwifruit, mangoes, pineapple; VEGETABLES: eggplant, cabbage, sweet peas, aspargus, sweet corn, avocados, onions.

By prioritizing your purchasing, using coupons and shopping smart you can rest assured that you are offering your children the healthiest foods out there without breaking the bank in the process.

For nutritional counseling, Norman Regional Health System offers the guidance of registered dietitians. Those interested can schedule an appointment for an assessment with a referral from their family physician.

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Contact Kelly Wells
Norman Regional Health System

Office (405) 307.2143
Fax (405) 307.2144