Creating a Toxin-Free Diet

Which fruits and vegetables do you need to buy organic.

woman washing chemicals off tomatoes

With all the information on the web and in the news about organic foods, how should we choose which foods to buy organic and which not to -- especially if we need to prioritize our grocery lists?

According to Food News, an analysis by the Environmental Working Group reports that peaches and apples were found to have residue of nine pesticides on one peach or apple, and sweet bell peppers were found to have 11 pesticides on an individual pepper. With this in mind, you might worry it'll be an uphill battle just to figure out which fruit or veggies to pack in your child's lunchbox.

Luckily, Foodnews.org created lists of the 12 most and least contaminated fruits and vegetables, to help consumers make better choices about buying organic foods. You can make your grocery list accordingly.

Top 12 fruits and veggies that most need to be purchased organic

If you are limiting your purchase of organic foods to a few things, it is worth spending the money on these 12 fruits and vegetables, particularly if your children eat lots of them. The items are listed from highest to lowest amount of pesticide contamination.

  1. Peaches (highest pesticide load)
  2. Apples
  3. Sweet Bell Peppers
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarines
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Lettuce
  9. Grapes -- imported
  10. Pears
  11. Spinach
  12. Potatoes

Top 12 fruits and veggies that least need to be purchased organic

Though these are also ranked from highest to lowest pesticide contamination, they all have relatively low pesticide levels and are safer to buy non-organic. Prioritize your grocery list according to your needs.

  1. Eggplant (highest pesticide load)
  2. Broccoli
  3. Cabbage
  4. Bananas
  5. Kiwi
  6. Asparagus
  7. Sweet peas -- frozen
  8. Mango
  9. Pineapples
  10. Sweet corn -- frozen
  11. Avocado
  12. Onions (lowest pesticide load)

Families need to make decisions based on what their children like to eat as well as their family budget. But with this information as a guideline, you can make informed decisions and avoid some exposures to harmful chemicals.

Ronnie Friedland is an editor at Care.com. She has co-edited three books on parenting and interfaith family life.

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