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Affordable Organics

With food prices on the rise, it's always nice to save a little money wherever you can.

Here are some tricks to make organic foods a bit more affordable.

Organics vs. Your Budget

Organics pose a particular predicament. On one hand, choosing organic is a sensible way to avoid exposing your family to pesticide residue. It brings you peace of mind. But then, organic is typically more expensive than conventionally grown produce.

It's good to know, then, that not all organics are entirely equal. Some conventionally grown produce carries less pesticide residue than others. Among the conventionally grown fruits and veggies with the lowest levels of pesticide are those that require removal of the outermost layers. Think bananas, avocados, onions, and oranges.

So you really can have it both ways! Buy organic with fruits and vegetables that run the highest pesticide risk. Go conventional with those that are on the low-residue list.

    The "Dirty Dozen"

    For these, consider buying organic, or skip altogether. The U.S. Department of Agriculture found that even after a thorough washing, these fruits and vegetables consistently carried much higher levels of pesticide residue than others.

    1. Apples

    2. Cherries

    3. Grapes, imported

    4. Nectarines

    5. Peaches

    6. Pears

    7. Raspberries

    8. Strawberries

    9. Bell peppers

    10. Celery

    11. Potatoes

    12. Spinach

      Candidates for Conventional

        Beans and Whole Grains

        Beans and whole grains are another smart way to save money on organics. And remember, the combination of beans and rice in a dish provides a complete protein, so you can save money by skipping meat entirely or by reducing the amount of meat (often the most expensive part of the meal) that you add to the dish.

        Beans and grains are highly versatile ingredients that adapt well to seasonings. Use them in stews, soups, pasta dishes, to extend meat dishes, or form them into patties for croquettes or meatless burgers.


        Black bean
        Black-eyed peas
        Great Northerns
        Kidney beans
        Lentils (brown, green, and red)

        Whole Grains

        Whole Grains
        Brown rice
        Wild rice
        Whole-wheat berries
        Whole-wheat couscous

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        Apr. 22, 2012 3:28 pm
        Wonderful article! I'm trying to be more conscious when I purchase produce and other items to avoid chemicals and pesticides and this offers some great tips. Thanks!
        Apr. 22, 2012 8:56 pm
        In my quest to eat healthier I've been researching whole/raw foods. It's good to know which fruits/veggies are loaded with pesticides. This information will definitely help with my produce buying decisions.
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