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Image via Unsplash | Fancycrave

When you buy organically grown food, you support farmers who nurture our planet.

You experience the highest quality nutrition without toxic chemicals. You live life in harmony with the world around you.

You also pay a premium. You know it, we know it, and sometimes, we have to wonder if it’s worth it. On average, an organically grown item can cost between 10-30% more than its mass-produced, conventionally grown counterpart.

For many budgets, the price difference is too much. This leads many to give up on organics altogether, but that’s not necessary or advised. Whatever you can do, should be done.

The Environmental Working Group gets it. Every year since 2004, they’ve compiled a data-backed list of common produce items and ranked them between dirtiest and cleanest.

On average, they found a whopping 70% of non-organic produce sampled tested positive for pesticide contamination. Pesticides have been linked to mental health issues, reproductive issues, cancers, and ADHD.

The dirtiest items are those that test highest in pesticide residues after being thoroughly washed and peeled. The cleanest? They test lowest. The EWG’s guide is meant to help families make conscious choices when buying organics on a budget.

Here is their breakdown for 2018:

The Dirty Dozen

These fruits and vegetables have the harshest toxic impact on our planet

and your family’s health. Many of them contain several chemical toxins. For

instance, a single strawberry can have an upwards of 20 different pesticide residues even after washing.

This is where you should spend a little extra and opt for organics.

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet bell peppers

The Clean Fifteen

If you need to make compromises, this is where to do it. These fruits and vegetables have the lowest pesticide residues.

  • Avocados
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Frozen sweet peas
  • Papayas
  • Asparagus
  • Mangos
  • Eggplant
  • Honeydew
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli

Here are some more ways to save money while eating organically:

  • Buy in bulk
  • Start your own food garden, even if it’s just a few plants in pots on a balcony
  • Scan the produce section for discounted “ugly” fruits and veggies
  • Shop the local markets
  • Stick to items that are in season

Buy organically—for your family, for you, for the planet. If you can’t makeover your entire grocery basket, that’s okay. Opt for organics when it comes to “dirty” produce and don’t forget that small changes make major differences.