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If there were one budget benefit to the rising food prices of our current economic climate, it would be that the prices of ‘regular’ produce have virtually met the price of organic produce.  Now making the choice between the two options does not have the same wide cost comparison.  Yet again, knowing just what to purchase as organic and what is lower in pesticides is always a good thing to keep in mind when trying to provide healthy foods on a budget.

There are lists like the one pictured here in this article that can be helpful in deciphering just what to spend your money on when planning your grocery budget.  Organic Produce and Low Pesticide Produce are categorized into the ‘Dirty Dozen’ or the ‘Clean Fifteen’.  The trick here is to remember them.  I can barely remember to take the  list of needed items and coupons, so this additional list will likely get left on the kitchen counter instead of in my hand at the grocery store.  However, there are a few tips and tricks to help you remember what are the best choices:

  • Print out and potentially laminate the list above and keep it in your wallet or check book.  This way it is always with you, even when you happen upon a farmers market or fruit stand.  I also do this with printer cartridge information for the copier.
  • Forgot your list?  No worries, just remember that most of the fruits and vegetable s that you also eat the skin or peel (or that the peal is fuzzy and absorbent) you will want to purchase as organic.  Produce that you peel or remove the outer layer are often lower in pesticides both during the growing process and you habitually lower the intake by removing the outer layer before consuming.
  • Most produce has 4 to 5 numbers on the sticker.  Look at the first one to know what you are getting:  Starts with a “9”  – Organically Grown and non GMO.   Starts with “3 or 4”  –  Conventionally grown, not genetically modified (non-GMO), but also not organic.   Starts with an “8”  –  Genetically modified (DNA altered), so hate eight.
  • Last but certainly not least, and definitely the most trustworthy and budget friendly approach….grow your own!  Not only will it save money, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing what went into the process, appreciate the end product and enjoy the taste far more!

Hopefully this will help as you approach your produce selection to feel you are confidently spending your hard earned budget money on food that best nourishes your family.   Listen  to the April 18, 2012  episode of “Encouragement in the Kitchen” for more insight and encouragement about this topic.


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