Buying organic food can be overwhelming and expensive. Of course, we would like to buy everything organic but with the present state of the economy this may not be possible. However, organic food is very important for our children. Children are particularly susceptible to pesticides in food. Relative to body weight, children eat more than adults therefore, they consume more pesticides, preservatives, hormones etc… Especially if you have a picky eater and they are eating only a few fruits or vegetables. It is likely that they are ingesting one pesticide in large amounts which could accumulate to toxic amounts for a small body. Pregnant women should also be careful since pesticides do cross the placenta and expose the fetus.
The most important organic food to buy in my opinion is milk and meat. To reduce your risk of exposure if not buying organic, try to wash (with a fruit/veggie wash) and peel fruit or vegetables. Also look for locally-grown foods since they are less likely to be treated with post harvest pesticides. Check out our farmer’s markets! Here are two posts on farmer’s markets:
Remember that pesticides have been found in baby food as well. It turns out that some of the pesticides used are able to penetrate the skin and are absorbed into the flesh of the fruit or vegetable. FYI- Peaches are one of the worst offenders. According to Consumer Reports, single servings consistently exceeded the EPA’s daily limit for a 44 pound child.
Below I created a Smarty list of the must-buy organic foods, in my opinion. If you are like me, I need lists for EVERYTHING these days. I cannot go to the grocery store without a list or it is a given that I will forget the most important thing needed at the Dunbar household! I have also included a link to a pocket-sized list for safe and sustainable seafood to print and take to the store or keep with you when eating out.
Dana’s Organic Shopping List:
- grape juice
- green & red peppers
- hot peppers
- green beans
- hard winter squash
- baby food
- buy non-GMO (genetically modified) corn, soy
Here is the link to the Pocket Seafood Selector. It will give you the BEST, OKAY and WORST choices for seafood.
I hope this is helpful – happy shopping!
Thank you for the info. I was under the impression that fruits/veggies with hard or thick skin (i.e. bananas, cantaloupe, winter squash) were okay since the pesticides have a harder time getting to the actual fruit. Is this not the case?
Thank you for the question/clarification! Yes, that’s generally the case except with bananas and cantaloupe. Bananas go on and off the worst offenders list with the Environmental Working Group. Some organizations still like to keep bananas on the list because of the type and amount of pesticide used on bananas and because they are one of the first and most common fruits given to babies. Again, the overall risk for bananas is lower for us but higher for children due to amount of consumption and relative to body weight. Cantaloupes from Mexico usually make the list as well. Again, it appears to be the type of pesticide and the amount applied to the fruit. I guess I think about a cantaloupe when it is pretty ripe and it appears that the skin thins and becomes more permeable. Winter squash was even listed on the Children’s Health Environmental Coalition at one point. I know this appears confusing at times. It will definitely help to wash the fruit thoroughly and peel if you are unable to find or buy organic. I hope this answers your question and please let me know if I can answer any other questions. Thanks!
Looking at your list, it appears that you are advocating buying GMO food. Is this right? I have a heard time swallowing this if you do. Genetically Modified Food is a big problem and certainly a type of food that should be avoided–corn and soy are way overused in foods and lead to tons of allergy problems. Clarify if you can. Thanks!
Thanks for pointing that out. It is not clear in the table. I am NOT recommending that you buy GMO food. I recommend that you do NOT. It was listed to reinforce buying organic and not GMO. I will make changes to the post to avoid further misinterpretation. You are right, soy is way overused. If you read labels, as I am sure you have, it is in just about everything these days. Which is also a concern for the estrogen properties in soy as well as allergies. Thanks for your comment.
Trader Joe’s is an excellent place to shope for organic products. I am not a big fan of Earth Fare (customer service is horrible!) but do have to shop for a few items there. We stay away from additives, preservatives, colorings, dyes, corn syrup, etc. It is not easy to do and takes extra time reading labels but is for the best! Other Mom’s I know are paying attention to what I feed my kids and are following along too.
These are all really great tips! Also getting organic rice, grains, and dry beans from the bulk bins at the organic markets is a great way to save money.There are a lot of misconceptions about organics and it’s good to see that more and more people are seeking out the correct information. Kudos to you!
By the way, it is unnecessary to spend money on produce washes. It’s a waste of money and of the byproducts involved in the packaging. I am an attorney for the produce industry and I have read many studies on such products, and they really just play into the paranoia of parents and non-parents alike…