15 Foods Experts Say You Don't Have to Buy Organic If You're on a Tight Budget
With widespread knowledge about the benefits of shopping organic as well as the dangers of pesticides, it's hard not to feel guilty when reaching for nonorganic groceries to save money. Luckily, the following produce items — deemed the Clean 15 by the Environmental Working Group — are perfectly safe and healthy to eat when grown nonorganically.
Elizabeth Caton, brand and nutrition manager at Guiding Stars, points out that while the following foods have very little pesticide residue in their edible portions, they're still grown with pesticides. If you prefer to remain conscious of pesticide use in general, she suggests buying organic foods "to protect yourself, farmers/growers, the environment, or a combination of these." But if you're on a tight budget, these foods make it possible to eat well and save a few dollars.
The EWG says onions have significantly less pesticide residue than other commercial produce, which is great news, since nonorganic onions cost less than $1 a pound and add tons of flavor to everyday dishes.
Cauliflower is a hip, healthy, and versatile base for hundreds of healthy meals. If you tend to buy it often, you're in luck, because a conventional head costs around $2 or $3.
They're tough to peel, but mangoes' sweet flavor makes them an ideal snack and a delicious dessert ingredient. Even better: they rarely contain pesticide residue, meaning you can buy nonorganic mangoes for around $1 each.
Any pesticides used while growing pineapples are absorbed by the tropical fruit's thick skin, meaning you can snag perfectly healthy nonorganic pineapples for around $3 a pound.
Insects tend to stay away from asparagus, so the EWG says the Spring veggie rarely contains pesticide residue. Nonorganic asparagus should usually cost you no more than $4 a bunch.
Pesticides have a hard time penetrating sweet corn's protective exterior. Save on corn salads and breads by opting for conventional corn, which is always inexpensive.
Eggplants' slick skin makes it hard for pesticides to stick to them. Save on eggplant parm by cooking it with conventional eggplants, sold for about $4 a pound.
Next time you dread peeling grapefruit, remember the citrus fruit's thick skin is a good thing: it protects the inside from pesticide residue and saves you money on the organic stuff.
Frozen Sweet Peas
The EWG deems conventional sweet peas safe to eat, so they'll only set you back about $2 a bag.
Cabbage needs little pesticides to grow successfully, and conventional cabbages can make days' worth of salads for around $2 a head.
As long as you don't like your kiwis with the skin on, you're perfectly safe eating them nonorganic. The fuzzy exterior protects the inside from any pesticides.
Melon rinds hide cantaloupes from harmful pesticides. You can buy them conventional for $2 to $3 a melon, which will feed you several times.
Low on pesticides when tested by the EWG? PapaYAS.
You may go for honeydew last in a fruit cup, but maybe this will change your opinion of the fruit: the conventional version is cheaper and still safe to eat.
Avocados cost a pretty penny these days, so it comes as a relief that you don't have to shell out extra bucks for organic ones. The EWG names them one of the cleanest fruits; when you take off the tough skin, you're also removing any trace of pesticides (which are uncommon in the fruit as it is).