Avocados are already expensive enough.

By Ariel Klein
August 22, 2019
Getty Images

With countless specialty food markets and so many wellness and workout options available, it feels like leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle has never been more on-trend. And while it’s great that people are paying closer attention to what they’re putting in their shopping carts and on their plates, there’s one downside⁠—healthy food ain’t cheap. 

When it comes to choosing produce, most people assume organic is always the way to go—but the truth is, some fruits and vegetables are just as safe to buy conventionally, and they’re more affordable, too. (*cha-ching*)

RELATED: How to Store Fruits and Vegetables

When to Go—or Forego—Organic

There's a way to find out which types of organic produce aren't really necessary. Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases a Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce, aka “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen.”

Here’s how it works: Testing is conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture, the USDA's Pesticide Testing Program, and the Food and Drug Administration tests to determine which fruits and vegetables contain the most and the least amount of concentrations of pesticides. The “Clean Fifteen” is a list of 15 fruits and vegetables with the fewest traces of pesticides, while the “Dirty Dozen” is a list of 12 fruits and vegetables that contain the highest. It’s important to note that you should thoroughly wash all of your produce before consuming, even if you’re snacking on an item from the “Clean Fifteen.”

RELATED: A Go-To Guide for Using Up Every Bit of Your Fresh Summer Produce

15 Fruits and Veggies With the Lowest Traces of Pesticides

Buying organic isn't always worth it when it comes to these 15 fruits and veggies, so you can save yourself the worry and confusion—and some dough—next time you're in the produce aisle.

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Frozen sweet peas
  5. Onions
  6. Papayas
  7. Eggplants
  8. Asparagus
  9. Kiwis
  10. Cabbages
  11. Cauliflower
  12. Cantaloupes
  13. Broccoli
  14. Mushrooms
  15. Honeydew melons

12 Fruits and Veggies With the Highest Traces of Pesticides

According to the EWG, these 12 produce varieties contain the highest traces of pesticides, which means buying organic might be worth the extra cash if you're not sure which route to take.

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes

It's OK to Eat Non-Organic Produce! 

Keep in mind, there’s nothing wrong with buying all conventional fruits and vegetables, so don’t let these two lists discourage you from eating healthily. Whether or not it's organic, fresh food is always pricier than products loaded with preservatives and longer shelf lives—but it's always better for you. The EWG states that "all research agrees on the health benefits of a diet that includes fruits and vegetables, and eating fresh produce— organic or conventional, as budget allows—is essential for health."

RELATED: Is It Better to Buy Locally-Grown or Organic Produce?

Advertisement