No Need to Spend Money on Organic Avocados—or These 14 Fruits and Veggies

Avocados are already expensive enough.

clean fifteen 2019: picture of avocados
Photo: 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 people are paying closer attention to what they're putting in their shopping carts and on their plates, there's one downside⁠—healthy food isn'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*)

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 (FDA) to determine which fruits and vegetables contain the most and the least 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."

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 money—next time you're in the produce aisle.

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet peas (frozen)
  7. Asparagus
  8. Honeydew Melon
  9. Kiwi
  10. Cabbage
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Cantaloupe
  13. Mangoes
  14. Watermelon
  15. Sweet Potatoes

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 these foods might be worth buying organic if you're not sure which route to take.

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard & mustard greens
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Bell & hot peppers
  8. Cherries
  9. Peaches
  10. Pears
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes

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 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."

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles