Food & Nutrition

Buying Organic Foods

Top 5 Things to Buy Organic
Karina Timmel

Many people want to eat healthy, but can’t afford to buy all organic. To help you make informed decisions at the grocery store, here is a list of the main products you should be buying organic:

1. Coffee: Many of the beans you buy are grown in countries that don’t regulate use of chemicals and pesticides, so look for the USDA Organic label. Go a step further and look for the Fair Trade Certified label to ensure that your purchase supports farmers who are paid and treated well.

2. Milk: Organic dairies avoid using antibiotics and growth hormones on their cows. They also ensure the cows are fed with grains that are pesticide-free.

3. Meat: Organic meat means that the animal’s feed must be 100-percent Certified Organic. However, you should also look for grass-fed beef, which is typically healthier and leaner than corn-fed.

4. Vegetables: Bell peppers, lettuce, carrots and celery have thin skins that don’t offer much of a barrier to chemical treatments—when they are not organic, these vegetables are often heavily sprayed with insecticides. Don’t want to pay for organic? At least be sure to scrub and peel thin-skinned veggies, or choose cabbage, cauliflower, sweet corn, sweet peas or broccoli instead.

5. Fruits: Buy organic peaches, apples, pears, cherries, strawberries and grapes. Multiple chemical pesticides are regularly applied to these delicately skinned fruits in conventional orchards.

—Compiled from information provided by Whole Foods,, and Environmental Working Group (EWG),