Food News: The Skinny on Healthy Fruits and Veggies for Your Family

There is so much misinformation out there about what is safe to eat, so go with the science.

We parents hear a ton of mixed messages when it comes to healthy food. All the new language can be really confusing. Is non-GMO the same as organic? (No, it’s not!) Is organic the same as pesticide-free? (Not necessarily) It’s hard for us to parse the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

Some fruits and vegetables are safer than others depending on whether they are non-GMO (or Genetically Modified Organisms), pesticide-free, which just means no chemicals were applied to the plants, or organic, which uses unmodified seeds and no chemical fertilizers or pesticides. However, some produce is naturally repellant, like avocados for example, and hasn’t required genetic modification, so buying organic avocados is a waste of money.

Seeking out evidence-based research from third-party organizations is a pretty safe bet when deciding which foods are safe for your family. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit group that provides lists of conventionally grown foods you want to avoid because their toxicity levels are high, as well as fruits and veggies that are considered safe by conventional standards.

Here’s a quick bullet list of produce you can count on at the supermarket:

  • Avocado
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Sweet Peas
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Grapefruit
  • Onions
  • Cauliflower1

Conversely, these are the fruits and veggies you want to make sure to buy organic:

  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Hot peppers
  • Kale2

Print up that two-part list and post it on your refrigerator so that you start to become acquainted with what is safe and where to buy it. The goal is simply to be aware of your choices as a consumer and avoid foods that have heavy chemicals or modification.

Remember too that a package of organic seeds is cheap and that with a little digging and watering, you can easily nurture many of these foods in your own back yard. Farmers’ markets are an excellent shopping solution when it comes to health, primarily because you can talk to the growers firsthand, ask them about their practices and feel confident in the safety of your purchases. 

Whenever you can, eat those foods on the list in season; it’s nature’s way of ensuring we are getting the right nutrients for the right time of year. Good food is our foremost method of protecting our physical and mental health.

We are all doing our best to navigate what has become a very complicated and chemical world in order to feel our families responsibly. More generally speaking, if your family is primarily eating veggies, fruit, and whole foods, you are managing your health with flying colors so give yourself a parental pat on the back. For more information on eating organic, check out our blog post on Organic Food Facts.

 

References:

  1. https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/clean_fifteen_list.php
  2. https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_dozen_list.php

About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

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