- The "dirty dozen." According to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., the following fruits and vegetables harbor the highest amounts of pesticide residue when grown conventionally: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, grapes (imported), spinach, lettuce, and potatoes. Opt for organic when purchasing these products.
- Baby food. Buy an organic brand—free of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic engineering—because developing bodies and brains are more vulnerable to toxins.
- Dairy products. You can't wash off the pesticides or growth hormones used in conventional dairy—so buy organic.
- Healthy snacks. To keep your kids excited about homemade snack mixes, add a few relatively expensive ingredients like dried apricots, which add fiber to the diet and promote eye health, or cashews, which are a good source of protein and contribute to heart health.
- Oils. Organic, expeller-pressed oils ensure maximum purity and flavor and minimize your family's exposure to pesticides. However, buy in quantities you will use, because oils kept too long will become rancid.