1. 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.
  2. Baby food. Buy an organic brand—free of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic engineering—because developing bodies and brains are more vulnerable to toxins.
  3. Dairy products. You can't wash off the pesticides or growth hormones used in conventional dairy—so buy organic.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

—K.R.