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Every plant has its growing season, and growing a plant out of season can require special steps that might make the food dangerous. As more markets demand a wider variety of produce year round, sometimes food companies add chemicals to those foods to get them to your dinner table on an off season.

dirty dozen clean 15

Instead of worrying about what is on or in your food, you can educate yourself and know which foods are the safest in terms of organic growing conditions and which foods are the worst. You should also understand the different ways you can encourage your kids to eat healthier and save money on your food bills at the same time.

The Dirty Dozen

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes an annual list of the foods that contain the most chemicals, the Dirty Dozen. For 2017, the Dirty Dozen, in order from worst to best, are:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Peaches
  6. Pears
  7. Cherries
  8. Grapes
  9. Celery
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Sweet Bell Peppers
  12. Potatoes

These are the foods with potentially dozens of dangerous chemicals added to them so that they grow in and out of season. Be sure to wash your produce!

The Clean 15

The Clean 15 are the foods with the least amount of chemicals and they are in order from worst to best:

  1. Sweet Corn
  2. Avocados
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onions
  6. Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  7. Papayas
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangos
  10. Eggplant
  11. Honeydew Melon
  12. Kiwi
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Grapefruit

One of the reasons that many of these foods make the Clean 15 list is that they have natural protective covers over the food that keep chemicals out. You remove the outside and then eat the inside. However, your family can still enjoy strawberries and other foods from the Dirty Dozen list without the fear of ingesting dangerous chemicals.

Combating Chemicals On Our Produce

One way to avoid chemicals on your food is to buy locally grown organic produce. You can find locally grown produce in your grocery store where it should be clearly marked, or you can go to an organic grocery store that sells locally grown produce.

The best way to combat chemicals in your food and teach your children to appreciate what they eat is to grow your own garden. Growing your own garden will help you feel more comfortable with what you eat, simply because you will know exactly what’s in your food.

Gardening also provides a great source of education for your kids. What’s better than first hand experience in learning the process of growing their own food? When you keep a garden with your kids, you can feed them healthy food and help them learn to appreciate the outdoors in ways that will have a positive impact on their health.

It is difficult enough to get kids to eat fruits and vegetables without having to worry about chemicals. Your kids will develop an emotional attachment to gardening and to the process of growing fruits and vegetables, and they will learn healthy eating habits.

If you are worried about the chemicals in your food, then you need solid information to help you feed your family healthy meals. Identifying the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 will help you shop better throughout the year, but most of all, it will help you live a fuller, healthier life.