5 Tips For Picking Produce

Sophie Egan

In the spirit of being a conscious eater while making your meals as satisfying and downright joyful for yourself as possible, here are my top tips for buying produce you can feel good about:

Just eat them.

Only once you’ve found a way to afford, access, and feed yourself and your family sufficient servings of fruits and vegetables should you worry about anything else. Eating at least five servings a day is far and away the number one priority.

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Be strategic on organic.

It’s unrealistic for most of us to have the budget to buy organic everything. But if you’d like to choose some organic produce and want to know where you get the most bang for your buck, follow the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen. The Dirty Dozen lists the types of produce with the highest levels of pesticide residue. The Clean Fifteen are the produce categories with the lowest levels of pesticide residue.

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Mothers, babies, children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that if you’re pregnant or have young children, wash all fruits and vegetables and buy organic produce when possible to minimize exposure to pesticide residues.

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Eat seasonally.

Why? You get peak flavor. If you’re introducing a new fruit or vegetable to a kid or trying to get yourself or your partner to like something, the chances it will stick are higher if your trials are with the best possible version of that thing.

Diversify.

The vast majority of the food we eat—75 percent—comes from a skimpy twelve types of plants and five species of animals. What a missed opportunity!

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Eat regionally.

Regional eating includes focusing on produce from as close as your backyard to as far as the same general climate as your home state. Transportation makes up a mere 11 percent of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of food production, so honoring the spirit of “locally sourced” need not mean sticking to items from within a certain radius of your home.

This is an excerpt from How To Be A Conscious Eater by Sophie Egan.

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