Healthy Focus

Fresh from the farm: Eating Organic on a Budget

If you prefer organic produce but shy away it at your local farmers market because you’re afraid prices will be too high, try some savvy shopping strategies this summer season.

You can shop smarter and make the most of your farmers market dollars by avoiding pesticides where it matters most: Learn which fruits and vegetables are more likely to contain pesticide residues, and find out about the farmers’ growing practices so you can take advantage of safer options in conventional produce.

The Dirty Dozen
You can determine which fruits and vegetables are most likely to have high pesticide residues on the Environmental Working Group’s website at The worst offenders, which the environmental organization dubbed the “Dirty Dozen,” are the items you’d want to buy organic, according to health experts.

Strawberries topped the 2020 list, followed by spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery and potatoes.

You can also check the site for the fruits and vegetables lowest in pesticides and opt for the conventionally grown “Clean Fifteen,” including such summer favorites as avocados, sweet corn, pineapple, onions, and papaya.

Your family’s food habits also play a role in where you spend your organic produce dollar. For example, if you only eat strawberries every four months, you don’t have that much exposure to pesticides. If you eat spinach every day, consider purchasing organic.

Farmers Market Strategies
Shopping your farmers market may give you advantages beyond the generous array of organic produce, because the fruits and vegetables there may have less pesticide residues than their supermarket counterparts.

You can also ask farmers how they grow their crops and whether they use pesticides—and you may even be able to influence a farmer to go organic.

In addition, when you shop a farmers market you’re buying in season, and things often taste better.

Produce is also less expensive when it’s in season locally rather than being shipped in from other regions. Experts suggest that if you stay within season, organic food isn’t that expensive.

How about those shopping skills you use at the supermarket? Use them to cut the cost of organic produce by buying organic in bulk if you can. For example, purchase a bushel of organic potatoes and split the spuds with your friends.

Most of all, though, don’t think that you can’t eat produce unless it’s organically grown. It’s more important to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables overall no matter how they’re grown.

Experts say it’s more importation to focus on a transition to more plant-based nutrition. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweighs the risk of pesticides.

It’s a Wash
Whether you buy organic or conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, make washing produce a regular part of food preparation. You don’t need expensive commercial wash products to get rid of bacteria. Use clean, drinkable cold water and a vegetable scrub brush for thick-skinned vegetables. Then dry with clean paper towels, which eliminates even more bacteria.

If you’re peeling fruits or vegetables to reduce or eliminate pesticide residue, wash the outside first so you don’t transfer bacteria to the flesh.

Be sure to follow our social media channels. Each week this summer, we will be featuring new healthy recipes on #WellnessWednesday.


Overexposure: Helping Kids Make Sense of Media

No news can be good news, say mental health experts who recommend limiting media consumption for both kids and adults alike.

According to experts, the developing brain is very inquisitive, which is why it is suggested that parents put limits on how much media gets consumed by children.

Protecting Kids
The one-two punch of bad news and exaggerated depictions of celebrity lifestyles can be especially hard on children. They may have difficulty sifting through the often violent and depressing images they see and maintaining a healthy perspective.

Experts say that parents have to help guide children’s judgment and offer up the fact that real life is not really like what they’re seeing on TV. In fact, some behavioral health professionals recommend that children not be allowed to watch television news until they are at least 11 or 12 years old. Even then, parents should watch with their kids, discussing what is right or wrong about specific new stories or what might be a good solution to the situation. Some experts believe it’s helpful to empower kids to feel they are in control and not helpless in the face of what they see.

Face Reality
Doctors agree that a healthy lifestyle means trading the video world for the real world, and having conversations with your children about the images they see when consume media of any kind.

4 Tips for Monitoring Kids’ TV Viewing

1. Allow only one to two hours of TV watching each day, whether it’s on a television set, computer, smart phone, etc.
2. Pay attention to the programs and video games your child watches.
3. Keep TV out of your child’s bedroom.
4. If your TV has a V-chip, use it to restrict and stop programs that aren’t appropriate for kids.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

If you have concerns about your child’s behavioral health, please make an appointment with Paris Pediatrics at 731-644-2747.