When going fully organic is too expensive for your family, there is a middle ground to be found. When we were on a very tight budget I used the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists.

Tight budget

When you are on a tight budget you’ll want to make sure you do the best you can with your money. So knowing which fruits and vegetables get a lot of pesticide and herbicide treatments and which don’t, will help you make wiser choices so that you can lower the toxic load for your family, while not breaking the bank.




The Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases a list of fruits and vegetables every year. They look at the pesticide and herbicide types and amounts that are used on the produce. This working group is USA based, but as they test produce from all over the world, I don’t expect things to be very different in other countries.
So with this list can be a useful tool when you need to keep an eye on the money.
When you go shopping you can bring a list or you could use their app on your phone.
The EWG has been producing this list since 2004 and I have found it very useful

Dirty Dozen

The dirty dozen is the list of the produce that get the most treated with pesticides and herbicides. At the top of the list are strawberries and have been for quite some years now. That means it is really important to get strawberries organic. You may want to think of growing them yourself as they are very low maintenance. Next is spinach on the list.
I’ll list the 2018 list here, so you can see for yourself:

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Potatoes
  • Peppers
  • Chillies

When we were on a tight budget I would either buy the produce on the list organic or not at all. We learned how to grow some things as well. Strawberries and Celery being the ones that I found the easiest to grow.
As you can see on the list, most of the dirty dozen are soft fruits and vegetables. So when you go shopping you can keep that in mind.



Clean Fifteen

So then there is also the clean fifteen list. That is a list of produce that doesn’t get much at all, if any. So anything on that list you can buy conventionally with a good conscious.
I’ll list the 2018 list here, so you can have a peek

  • Avocado
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapple
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Peas (frozen)
  • Papaya
  • Asparagus
  • Mango
  • Aubergine
  • Melon (honeydew)
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli

I personally have always chosen cauliflower organic as somehow the flavour is different, so my family preferred the flavour of the organic ones.




Are you going to start using the clean fifteen and dirty dozen lists to do your shopping?

Or will you go completely organic?

Let me know in the comments what you think and how you feel.

If you have any more questions on which small steps you can take, feel free to ask. I’m here to answer and it will likely give me more food for writing on here. I need you all with lots of questions and thoughts to make this the best site on the net about healthy food 🙂



As I’m running a business I will talk about this bit as well. Just having a website isn’t going to pay the bills 🙂
If you would like to have an accountability buddy, I’m here for you. I do this for a living, so just let me know whether you would like some coaching, we can talk once a month. It doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. You’ll have email support as well. Just have a look at what I have to offer.
Health Coaching might be right up your alley, or Children’s nutrition or Teenager nutrition. In case you are starting to introduce food to your baby then Introducing solids could be exactly what you want.