Switching to organic is tough for many families who don’t want to pay higher prices or give up their favorite foods,” writes Tara Parker-Pope at The New York Times. “But by choosing organic versions of just a few foods that you eat often, you can increase the percentage of organic food in your diet without big changes to your shopping cart or your spending.”

Last fall, Parker-Pope spoke with pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene, who suggested five organic foods that can have a large impact on a family diet with minimal strain to the pocketbook:

  • Milk. Some people are reluctant to drink mass-produced milk for fear of being exposed to antibiotics and hormones. Organic milk can cost twice as much as the regular stuff, though, which leads some to question if the benefits are worth it.
  • Potatoes. According to the article, a commercially-farmed potato “has one of the highest pesticide counts” of all vegetables.
  • Peanut butter. I’m a recent convert to grinding my own peanut butter at the health food store. It tastes great. (Though it needs a bit of salt.)
  • Ketchup. Organic ketchup has double the antioxidants of normal ketchup. (That’s a good thing.)
  • Apples. Kris and I grow our own apples, so I can attest to how difficult it is to grow good fruit without chemicals. Your average apple in the grocery store has probably been sprayed a dozen times. Organic fruit costs a little more — and isn’t as pretty — but brings peace of mind.

If you’re interested in budgeting organic foods into your life, start with just a few items to make the transition easier.

Actually, starting slowly is a great way to ease into most financial changes. If you’ve decided to contribute 10% of your income to your church (or favorite charity), consider starting with 3%, and then moving to 6% after a few months. If you’ve decided to start a Roth IRA, schedule a $25 monthly contribution. When you know that this is doable, bump the contribution to $50, and then to $100. Small steps can lead to big changes.

[The New York Times: Five easy ways to go organic]

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