Green Your Grocery List: Guide to Organic and Food Labels Part 1

When it comes to what you put in your grocery cart, its important to remember that not all products are created equal. If you want to Green Your Grocery List so you can eat a Green Diet, it is important to know if what you’re buying is marketing hype, or the real deal. This list is intended to help you navigate your way through the confusing labels being put on our food.

All Natural – I started with this label because you see it everywhere! This is the second most popular label to appear on our food. Here’s the honest truth. The word ‘natural’ on a product means nothing. I like to say – just because I use a natural blonde color in my hair, does not make me a natural blonde. Ignore this label. Look on the nutritional label. Use this nutritional guide to help you determine if the ingredients in the product are actually ‘natural.’

USDA Organic – When you buy an organic product, it means the product was grown free of chemical pesticides, free of chemical fertilizers, free of all antibiotics and free of all additives. In addition, the product has not been genetically modified or irradiated. For organic products, the USDA Organic green label is the gold standard.

The USDA Organic sticker is pretty easy to figure out on a single ingredient item like an apple. The apple either has the sticker, or it doesn’t.

What about food products with more than one ingredient?

For products made with multiple ingredients, here is what these terms mean:

  • 100% Organic – All ingredients are organic. It can proudly wear the USDA Organic label.
  • Organic – At least 95-99% of the ingredients are organic.
  • Made With Organic Ingredients – Food must contain 70 – 94% organic ingredients.

If you are just starting to Green Your Grocery List, you can do so by committing to buying produce items on the Dirty Dozen list only if it is organically grown.

Dirty Dozen – When it comes to buying organic produce, there are 12 foods that make up the “Dirty Dozen.” These are the 12 produce items that have the most pesticide residue. You can reduce your pesticide exposure by 80%! simply by buying those 12 items only if they have the USDA Organic label. When I post grocery deals, I will not post good prices on these 12 items unless they are organically grown. Who cares if you can get produce super cheap if it is filled with pesticides?

Made with Whole Grains – This is another one of those tricky marketing claims! To get more whole foods into your Green Diet, if you are buying a whole grain product, the number one ingredient should say 100% whole wheat. Even most multi-grain breads fall short! Look for products that say 100% whole wheat as the number one ingredient. Then make sure it doesn’t have high-fructose corn syrup as one of its ingredients. You’d be surprised at how many products have it! Another good indicator? Weight. Good whole grain bread should be heavy.

This was part 1 of Green Your Grocery List. Next on Green Your Grocery List: Meat and Dairy labeling

On The Greenbacks Gal, I’m spending the month of January Resolutionizing Your Green Life.

The Better Living Network has lots of other great topics to help you Resolutionize!

Resolutionize Your Finances with Kay@Bucksome Boomer

Resolutionize Your Home with Nikki@Coupon Cookin

Resolutionize Your Wallet with Jennifer@The Coupon Mommie

Resolutionize Your Mommy-tude with Brandy@Savin Some

Resolutionize Your Kitchen and Cooking with Tiffany@Eat at Home

Resolutionize Your Mom Groove with Crystal @Crystal&Co.

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