Whether or not organic food is better for you is a hotly debated subject. Is the extra money we spend actually worth it? The general consensus seems to be, essentially, “Yes, but only sometimes.” We spoke to a few experts to see how you can best work organic into your budget without spending a fortune.

Packaged, processed foods are one example of how organic food may not be better for you. Junk foods like ice cream, pizza, and French fries can be made with organic ingredients. “Buying something organic does not necessarily mean buying healthy,” says Colin Zhu, DO. “At the end of the day, ‘organic’ is just a label.” 

That label can sometimes hike up the price on certain items, and figuring out when it’s worth splurging can be confusing. Katrina Trisko, MS, RDN, CDN, a registered dietitian based in NYC, says that your best bet is to consider organic on an “individualized basis.” This means that not every item you put in your cart needs to be organic in order for you to get the most nutrients.

What matters above all is that you’re getting the most servings of fruits and vegetables that you can, whether they’re conventional or organic. “If you want the healthiest option, don’t get caught up if whether or not your veggie or fruit is organic,” says Amanda Sauceda MS, RDN,CLT. “Eating your fruits and veggies is more important than the label.”

When it comes to the most cost-effective option for eating well, there are work-arounds to simply buying organic food that are just as environmentally friendly and fresh.

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(Photo via Carolina Quijano / Brit + Co)