EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Kitchen table budgets are feeling the pinch with the rising cost of food prices.

Groceries are more than 10% higher now than they were last summer, according to the consumer price index.

The higher prices come at a time when parents are packing school lunches, but healthy options don’t always make the grade when it comes to kids who are picky eaters.

According to the USDA, organic produce is 7 % to 82% more expensive than its non-organic counterparts.

“The cost of things is growing it’s important to look at if you can afford organic,” registered dietician Kate Conklin explains.

Kate Conklin is a registered dietitian and she explains, what is organic?

“The amount of pesticides, what type of pesticides, what type of soil it’s grown in, what type of seeds are used in the farming process and the USDA have just different rules so organic versus conventional they approach produce similarly to create a product but they just have a little bit of regulation differences.” Conklin continues.

So how do you know if food is organic? There are 4 distinct labeling categories for organic products: 100 % organic, organic, made with organic ingredients, and specific organic ingredients.

Produce advertised as organic must comply with the standards of the USDA national organic program. Foods labeled 100 % organic must contain only organic ingredients and will bear the seal USDA organic.

The USDA and the FDA test thousands of samples of products sold in American grocery stores. The environmental working group analyzes the samples to determine which product has the most pesticide residue and which has the least. So you can decide when to spend and when to save. The clean 15 list includes which produce has less pesticides.

The EWG also publishes a dirty dozen list that names the foods with the most pesticide residue.

The demand for organic products is growing worldwide, but according to the dietician Eyewitness News spoke with, the most important step you can take toward a healthier diet is simply eating more fruits and veggies whether or not they’re organic.

And when it comes to packing school lunches variety is key.

Make sure you have something from each food group, protein, carb, fat, fruit, veggie, and dairy.

Kids like variety, and including foods they like, is a guaranteed way to make sure they’re eating something, right? As some nutrition is better than none at lunch.

Another way to tell if you’re buying organic is Organic produce starts with the number 9, followed by the standard 4 digits.

Similarly, the number 8 is the first of a five-digit code on genetically modified produce.