Why Choose Organic Food For Kids?
Posted by Mandy Sacher on January 14, 2016
Posted by Mandy Sacher on January 14, 2016
Organic food – it’s more accessible than ever in our grocery stores and local markets, but if you’re struggling to make the choice to ‘go organic’ for your children, or how to make the change within your family budget, then Wholesome Child is here to help with some hints, tips and information.
Organic food is not just a fad – these foods do contain fewer pesticides, hormones and drug-resistant bacteria than the non-organic kind. Children’s little bodies are much more susceptible to the hidden nasties found in foods, and the consumption of pesticides and other chemicals can have an impact on their long-term health. What’s surprising is that your baby eats more for his/her size than an adult does and, as your little one will probably be eating mostly fruit and vegetables while you are weaning him or her, they’re taking in more pesticide residues for their size than an adult does.
Our babies produce lower levels of the enzymes needed to detoxify pesticide chemicals from their bodies compared to adults, and their developing brains and nervous systems are more vulnerable to chemicals than their parents and adults are. For these reasons, we like to try and buy as much in the way of organic fruit and vegetables as our budget will allow, ensuring the minimum exposure to these chemical ‘bad guys’ for our children.
There’s no getting away from the fact that organic products are more expensive, so it’s best to spend more where it counts. The Environmental Working Group’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ List contains details of the products that are the most sprayed, and those which absorb the most chemicals. These fruits and veggies are the hardest to clean, and even if washed and scrubbed will still contain a significant amount of chemicals:
- Hot Peppers
In essence, if you can afford it, choose organic for any of the products listed above, especially when offering these foods to young children.
The Environmental Working Group’s ‘Clean Fifteen’ List contains details of the cleanest, least sprayed or chemically affected produce – these might be items you buy from a non-organic producer to save money:
- Sweet peas (frozen)
- Honeydew Melon
Wholesome Child’s top tips for budget-friendly organic shopping
- Focus on your family’s staples. If you have a little carnivore who’s not keen on cheese, choose grass-fed organic meat, but buy conventionally produced dairy options. If they love apples but are not crazy about bananas – choose organic apples and don’t worry about the occasional non-organic banana.
- Chemical-free fruit and vegetables from a reputable source can be another great wallet-friendly choice and the quality of products are often just as good as organic. This is because getting a license to certify produce as organic is often too pricey for small, independent growers who are using chemical-free means to farm their produce. These options are often available at your local weekend grower’s or farmer’s market.
- Budget-conscious family shoppers should look for discounted produce in health food stores, which may have a few bruises on the skin, or need to be eaten within 1–2 days. Overripe, discounted mangoes and bananas are excellent choices as they can be frozen and used in smoothies. Likewise, use bruised vegetables in soups, sauces or casseroles where even the fussiest of taste buds won’t know they were in the discount tub at the store.
- Organic meat is often discounted 1–2 days before the use by date – if this is purchased from a reputable source, it’s perfect to eat and can be frozen and used later as long as it is placed in the freezer before the use by date.
Other great ways to minimize pesticides on non-organic fruit and vegetables
- Wash and peel fruits and vegetables, and remove the outer leaves of vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage.
- Scrub all fruits and vegetables that you don’t peel under running water.
- Soak foods that are more difficult to wash, such as strawberries, grapes, broccoli, lettuce, and spinach in a bowl of water. Rinse them again after draining.
- Don’t give your baby bruised fruit. These are likely to harbor more pesticides.
- Vary the fruits and vegetables your baby eats. Then he/she won’t be taking in the same types of pesticide residues.
- Shop local and try to eat food that is in season. Fruits and vegetables that are grown far away require after-harvest pesticides and waxes to help them survive the long trip.
When making the choice on what to fill your shopping cart with, remember that the most important factor for your children’s nutrition is that they eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and full-cream dairy products, whether those are conventionally or organically grown.