Organic food for kids
Our children are our most treasured resources, and we have the opportunity to protect them. By helping to reduce toxic exposure, organic products can help us raise healthy, strong children. The cost may be a little more, but the value for you and your family may be far greater.
Why Organic Especially for Children?
Children are developing organs to last a lifetime. Due to their smaller size, fast-growing speedy metabolisms and less varied diets, infants and children are more vulnerable to health and developmental damage from their foods and environment.
In 1993, a U.S. Congress mandated study by the National Academy of Sciences expressed concern that existing methods of risk evaluation for pesticide exposure were failing children. More recently, the Consumers Union and Environmental Working Group have released studies confirming that children are overexposed even if their exposure is within legal limits.
The Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 mandated a review of agricultural chemicals in light of this new information about risk assessment. Included in this act is a requirement to impose a 10-fold margin of safety to protect children when setting standards for the use of pesticides on food.
While safety standards have become more strict, buying organic products and supporting organic agriculture may be your best protection.
Related: Is your child eating too much or not enough?
To get the best bang for your buck, choose products bearing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Organic seal. Products with this seal contain at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients, ensuring that what you pay for is worth every penny, and that your child receives only the best.
More notably, USDA organic products have become much more readily available than before in our local supermarkets and specialty stores such as FairPrice Finest, Cold Storage, Brown Rice Paradise, Supernature and Four Seasons Organic Market.
If you have yet to introduce organic to your family, it is never too late to start. Here are some tips to help bring that transformation to your dinner table.
1. Start with your child’s favourite foods
Children are notorious for having strange eating patterns, and many tend to want to eat the same foods day in and day out. That’s a perfectly normal development step for your child.
Thus, a first step is to substitute the organic version of the foods that your children are eating the most as they’ll not be able identify a significant difference in their diet. This will save you the time and trouble of having to coax your child into eating unfamiliar seemingly random organic food you bought.
2. Substitute organic versions of produce known for high level of pesticides
It is important to remember that the allowed amount of pesticide residues present in non-organic foods is based on “acceptable” levels for adult consumption. This means that babies and young children, with their developing organs and systems, may be at a greater risk, which makes them more vulnerable to toxins. Some frequently consumed non-organic fruits and vegetables are actually found to have the highest levels of pesticides. The top organic foods from this category that you should consider switching your children to include avocadoes, bananas, pears, broccoli, peas, carrots and sweet potatoes.
Related: The many ways to keep your child healthy
3. Choose organic to avoid meat and dairy that may contain artificial hormones
Animals are often given growth hormones and low doses of antibiotics to accelerate their growth and to increase their production of milk and eggs. Eating products from these animals may increase your child’s risk of exposure to drug-resistant bacteria as well as to effects linked to synthetic hormone use.
Products with the USDA Organic seal are sourced from meat and dairy farmers who do not use synthetic growth hormones or low-dose antibiotics in their agricultural methods. These farmers are also held to rigorous standards, including audits and inspection of their farms.
Being informed about your child’s nutritional and growing needs gives parents peace of mind. Having the right information will help with your baby’s continuing growth and development. Food choices you make now for your child will go a long way towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle for them.
Related: Kids and a vegetarian diet