Weigh The Benefits: Organic Food and Your Toddler

Where does your food come from? A farm? A factory? Do you know what you’re putting in your mouth? Thanks to amazing grocery stores, farm-to-table initiatives, the Non-GMO Project, the EPA (and many, many others!) you can discover exactly where your food was created and how. It’s up to you to test the waters and yes, it can be very scary!

Organic food is a very viable option if you want to be cautious about not putting overly processed items in your body. Organic foods are free of pesticides, chemicals, and most preservatives that are used when growing and processing food items. If you look at the list of ingredients on organic items, there is no sign of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives.

The key here is to look for foods labeled “USDA Organic.” This means that: antibiotics, chemical fertilizers, synthetic growth hormones, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and pesticides are not used to produce the foods. These are harmful and potentially toxic substances.

Organic food has changed the landscape of child nutrition today and eating “clean” the way to go. You know that what you’re ingesting wasn’t pumped full of chemicals and hormones to make it look better and grow larger. Organic produce certainly isn’t cheap, but you can pick and choose. There are certain produce items that contain fewer pesticides than others if you don’t have the funds to buy purely organic. Check out theses items deemed the “dirty dozen” and the “clean 15.”

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 The EPA has worked significantly since the late 90s to stop the use of organophosphates (OP) in children’s food products. These are the most toxic form of pesticides. Organophosphates are linked to mental health disorders in children: depression, memory problems, and attention deficit disorder. Even mild symptoms like nausea and dizziness can occur from pesticide exposure.

Even recent studies have shown that some organic foods are actually more nutritious. It’s been proven that organic vegetables and fruits contain up to 30% more antioxidants. Organic milk has a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids.

This explains why it’s so necessary that pregnant women, infants, and children stick to an organic diet. They need the most nutrients out of food that they can get. Infants and children are the most vulnerable to the toxic effects from pesticides for a few reasons; Children seem to absorb pesticides more easily; their GI tract, (which is not fully developed), has a hard time breaking toxins down; last but not least, pesticides can rob your child of valuable nutrients by blocking them from being fully absorbed.

Your child’s healthy growth and development is essential and the cleaner they eat the better. Avoiding processed foods is a wonderful way to start a change. Your child needs foods closest to their original state to ensure they get the most nutrients from them. Remember, the more processed the food, the less nutritional value it has.

While I’m talking about nutrition for children, I have to say that a little bit of sugar, salt, or even butter is not going to harm your child, of course in moderation that is! It’s actually so much better to have a little of the real stuff, instead of buttery spreads or drinks filled with aspartame. Please, please stay away from chemicals and go for the real thing.

I know how tempting those packaged foods are after a long day, especially if you have a hungry, screaming toddler clinging to your ankles. I realize time is crucial as a parent, but there are quick and easy options, keep it simple! Steam some broccoli, boil some brown rice, and pick up a chicken from the store. Puree veggies and add them to organic mac and cheese. Make more and freeze it. It doesn’t have to be time consuming so get creative!

I hope this gives you a better idea of organic food. Everything you need to for a healthy, happy, and simple family life can be found in nature. Thanks to Emma from Emma’s Children for guest posting for Kids are from Pluto!

Emma Jenner, a child development and behavioral specialist who launched Emma’s Children, a consulting service whose goal is to provide parents the tools they need to take care of their most valuable asset.  To see more of her work, visit her site here.

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  1. […] Weigh The Benefits: Organic Food and Your Toddler […]

  2. […] you can read more on our guest blog here about the link between pesticides and poor children’s […]

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