Parenting is about constantly making the right choices. Probably the topmost dilemma that most parents face is narrowing down on the right kinds of food and nutrition for their child. The concern is always about giving the child the nutrients and supplements that will help in their overall growth. All parents wish for their children to be healthy, fit and active. And one of the current health tips across the globe is emerging to be moving to organic foods.
Organic foods are made from organic ingredients and do not have added fertilizers, chemical substances, antibiotics, artificial growth hormones, preservatives or unnatural preservatives.
Organic foods have steadily made it to the limelight in the recent past. This is due to the multiple side effects and disadvantages of genetically modified foods and insecticides, pesticides ridden crops. On the other hand, organic foods have gained importance due to their positive effects on both health and the environment.
The importance of organic and natural foods
Love is natural, so shouldn’t everything we give to our child be natural.
Nature has a seamless way of maintaining balance. Animals thrive in natural habitats and get all their required nutrients from the environment. However, some studies are pointing out how the biology and behavior of some animals may be changing due to the consumption of human food. The natural ecology is affected by what humans grow, eat and throw away. (Reference: BBC News ).
Imagine Benny the Bear is now eating more of the food that humans eat than its natural diet. According to a study, bears eating more human food hibernate less, and also their cells age faster. This is definitely not good news for Benny but think about it. If non-organic and chemical or artificial foods can impact bears, how much can it affect humans, especially children?
Small is big
The smaller the body, the higher is the intensity of the effect from chemicals and toxins. Couple that with the fact that the immunity of babies and toddlers is much lower than adults. With lower immunity, the impact of ills of chemicals can be much higher in children.
Also, we often tend to give little children more fruits and vegetables, such as apples, carrots, etc. Raw foods often bear the brunt of fertilizers and pesticides as against cooked food.
Studies on organic foods that tip the balance
Organic foods are spot on not just for physical growth but for mental development also. According to some studies, pesticides in food can lead to mental problems, such as depression in children. (Source:Pratsmusing) A study by Harvard showed that teens and preteens with high pesticide levels in their bodies also had a higher incidence of ADHD (Attention-deficit, hyperactivity disorder). Similarly, other studies have shown that agriculture chemicals can disrupt the hormonal balance in young bodies. (Source: Yummyspoonfuls).
Organic Foods are packed with nutrition
Because of the lack of proper nutrients in non-organic foods (often supplemented with artificial flavors and chemicals), the cognitive development of the child is at a higher risk. On the other hand, organic foods are packed with more nutritional content in terms of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This helps in various ways, including physical fitness, building a stronger immunity, providing a sharper memory and much more.
Seed the taste buds of babies with organic food
If you have tasted organic food, you would know that it does taste different from the other non-organic foods.
And hence, exposing babies from a young age to the fresh and natural taste of organic foods can help develop a taste for healthy and pure foods through adulthood and life.
The organic way for tweens and teenagers
The growth of a child continues and perhaps reaches a peak during adolescence. Tweens and teens go through many physical, mental and emotional changes as they pass through puberty. They require extra nutrition to help their body see through the drastic changes and this can be attained through healthy eating.
Puberty brings hormonal and physical changes. These changes can be best addressed through pure and organic food as against non-organic and junk food.
Organic-food range - For babies to teens
You can choose from a wide range of organic foods, however, make sure to check the certification before buying. In fact, very good quality imported organic foods are available. They can also add a variety to meals.
For babies who are six months and more organic fruits, such as apples, peaches, strawberries are recommended. If you are not able to find them easily, there are a wide variety of organic packed foods available for babies. You can choose from organic cerelac, organic banana powder, organic cereals, different organic millet and lentil powders including ragi or multigrain porridges. And of course, high-quality imported organic baby foods can ensure both quality and taste. But do check with your pediatrician before starting these.
For older children one of the best sources of calcium is milk. Organic milk comes from cows who are fed organic feeds. Basic foods, such as organic honey, oats and vegetables such as, organic potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers and leafy greens are great choices for a growing up child.
For those who are non-vegetarian, organic meats are also widely available. As children grow and enter the preteen and teen years, the steady diet of foods rich in fiber, vitamins, zinc, protein and minerals should continue. Since children tend to get fussier as they grow, organic pasta, bread, oats, quinoa and brown rice are great alternatives. And of course, there are organic crackers or granola bars that are perfect for snacking in between meals.
The organic world – In it together
Realistically, it may not be possible to protect your child from chemicals in foods all the time. Most of our consumption continues to be non-organic, however, a start and effort merit consideration. Some of the ways to involve kids in the exercise of healthy eating could be starting a small garden in your balcony or backyard.
Take your children to the supermarket and good stores sourcing authentic organic food. Introduce them to local and imported organic products. Explain the differences to your children. With teenagers and pre-teens experiment with recipes with organic foods to add more spunk and sizzle to their dishes.
Love is natural! Choose health, choose organic
Finally, it’s never too late to introduce organic foods into your baby, child or teenager’s diet.
If you can’t find or trust those in the market, it is always better to lean on the best-global brand products too. After all, going natural is any day a better choice than compromising for a few bucks. Also, organically grown or nurtured foods are also in sync with nature and the environment. Thus, switching to organic foods is a win-win for all!