There is a lot of debate surrounding organic food products and that has been for a long time. Recent surveys have shown that parents are no longer as limited to certain price points as they once were and are beginning to recognise more of the benefits which come from feeding their family organic foods. They are willing to pay a little more in order to provide their families with the highest quality produce and healthier mealtimes.
The counter-argument will state that the organic industry is just interested in increasing its profits, but the truth is that buying organic goods, when you both want to and can afford to, is one of the best choices you can make for your family, and children especially.
One of the reasons as to why organic food is so important for children is that it helps children to recognise and acquire a taste for real foods - foods which are free from additives and unnatural flavours. This, in turn, then helps children appreciate natural flavours and textures, which is invaluable as they grow.
Why is it important to introduce children to organic foods?
Choosing to introduce your children to organic foods from a young age will help their tastes and preferences develop much faster. If you introduce organic fruits and vegetables to your baby at weaning age, then the tastes and textures will be much stronger and easily identifiable - which weaning babies love. Baby-led weaning is a great way to introduce new flavours and fruits and vegetables to your baby, all at their own pace - just be sure to invest in a weaning bib to avoid mess!
Choosing organic foods will also help you to avoid additives and preservatives, which have been shown to have effects on behaviour in children who are particularly sensitive to them. A whole food diet is always a good choice if you worry about the additives and sugar content in foods.
Organic foods and picky children
All children are fussy eaters at some point, it’s completely natural. However, trying to get your children through this phase can seem difficult. Talking to your children about the fun and joy in trying and eating a range of different foods and foods which aren’t “boring” will be much more effective than simply telling them to eat foods because they are good for them.
Instead, encourage them to be good eaters and how there is a whole world of foods out there for them to discover which are full of flavours and experience. This will only encourage them to become more interested in foods that they haven’t tried before and, as organic foods are richer in taste, will likely be more memorable. Getting children involved in food preparation and choosing what to have at mealtimes will make them more interested in trying certain foods.
Take them along to the supermarket or, even better, a farm shop, and let them pick out a new fruit, vegetable or herb each week to keep them interested in exploring new tastes and textures. If you want to slowly introduce new foods, then add them into favourite foods or dishes - extra vegetables added to lasagne or pasta sauces are almost unrecognisable.
Packing nutritional and interesting school lunches
When it comes to school lunches, the packed lunch can be a minefield. Many schools actively encourage healthy dinners and snacks, but finding fun and interesting choices which actually taste good to children can be tricky. When introducing healthy and organic foods to children, keep your cupboards and fridge well stocked with options that are tasty, nutritious and approved for school packed lunches. It can be tough for parents to make choices when it comes to school lunches, as often children will see their peers eating sweet treats and snacks and will want those instead.
Adding healthy choices is all about compromise, so it is important that children get some things which they see as a treat, but also that as a parent, you feel confident in them having. Things such as homemade organic granola bars are great, as children can pick and choose what goes into them.
Building healthy routines for your children
Routine is key when it comes to making changes. Children respond well to having structure, especially around their foods, so setting mealtimes and understanding what will be going into their school lunches. When introducing new and organic foods to them, teach them a little about where the food has come from, or what has gone into making it. Children will soon become appreciative of what they are eating.
Written by Natalie Wilson
About the Author
Natalie Wilson is a freelance writer with a particular focus on sustainability and eco-friendly living. Whether you’re looking for a new meditation method or some facts on plastic pollution, she’s your girl! When not writing, Natalie can be found heading to the gym or walking her dog. You can connect with her on Twitter @NatWilson976.
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