What to serve in your child's plate - is it time to go organic?

The focus of what goes onto your toddler dinner plates has never been more topical.

Thanks to wellbeing sites like Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop we’ve all become familiar with terms like 'clean eating' – the practice of consuming whole foods in their most natural state, while excluding processed foods and refined sugars.
 

Great in theory… not so easy when you have a household of fussy eaters and not enough time in the day. But, there are some changes that are easy to implement. Just the slightest of tweaks to your children's plate can benefit the way your family eats, and it all comes down to a different kind of ‘clean’ eating.

Pesticides in Food
Pesticides in food is something that is often brought to the fore during the weaning stage. This is usually because guidelines and cook books often suggest giving your baby organic foods where possible.
 
But which foods should you focus your attention on most?
 
You might have heard of the ‘Dirty Dozen’. It’s an annual list of fruit and vegetables ranked by pesticide tracings, compiled by American non-profit organisation ‘The Environmental Working Group’ (EWG).
 
The alarming study analyses the amount of unwanted pesticides in these produce, so we can make a better-informed choice.

The list (from April 2018), ranked the following fruit and veg in order, with the highest pesticide traces. Worryingly, many of these are popular choices for family meal times.
 
The Dirty Dozen
1.Strawberries
2.Spinach
3.Nectarines
4.Apples
5.Grapes
6.Peaches
7.Cherries
8.Pears
9.Tomatoes
10.Celery
11.Potatoes
12.Sweet Bell Pepper

Commenting on the findings, the EWG warned: “Many shoppers don’t realize that pesticide residues are common on conventionally grown produce, even after it is carefully washed or peeled” adding, “It is vitally important that everyone eats plenty of produce, but it is also wise to avoid dietary exposure to toxic pesticides, from conception through childhood.”
 
The case for organic
While it’s clearly important to have a well-balanced diet, the case for choosing organic foods has never been more compelling. But what is organic food?
 
The Soil Association define organic food as “fully traceable from farm to fork” that is produced using “natural fertilisers from plants, less energy and more respect for the animals that provide it.”
 
The Clean Fifteen
Alongside the dirty list is of course the clean list. These are produce that have the least pesticide residues, as follows:
 
1.Avocados
2.Sweetcorn
3.Pineapples
4.Cabbage
5.Onions
6.Sweet Frozen peas
7.Papaya
8.Asparagus
9.Mangoes
10.Eggplant (aubergine)
11.Honeydew melon
12.Kiwi
13.Cantaloupe
14.Cauliflower
15.Broccoli  

Time to make the switch?
While the debate about organic food continues, the findings from the EWG certainly make a compelling case for certain organic produce.
 
But since a strict organic diet isn’t always the most affordable, even just making the switch to organic produce for the ‘dirty dozen’ is a positive step, especially when dishing out kid’s meals. As the saying goes, it certainly gives plenty of ‘food for thought’, when it comes to putting food on your children's plates.

To learn more, please visit the EWG website. For more, follo @munchyplay on social.

 

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