Getting children to eat healthy can be quite the task. By the time you have spent an hour or two listening to your kids say they “don’t like” every healthy food you’ve offered them, it can be tempting to give in to the requested menu of chicken nuggets and Cheetos. Before you break out another box of processed macaroni and cheese, think about the benefits of organic food for your children’s health.
Organic Food Has Fewer Toxins
The processed foods on your grocery store’s shelves are filled with chemicals and preservatives that have shown to be unhealthy for many people to consume, and even traditionally farmed meat and produce has been exposed to toxins. Organically farmed foods are not exposed to pesticides and genetically modified organisms the way other agricultural products are. In some studies, GMOs have been linked to fertility problems, delay in cognitive development, and even some cancers.
Organic Livestock Doesn’t Use Hormones or Antibiotics
Traditional livestock farmers use hormones and antibiotics so their animals will grow faster and larger. The United States Department of Agriculture has strict guidelines about the use of hormone and antibiotics in organic livestock—they can’t be used at all. This is beneficial because eating hormone- and antibiotic-laced livestock means your children are ingesting the same things. The hormones can wreak havoc on the body’s reproductive system, causing early puberty or reproductive problems, and ingesting the antibiotics can cause your children to become resistant to them, meaning they won’t work if ever needed for actual illness.
Organic Farming Doesn’t Use Biosolids
Most people haven’t heard of biosolids, but that’s exactly what many traditional farms use. Biosolids are basically sewage sludge. When your food is grown in or near them, it is exposed to hormones, heavy metals, chemicals, and deadly pathogens.
Organic Foods Don’t Use Irradiation
Traditionally farmed foods go through the process of irradiation, which is a food preservation method that uses radiation from x-rays, high-energy electron beams, Cesium 137, or Cobalt 60. It is sometimes referred to as cold pasteurization or irradiation pasteurization. Irradiation does more than preserve food, though. It also destroys nutrients and can produce unhealthy molecules or radiolytic compounds that could cause cancer.
Chemicals Could Lower Your Children’s IQs
Some studies show that ingesting pesticides and insecticides cause cognitive development problems that lead to lower IQs in those who consume them. These chemicals are neurotoxins developed to kill living creatures. Granted, those creatures are much smaller than human beings, but ingesting enough of the same neurotoxins over time is bound to have some kind of repercussion.
Organic Farming Can Be Educational
Organic farming not only a great way to teach your children about healthy food, but also about the farming process as a whole. If you have space, you can create a small garden at home and have your children help you grow your family’s fruits and vegetables. If you live in an urban area or don’t have the time to take care of a garden, check to see if there are organic farms within driving distance. Many of them are proud to offer tours. Your children will love seeing and learning about the crops and animals.
You Can Involve Your Children in the Shopping Process
Your children may be more willing to eat organic food if you let them help pick it out at the grocery store. Make sure they know that you are only buying items that have a USDA Organic sticker, and then let them help choose your meats, produce, and staples. They could probably even hunt down a treat or two with the label.
You Don’t Have to Give Up Treats
Speaking of treats, one of the best parts of eating organic is that you don’t have to give up your favorites. As more companies realize the importance of ridding their products of chemicals, they are creating organic versions of your favorites. Hamptoncreek is one such company. They offer a range of condiments, salad dressings, and even cookie dough products that are plant-based, organic, healthy, and delicious. You can find them in Target, Walmart, and a range of other stores across the United States.
Children are stubborn, so, of course you can expect a bit of pushback as you introduce healthier food options to them, but by making a game of choosing them—or even by choosing healthier options without letting the kids know—you can rest easy knowing they are healthy and happy. If you start small and work slowly, your entire family could eat 100 percent organic products.