I am a firm believer in the idea that we are what we eat. The food we feed ourselves and our families has long term consequences to both our own health and the health of our planet. Most of the food on grocery store shelves is very far removed from its original source. Sprayed with chemicals, transported half way across the world, processed beyond recognition and devoid of many natural nutrients. The Standard American Diet is lacking in a lot of ways. Feeding organic food is a vital step in improving our health and reducing our carbon footprint. However, feeding organic food has its challenges. Every stage of our children’s lives is different in terms of the food they eat and the difficulties we face in getting them to actually eat what we want them to. I thought I would share a few tips for feeding organic food to your children all the way from infancy to those difficult teen years!
Feeding Organic Food from Infants to Teens
Feeding Organic Food to Infants
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It is relatively easy to feed organic food to infants since parents have almost complete control over their diet. When your infant is transitioning into solid foods, start searching the store shelves for organic baby food. Your baby’s taste preferences are being formed even at this early age so teach them healthy eating habits right away. The introduction of a wide variety of flavors, textures and ingredients will guide their preferences for healthy food as they grow up. Provide a well balanced diet rich in whole, organic foods as early as possible and try to include a rainbow of natural colors!
While their taste buds may be developing already, keep in mind that babies don’t automatically love every food you give them. Don’t give up! Keep offering them new foods every single day and they will learn to love them! Plum Organics® has a wide variety of products for babies, toddlers, and young children. All products contain organic food made with simple ingredients that are tucked inside a sustainable package.
If your child attends daycare, playgroups, mother’s morning out, or other baby sitting programs, make sure you bring your own organic baby food so you know exactly what they are eating. Plum Organics pouches are easy to pack in a diaper bag for easy transport. No more worrying about whether those tiny glass jars will break if you accidentally drop your bag!
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Feeding Organic Food to Toddlers
The key to feeding organic food to toddlers is to model good behavior. Toddlers are like tiny little sponges. If they see YOU eating potato chips and soda, that is what they will want to eat. Sit down with your toddler at meal time and enjoy quality (and messy!) time spent together. Toddlers are notorious for wanting to do things for themselves so provide organic bite sized foods that they can eat without assistance. Keep in mind that toddlers are stubborn creatures and they may resist your attempts to feed them organic food on a daily basis. Be persistent and firm. Feed them foods rich in flavor and texture from all of the food groups every single day. My biggest pet peeve is the phrase “kid friendly food.” Kids will eat what they learn to eat from their parents so model good behavior and they will learn to enjoy a rainbow of flavors! Start an organic garden and let your toddlers help grow the food they eat for dinner. Don’t serve pizza and chicken fingers daily just because it is easier.
Feeding Organic Food to Young Children:
The key to feeding organic food to young children is to completely avoid the school lunch program. Honestly, that is my number one tip for feeding your school aged child an organic diet. Pack organic foods in their lunch boxes that you know they enjoy. With the popularity of organic food growing every day, most ‘traditional’ foods have an organic counterpart. Peanut butter can be organic and natural or it can be loaded with fractionated palm oil and high fructose corn syrup. Become a label reader and pack a lunch that will nourish their bodies and minds for the entire school day. When your young children are at home, make sure your pantry is stocked with organic and natural foods that are easy to grab and go. Pack snacks and drinks when you go out so you are not forced to hit the vending machines where you will rarely find organic or natural foods. Remember to TALK to your children about your food choices and explain how our food system works. Have them help you cook a meal or prepare a snack. You will be amazed at the lessons they learn without you even having to work hard at it!
Feeding Organic Food to Teenagers
When you are attempting to feed organic food to teenagers you must keep in mind that you have very little control over their diet most of the time. Once your teenager has a driver’s license and a job, they can pretty much go out to the drive through and feed themselves. Here is where those years of talking to your children will hopefully pay off. Continue to discuss with them the health problems associated with artificial ingredients without sounding too ‘preachy.’ You will need to find a balance that works for your family when it comes to ‘treats’ versus everyday eating. In my house, everyone gets to pick one ‘junk food’ item per week as a treat. Since the appetites of teenagers are big enough to put me into bankruptcy, I choose a variety of organic and non organic but healthy foods to stock my pantry with.
Feeding organic food can be challenging but the health benefits make it worth the effort. Learn how to save money on organic food and pledge to start buying a few more organic food items every week!
What challenges do YOU face when feeding organic food?
Baby’s Best Start Sweepstakes
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This post has been sponsored by Plum Organics but all opinions expressed here are my own.
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.