Is Organic Food The Best Option For Kids’ Health?

Kids eating organic food

Is organic food really the only way to go to give our kids the best tasting and healthiest food? While it may be true that organic food will give you a way to keep questionable pesticides away from your kid’s food, it can be expensive. For many parents, making a choice between organic food and conventionally raised or grown food can mean giving up other needs for the family. But with kids that have been known to lick other kids, probably kiss the dog, and eat anything they find on the floor, just how much difference does feeding them organic food really make?  Does everything they eat need to be organic food?

Choices For Kids Eating Organic Food

To begin with, recent studies have shown that eating organic food doesn’t mean you are getting more or better nutrients over conventionally grown or raised food. Slate recently did a wonderful overview of this finding. If you need statistics, they can lead you to them. But many of us already had our suspicions this may be true. Secondly, this isn’t an argument against the environmental benefits of growing organic food. There really is no question that reducing the amount of pesticides we introduce to the planet can be a good thing. And that includes not wanting to introduce those pesticides into our own family’s life-cycle. But not all foods we eat need to be organic, because we don’t eat all foods the same way. They also aren’t all grown the same way. Here is why.

Avoiding The Dirty Dozen

In truth, how fruits and vegetables are raised and exactly which type of pesticide is used traditionally on them is a huge factor. A recent study in the Journal of Toxicology unveiled that it is the amounts of both organic food and conventional pesticides that matter, and that these differ from plant to plant. The Environmental Working Group has looked at this study and released its list of the “Dirty Dozen”. These are the fruits and vegetables you should definitely buy organic food. The rest you can call as you see fit or can afford. Here is the list, with #1 being the most toxic:

  1. Apples
  2. Peaches
  3. Nectarines
  4. Strawberries
  5. Grapes
  6. Celery
  7. Spinach
  8. Sweet Bell Peppers
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry Tomatoes
  11. Imported Snap Peas
  12. Potatoes

The EWA has made a list of 48 fruits and vegetables that contain the highest amount of pesticide residue. This list is according to the numbers released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration. You can check their report here. Meanwhile, if you don’t see what you want to buy on this list, you can probably save a bit on the budget by buying conventionally. And don’t forget that any fruit or vegetable that you peel before eating, such as the kid-friendly banana, is safer to buy non-organic food because we don’t eat the part that is sprayed. While we all want to keep our kids safe and do our bit to protect our environment, everyone’s budget only goes so far. Why not put our money where it will do the most good?

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