Posts Tagged ‘organic recipe for children’

The Resident Chef at Kids Konserve

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Kids Konserve has a great new blog from chefs that use their waste free food and drink containers.  Being one of them I was happy to share recipes that work well with their mini stainless steel containers. Perfect for packing snacks and dips, they are easy to pack into a lunch bag, backpack or even a purse.  Check out my recipes on the resident chef page for curry curry chickpeas, cherry almond granola and no-nuts trail mix, as well as other resident chef’s ideas and recipes.  Just in time for back-to-school, be sure to get 15% off your next purchase (valid thru August) with the code “minichef” at checkout.

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Snow or Bust

Monday, January 4th, 2010

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We made it to the snow!  Every year we have plans to go, but someone gets sick or we’re not brave enough to make the drive in a storm (my husband and I have many stories of getting stuck in the snow).  My six year old was excited from the get go.  He was up for it all sledding, learning to ski, eating icicles, catching snowflakes, etc.  My daughter, age three had never seen snow.  I thought it would be quite interesting.  She only wears ballet clothes (whether it’s dance day or not) and does not like long sleeves, outerwear and cold.  I had a feeling I’d be inside with her while my husband and son snow enjoy the great outdoors.  

 

I planned on a game marathon with her and cooking some hearty slow foods.  Whenever I think of snow I think of chili and soups.  Yum!  However, she proved me wrong.  She loved the snow – after the initial shock that it is cold and turtlenecks and snow suits are made for a reason.  She even wanted to go to ski school like big brother.  And we all had too many hot chocolates in the lodge not to have fun.  I have a feeling we’ll be heading up again soon. 

 

I made and brought my white bean and chicken chili for this trip.  It’s an easy make ahead dish for transporting in an ice chest and makes enough for hungry people for lunch or dinner after snow play.  You can make this without the chicken too for the vegetarian skiiers.

 

White Bean and Chicken Chili (from Petit Appetit: Eat, Drink and Be Merry)

The origin of this recipe is from San Francisco Flavors, by the San Francisco Junior League. The original is great, but not many parents with small children have two hours to allow a stew to cook, let alone remember to soak dried beans overnight. The prep time is reduced in this recipe by using canned beans and sautéing the cooked chicken in the spices to soak up additional flavor that would come out from the slow-cooking process. You can reduce your time further if you have leftover chicken on-hand or buy pre-cooked chicken and pre-shredded cheese. This version for busy families takes only 35 to 40 minutes from start to finish.

 Makes 12 cups

 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ (4-ounce) can chopped mild green chilies, or 2 fresh chilies, roasted, seeded, and chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 pounds cooked boneless, skinless, organic free-range chicken (can be left over or purchased pre-cooked)

2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

4 cups organic low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water

2 cups shredded Monterey jack or mozzarella cheese (rBGH free)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

In a large stock pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, chilies, cumin, oregano, cloves, and red pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Mix in chicken and cook for 2 minutes. Add beans and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice.

 Transfer 1 cup of the broth to a small bowl and whisk in cornstarch mixture. Stir cornstarch mixture back into pot, cover, and cook another 5 minutes, stirring, to thicken.

 Add 1 cup of the cheese to the pot and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with remaining cheese.

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Hearty Organic Oatmeal Cut Outs for Valentine’s Day Recipe

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

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From Lisa Barnes

It’s Valentine’s Day and time to make something to decorate for my son’s preschool class. To be honest I’m not very crafty. I don’t draw well (although I like to color), nor do I yield a mighty glue gun or a glitter pen. When it’s my turn to participate it’s always going to be food. I can’t help it – it’s what I know and how I show some creativity. Here’s what I’ll be making for class on Thursday. I’ll bring the plain cookies, then squeeze bottles of icing and some sprinkles and crushed candy canes that the kids can decorate with. Wish me luck. (Especially since my 19 month old will be with me to “help” the big kids). Happy V-Day!

Hearty Oatmeal Cut Outs

This was inspired by my son’s Great Big Backyard animal magazine – with a few changes, sugars, flours and the addition of naturally pink (thanks to cranberry juice) colored frosting. My son brought these to share with his preschool class to represent the letter “H” for hearts. Feel free to use other shapes, but those with less detail (circle, heart, star) work the best because of the oatmeal pieces.

Makes 35, 3” hearts
Icing yields 1/3 cup

1 ¼ cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup organic rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup raw organic turbinado sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted organic butter, melted
2/3 cups organic milk

Icing:

1 cup organic powdered sugar, sifted
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon organic cranberry juice
1 teaspoon organic milk

In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking soda and spices. Stir in sugar, butter and milk until well mixed. You may need to knead dough together. Form into a ball and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place dough on lightly floured surface and roll with rolling pin until ¼ inch thick. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and arrange on baking prepared sheet about 1 ½ inches apart. Bakes about 10 – 12 minutes until golden on bottoms.

Cool completely on a wire rack then frost if desired.

Combine all icing ingredients in a small bowl. Using a small spreader or squeeze bottle ice the hearts with stripes, dots, outlined or covered.
~~
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
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No Yolking Around – Organic Pancakes for Kids Recipe

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

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From Lisa Barnes

Jonathan, a two-and-a-half-year-old, was allergic to eggs but wanted to eat pancakes. His mom couldn’t find a recipe without eggs, so she sent me a request and challenge: Find an egg-free pancake recipe. I couldn’t find one either, so I came up with my own. This allows those not yet introduced to eggs to enjoy pancakes with the rest of the family.

Makes about 8 (5-inch) pancakes: 4 servings

1 cup organic whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup organic milk
2 tablespoons expeller pressed canola oil.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk and oil. Add milk mixture to flour mixture all at once. Stir with a rubber spatula until just blended. If batter is too thick, thin with milk.

Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Lightly grease skillet with cooking spray or melted butter.

For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle or skillet. Cook until bubbles form on top of pancakes and bottoms are golden and set. Flip with a spatula and brown other sides until golden. Warm finished pancakes in a 300°F oven, while continuing to use batter to make more batches.

Tip: Packing pancakes. Pancakes make a great snack for packing and snacking. Make a double recipe and seal cold, leftover pancakes in a zipper bag in your refrigerator or freezer. They make fast, convenient on-the-go finger foods.
~~
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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What Are Those Little Black Things? (Organic Mini Banana Bran Muffin Recipe)

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

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From Lisa Barnes

There’s an important food science question circulating at my son’s preschool… what are those black little things in banana bread and muffins? Most just assume it’s something to do with the overripe bananas. But one of my son’s teachers (and a foodie with a cooking background) says she’s never noticed them in her breads. She even brought me a sample. But now that the mystery has gone on, she and I have made various banana breads and muffins with various results — all tasty but some with black things and some without. Recently I was at a cooking class at Restaurant TWO in San Francisco and asked Andrea the pastry chef. She probably thought I was crazy. She said “I don’t know. I’ve never not had them in my bread”. But then I’ve seen pictures in magazines and cookbooks both with and without the little black things.

I’ve consulted the “big book” too. That’s Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. OChef.com takes questions about “life’s vexing cooking questions”, however, they say due to the volume of questions you’re never sure of a timely answer. He has a mention about ingredients such as blueberries and walnuts being folded into batters and turning colors (such as blue and green) and this is because of the solids in the batter and the distribution (or over use) of baking soda. But these little black things are pretty uniform. So I’m not satisfied with that as an explanation for the bananas.

I’m hoping someone who reads this will know what I’m talking about and might even be able to solve the mystery. Anyone?

Organic Mini Banana Apple Bran Muffins
(from The Petit Appetit Cookbook)

These mini muffins have all the flavor of a big muffin, but fit nicely into little hands. Of course you can also make these in a regular full size muffin pan, just remember to increase baking time to 15 to 18 minutes and check for doneness. Be sure you’ve already introduced wheat and eggs before giving these muffins to baby. This also makes a good use for baby’s extra apple puree.

1 cup organic wheat flour
½ cup organic oat bran
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup (1 stick) organic unsalted butter
¾ cup organic applesauce or homemade apple puree
3 medium organic bananas, 1 mashed (about ½ cup) and 2 sliced
½ cup organic light brown sugar
2 cage free, organic eggs

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease 24 mini muffin cups or 12 regular muffin cups.

With a fork, combine flour, bran, salt, and soda in a small mixing bowl. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in a microwave for 25 seconds on High. In a large bowl combine butter, applesauce, mashed banana, sugar and eggs. Mix together with a rubber spatula. Add flour mixture to applesauce mixture and stir until just blended. Batter will be lumpy and very moist.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling two-thirds full. Place banana slice on top of each muffin. Bake for 12 minutes, or until golden brown and set. Cool muffins in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes before turning out muffins.

Makes 24 mini muffins or 12 regular muffins
~~
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
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A New Sous Chef in Town (with Brussels Leaves Recipe)

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

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From Lisa Barnes

My son and I have always had a fun relationship in the kitchen. From a very early age (really 3 months) he’s been with me while I recipe test. He used to watch me knead dough from the comfort and safety of his bouncy seat at 5 months old. Later when he was about one year old he would sit in his high chair in the center of the kitchen singing and humming while smelling and (sometimes) tasting ingredients such as lemons, potatoes, and apples. Sometimes he would be at my feet playing with wooden spoons and pots. He was very patient and seemed to enjoy himself and our interactions. I made up lots of songs about vegetables and explained what I was doing with each measurement and task. Kind of a cooking show for babies.

I like to think that my kitchen lessons worked, as my son eats well compared to his friends and likes (or used to) help in the kitchen. Up until recently he would help measure, stir, turn on appliances and wait for taste tests. The recently part changed with the addition of a new sous chef – my daughter Ellery. Up until a month or so ago she wasn’t as interested in being with me in the kitchen. Sure, she’ll play with measuring cups and bang spoons, but not for long. She just always wants to eat and likes to scream at the refrigerator – hoping it will magically open. And when it does, boy she is fast. She’s able to get her little hands in and out grabbing produce, water bottles or anything else within reach. Once she has her prize, then she runs and laughs at me to come chase her. Recently she went running into the living room with tomatoes – popping them in her mouth and squealing with delight as they squished down her shirt and across the carpet. My son just said “yuk”.

While baking for the holidays my daughter seemed to notice how my son helps, and now I think she’s trying to take over his position. Literally as he’s standing on his stool, she climbs and forces her way next to him. He yells “no, no!” and she yells “see, see!” I thought “great”, she’s 18 months old so I’ll pull her high chair in and she can watch us. Nope. In the highchair she just wants to stand up. I find myself holding her to do a task and letting her watch. Then set her down quickly when I need both hands or have something requiring heat or cutting. Let’s just say she is not happy during the set down. It’s amazing how much moms can do with a child on their hip.

However, I found an activity that everyone can do together. You’ll never guess… peeling Brussels sprouts. My son and husband prefer to eat the individual leaves rather than the whole head. They come out kind of crisp and light, as opposed to the heavy texture of the whole sprout. Unfortunately it is labor intensive to peel each sprout leaf by leaf. Here’s how I, surprisingly, enlisted help. My daughter and son were eating a snack at the table. I sat with them and started to peel the spouts. I never said anything. My son asked what I was doing and he immediately volunteered to help. Once my daughter saw my son helping she reached over for a sprout too. I gave her one, thinking she would try to eat it then push it away. But she actually starting peeling it. (At this point everyone was whisked away to the sink for extra hand washing). And she was good at it too. Even copying her brother by saying “cut!” when she couldn’t peel anymore and needed more leaves loosened. We finished the job in about 20 minutes and I dubbed them the Brussels Buddies. I hope my new kitchen “line” will have this much fun the next food prep task.

Organic Brussels Leaves Recipe

1 pound organic Brussels sprouts
¼ cup organic extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh squeezed organic lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 375 °F. Line a jelly roll pan with foil.

Cut bottom stem or core of each sprout. Carefully peel away the leaves until it becomes too hard to peel. Cut off bottom core again and peel more layers. Continue cutting and peeling until it is too difficult to peel apart.

Place leaves in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon and stir until all leaves are coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir again.

Spread leaves onto prepared baking pan in a single layer. Cook in oven 10 – 12 minutes or until leaves are cooked and start to crisp with golden edges.
~~
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
Image Credit: BBC Good Food
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Happy New Year! Lobster vs. Pizza – Don’t Ask (with Kid’s Organic Pizza Dough Recipe)

Monday, December 31st, 2007

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From Lisa Barnes

Here’s a photo from last year’s New Year’s Eve at my house. My son was 3½ and my daughter 6 months and yes, we dressed up in silly hats and rang in the New Year at 9 p.m. (East Coast time) with confetti and streamers. I’ve discovered this is what you do as parents with young children, instead of going out to glamorous parties and expensive dinners on New Year’s.

Actually my plan was to do a little celebration with the kids early, and have a nice romantic meal with my husband once the children were asleep. Maybe even rent a movie and stay up and see midnight. This did not happen. I thought I’d make whatever my son wanted for dinner. He loved making pizza dough so I thought he would naturally say “pizza”. Well he replied “lobster”. I’m not kidding. I wondered if I mentioned lobster as a possibility for the later adult meal, but couldn’t figure out how he came up with lobster. O.K. the meal would now be a romantic lobster dinner for 3. Except I wasn’t able to get to the store until 4 p.m. that evening. Note to others (and self) – do not go grocery shopping at 4 p.m. the day of a holiday. Not only was the store mobbed but it was slim pickings. Plus I didn’t want to cook live lobsters. So we supplemented with steaks and called it surf and turf.

We sat down to a lovely dinner, and even had candles and china. My son was thrilled. Of course, my daughter woke up just as the plates hit the table (they always know dinnertime) and I was off to feed and comfort her. So the dinner was enjoyed by a two-some (my son and husband).

I made lobster again this year, as my son is a creature of habit and requested it again. Who can argue? Anyone can bake lobster and melt butter. But here’s a recipe for pizza dough so you can resolve to make your own instead of ordering out in 2008.

Presto Organic Pizza Dough Recipe

There’s no other kitchen activity that’s more fun for kids than creating their own personal pizzas. Kids love to knead dough and choose their own toppings. It is not necessary to have perfect pies, so get your hands in there instead of a rolling pin.

This dough makes pizza, breadsticks and teething biscuits.

1 tablespoon powdered yeast (1 ounce package)
½ cup, plus 2 tablespoons warm water
¾ cups organic whole wheat flour
¾ cups organic unbleached flour
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add remaining ingredients to yeast and water. Mix together and knead by hand for about 3 minutes, until dough is smooth. Make dough into a ball and return to bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled – about 30 minutes.

For pizza: place dough on a greased baking or pizza pan and press fingers to spread into desired shape. Add desired sauce and toppings and bake in a 425 degree preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crust is brown on the edges. Makes one 12 to 14 inch pizza.

For bread sticks: Divide dough into 12 portions and roll with hands into stick shapes of desired width – fatter for soft and thinner for hard. Place sticks on a greased baking pan and bake in a 425 degree preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are golden. Makes 12 breadsticks.

For teething biscuits: Make above breadstick recipe and place in freezer to harden, or a cool soothing treat. Be sure to carefully monitor baby while chewing on biscuits.

Double Time: Double all ingredients to make a thick crust pizza. Or simply make one pizza now and save the second dough ball in the freezer for the next time your little ones ask for pizza.
~~
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
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Sugar, Nuts, Spice and Everything Nice… (Organic Spiced Raisin Nut Mix Recipe)

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

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From Lisa Barnes

Sugar, nuts, spice and everything nice… that’s what holidays are made of. Well you could probably add a few more ingredients like butter, gravy and chocolate. But this Spiced Raisin Nut Mix recipe is a quick and easy one for snacking and sharing during the season.

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Spiced Raisin Nut Mix

There are many variations of spiced nuts. This one is special because of the raisins which give an added crunch, sweetness and chew to the mix.

Makes 2 1/2 cups.

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon organic evaporated cane juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 organic egg white
1 1/2 cups organic pecan halves
1 cup organic golden raisins

Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly grease with cooking oil.

Heat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl combine sugar, salt, cinnamon and cloves.

In a seprate small bowl beat egg white until frothy. About 30 seconds with electric mixer.

Add spice mixture to egg and stir with rubber spatula to combine. Stir in pecans and toss until evenly coated.

Spread nuts on baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in 5 minute increments, rotating pan 1/4 turn and gently stirring pecans (so they do not stick).

Bake 15 – 18 minutes total or until nuts and raisins are browned, but not burned. Remove from oven and cool completely before eating.
~~
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddlerand lives in Sausalito, California.
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Easy, Creative Organic Dips for Kids Recipes

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

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From Lisa Barnes

Sometimes it’s hard to think of creative dips and spreads to excite your children. Don’t worry; whether you have an arsenal of dips or none at all, your child will use his imagination and come up with the craziest combinations.

Here are a few fun and easy suggestions that require no measuring or recipes.

Single Item Dips

Cream Cheese. Dip raw organic vegetables such as carrots and celery as well as fruit slices of apples and pears. Also a versatile spread on sandwiches, wraps, and crackers.

Fruit purees, such as apple, peach, and pear. Use for dunking chunks of fruits, pancakes, waffles, and chicken bites.

Mustards. These are very versatile. Honey mustard (do not give honey to babies under 1 year) is of course a favorite for chicken, meatloaf, broccoli, and cauliflower trees. For an Asian flair your child may enjoy mustard with soy sauce for dipping noodles, vegetables, and tofu sticks.

Naturally brewed soy sauce (tamari). Little ones can dunk meats and vegetable chips or pour the sauce over soba and rice dishes.

Organic ketchup. Have on hand for meats, fish sticks, polenta, potato fries, and vegetable chips.

Organic natural nut butters (peanuts are not recommended for children under 2 years). This is pure peanut taste without the trans fats and sugars. Use for dunking cheese sticks, apple slices, graham crackers, and bites of banana.

Vegetable purees, such as avocado, edamame, or spinach. Use as spreads on pitas, tortilla chips, and for dipping vegetable spears.

Yogurt. Serve with angel food cake pieces, toast points, waffles and pancakes, fruits, and vegetables.

Combination Dips

Classic oil and vinegar dressing. Use for dipping pieces of bread or steamed vegetables.

Cottage or ricotta cheese plus any fruit or vegetable puree. Dunk fruit and vegetable pieces, noodles, pancakes, and French toast.

Plain yogurt or cream cheese mixed with spices or herbs. Try yogurt with cinnamon or cream cheese with fresh rosemary or thyme.

Plain yogurt plus any fruit or vegetable puree. Create your own flavors by adding fruit and vegetable purees. Fruit blends work with fruit chunks, vegetable spears, toast points, and waffle pieces. Veggie combos are good for dipping vegetable slices and chicken pieces.

Ideas from Kids

Dip grapes in ketchup.

Dip fingers in mustard.

Dip all food in glass of milk or water.
~~
Lisa Barnes
is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.

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Mom to Mom – Six Tips on How to Shop Wisely and Save Money when Buying Organic

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

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From Lisa Barnes

Some moms I’ve spoken with say they don’t or can’t buy organic foods due to cost and availability. Here are a few ways to make organics more affordable and easy to purchase:

1. Do not always assume organic is more expensive. Look at the prices of conventional and organic products and compare. You may be surprised that on some items, there is little or no difference in price, depending on where and when you buy.

2. Buy in season. These items will be the lowest priced, whether you’re shopping at a specialty market or local farmers’ market.

3. Grow your own. Even a small window box can yield some organic herbs or tomatoes. Larger areas can accommodate lettuce, strawberries, broccoli, carrots, and more. A garden is also a great classroom and hobby for children and adults alike.

4. Shop at one of the more than twenty-five hundred farmers’ markets in the United States. The produce here is as fresh as possible, because the food is usually picked within twenty-four hours of your purchase. This is a great place to check prices with little effort. Becoming a regular shopper and getting to know growers personally is a good way to get the best selection and price.

5. Join a food cooperative. A food co-op is a kind of buyers’ club for affordable, fresh, local organic and natural products. It is an actual store where members buy shares of the business to provide the capital necessary to run the store efficiently. You as a member directly influence the kind and variety of products and foods available and also receive a discount in the store. Many co-ops allow you to buy shares by volunteering several hours per week or month.

6. Visit a farm and pick your own produce. Children love to experience something new, especially when it involves dirt and food. According to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), “Parents had reported that their children started to eat more vegetables after visiting a farm on a school field trip, having experienced for the first time the process of gardening.”

Justifying Expense

Eating is an agricultural and political act, as well as a way to educate your senses. ~Alice Waters

Even though you’ve shopped wisely and used the tips above, sometimes organic is more expensive. The cost of converting land, growing methods, and raising practices from conventional to organic is expensive. Consider the cost of health and well-being, as well as a decision to support the environment, preserving water resources and preventing agriculture-related problems. The extra cost may outweigh the worry and concern you have of the possibility of harming your family and the environment.

I can’t be sure that organic foods are better for my family’s health. But to me the organic practices just make sense. Why wouldn’t I do my best to avoid feeding my son chemicals and pollutants? ~Two-Year-Old Derek’s mom

Reducing Health Risks

Buying organic reduces health risks that can be attributed to commercial pesticides and herbicides. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60 percent of all herbicides, 90 percent of all fungicides, and 30 percent of all insecticides as potentially cancer causing. No matter how well you wash certain fruits and vegetables there are still remaining traces of potentially harmful chemicals. A report released by the Environmental Working Group entitled Pesticides in Children’s Food concluded that the greatest contribution to a person’s lifetime risk of cancer from pesticide residues occurs during childhood. Babies’ bodies are much more vulnerable to pesticides because their brains and immune systems are still in a state of development. Also, pound for pound, babies eat two to four times more fruits and vegetables than adults, and thus are exposed to a higher percentage of possible contaminants if eating conventionally grown produce.

Increasing Health Benefits

A study at the University of California, Davis (my alma mater) shows that organically grown strawberries, corn, and blackberries are richer in cancer fighting antioxidants, sometimes 60 percent more, than the same conventionally grown crops. Other studies have proven the same for organically grown peaches and pears, too.

Researchers theorize that organically grown plants may produce more antioxidants because they have to work harder to fight off pests and disease otherwise killed by pesticides and chemicals.

Reducing Nitrites

Some fruits and vegetables you’ll want to introduce to your child have high levels of nitrites, due to the fertilized soils in which they grow. The nitrite levels also increase when these food items are stored in your refrigerator. Nitrites are difficult on a baby’s system because their stomach acidity is too low to properly break them down. Overexposure can cause anemia or encourage oxygen to be displaced into bloodstreams, resulting in rapid breathing and lethargy. High nitrite produce includes beets, cantaloupe, carrots, green beans, mustard, spinach, strawberries, and turnips. Buying these items grown organically and eaten fresh, without storing, will lessen exposure. If you choose to buy these foods commercially grown, wait until your baby is over eight months old so they can better process the nitrites. Or you can buy these foods in commercially prepared jars, since baby food companies can screen their produce for nitrites.
~~
Lisa Barnes
is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.

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