Organic Orange Frosty For Kids Recipe

From Lisa Barnes

This is a refreshing pick-me-up snack loaded with vitamin C. Sometimes kids enjoy the yogurt and juice cubes on their own, before you can even make the final frosty. If you freeze extra cubes, this treat can be ready whenever your children are.

Makes about 2 cups

¾ cup plain organic whole-milk yogurt
¾ cup organic orange juice
½ cup unfiltered, pasteurized organic apple juice

Divide yogurt among 6 ice cube tray sections. Pour orange juice into remaining 6 sections, and freeze. When frozen, pop out all cubes and place in a blender with apple juice. Blend until combined and slushy.
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See also Lisa’s Crunchy Frozen Organic Bananas For Kids Recipe
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, and Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, and lives in Sausalito, California.
Images Credit: © Iakov Kalinin | Dreamstime.com

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Kid’s Cupcakes – “The Best Ever” (Organic Recipe)

From Lisa Barnes

So last year’s cupcake trials for my son’s birthday did not come out great, as you can read. However I was determined to make him proud this year with a yummy recipe since once again he wanted cupcakes. His sister just had a yummy cake a few weeks prior, so the pressure was on. This year I was ready as I’ve been testing them for client requests and my next book.

This recipe was very well received at home, as my husband and son said “these are the best ever!” But they were also a hit at my son’s preschool. We even turned the cupcake celebration into an activity for the kids. I made the cupcakes and brought in fresh whipped cream, blueberries, strawberries and sprinkles for the children to frost and decorate their own. We had a great time. Of course I did not anticipate the use, make that overuse of sprinkles. I only brought one color but the teacher had a few left-over from Valentine’s. As you can see by the picture above, they all have personality and are unique masterpieces – like the children themselves.

Better Brownie Cupcakes

I call these cupcakes “better” because they are better for you than the usual chocolate cupcakes found at the grocer or bakery. And children (or adults) won’t believe these are wheat-free. Who knew potato flour, brown rice flour, and oat bran could make such a yummy brownie dessert? As my husband says “It still has chocolate in it. Anything tastes good with chocolate.” These are great for packing and sharing as they do not need any frosting so are less messy and easy to tote.

Makes 9 standard-size cupcakes or 18 mini cupcakes (can be doubled)

6 tablespoons organic unsalted butter
4 ounces (1/2 cup) organic semisweet chocolate, chips or chopped
½ cup evaporated cane juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large cage-free organic eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup brown rice flour
2 teaspoons potato flour
¼ cup oat bran

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9 standard muffin cups or 18 mini muffin cups with paper liners.

In a double broiler or microwave, melt butter and chocolate together until smooth and combined. Remove from heat and let cool.

Stir evaporated cane juice, salt, eggs, and vanilla into chocolate mixture. Mix well then stir in rice flour, potato flour, and bran. Scoop by tablespoonful into muffin cups (about ¼ cup for standard muffins and 2 tablespoons for mini).

Bake for 18 minutes for standard muffins and 12 minutes for mini, until puffed but gooey in center. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in the refrigerator for fudge-like texture.
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See also Greg’s Recipes For Kids – Organic Whole Wheat Bread and Chocolate Cookies
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, and Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, and lives in Sausalito, California.
Images Credit: Lisa Barnes
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DooF-a-Palooza

From Lisa Barnes

DooF a what?  Well “DooF” is food spelled backwards.  It is also the title of a new cooking and food show for kids to be launched on public television in 2009.  The show aimed at 6 – 11-year-olds is a fast paced, up beat television series designed to transform the way kids eat by making food fun.  The show has a playful style combining live action, music, humor, animation, cooking and science to entertain young viewers while introducing them to a wide variety of healthy foods and encouraging positive eating habits.

As both a fundraiser and to increase awareness, DooF-a-Palooza was an event that was created by Doof producers and Google food programs for a day of families, food and fun.  This past weekend was the second annual event held in Mountain View, California at Google headquarters.  I was overwhelmed by Google itself and the food programs/service which include over one dozen restaurants and an on-site organic garden.  (And it’s all free to the employees).  Plus they only use produce and meats raised within 150 miles of the their campus.

I was invited as a “sourcerer” – which meant creating a food activity for kids.  Why not go for parfaits?!  It was simple, yet one of the more popular activities with kids and adults.  The big fun for kids was using the fun tongs, picks and scoops to grab and sprinkle fresh blueberries, dried cranberries, and toasted o’s cereal and plop them on top of organic plain whole milk yogurt.  If you wondered what you missed (put it on your calendar next year), here were some of my (and my kids’) favorite activities and foods:

Charles Chocolates – invited kids to “paint” a chocolate lollipop

Strauss Creamery – showed kids how to make butter (by kicking an ice cream maker that looked like a soccer ball.

Blue Moon Organics – showcased their sustainable and local strawberries with strawberry popsicles made by Google chefs (so good!)

Veritable Vegetable– showed kids how to plant their own beans to nurture and sprout at home.  After only 3 days we’ve already got growth!

Hippy Gourmet TV – baked vegan cookies in a solar oven

4H – petting zoo with chickens and goats

Original Google Chef Charlie Ayers – shared the Google pizza oven and let the kids make their own pizza

There were over 2000 people in attendance and everyone seemed to be having a good time. It’s amazing how much fun food really can be.

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See also Lisa’s Shopping With Children
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Lisa Barnes
is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.

Images Credit: Google
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She Takes The Cake (with Organic Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe For Kids)

From Lisa Barnes

So if you read my blog this time last year you’ll be reminded that both my children’s birthdays are in July. Last year was the quest for the perfect cupcake. I had some success and some failures. This year as it approached my daughter’s birthday I asked her what she wanted to choose for her special dinner. She said Thai food. Yes, she is quite decisive and specific for a newly turned two year old. We made plans to go to a new favorite Thai Restaurant without any problems.

Then I asked about the dessert (or as she pronounces “dirt”). I was kind of cringing at the cupcake request, but I lucked out and she said chocolate cake. My husband was happy too as he quickly said how about the flourless chocolate cake. This is such a quick and easy (yet very rich) cake. The recipe is from Gourmet Everyday. I felt a bit guilty since it would not have frosting (just too over the top) so I decorated with powdered sugar. Instead of a simple dusting or using a pre-made stencil, I thought of a way the kids could help. Remember making snowflakes out of paper? I folded a piece of wax paper (careful not to crease) and my son and I used the scissors to cut shapes. When we unfolded it we placed our own snowflake stencil on top and sprinkled the confectioner’s sugar over the cuts. Voila!

My daughter didn’t really notice the decoration. She liked seeing the candle and loved eating the cake.

4 oz. fine quality bittersweet chocolate (I use at least 65% cacao), chopped into pieces
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted organic butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large cage free organic eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with a round of wax paper and butter paper.

Melt chocolate with butter in a double boiler (or microwave) and stir until smooth. Whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Whisk in eggs. Sift cocoa powder over chocolate and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in middle of oven for 25 minutes or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.

To serve, dust with powdered sugar as explained above or sprinkle with cocoa. Goes great with a scoop of  vanilla ice cream.
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See also Lisa’s Easy, Creative Organic Dips For Kids Recipes
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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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Out Of The Garden Pancakes For Kids (Organic Recipe)

child in the garden

From Lisa Barnes

Children who “don’t eat vegetables” will eat these pancakes. They are a filling entrée, a hearty snack, or a side dish for grilled meats.

1 cup organic broccoli or broccoli florets
12 organic asparagus spears
1 cup (6 ounces) sliced organic brown mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped organic onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup expeller pressed canola oil
2/3 cup organic whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon fresh dill weed
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 large cage-free, organic egg
1/4 cup organic milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Place the broccoli and asparagus in a steamer basket set in a pot filled with about 1 to 2 inches of lightly boiling water. Do no let water touch vegetables. Cover and steam vegetables for 4 to  minutes, or until tender.

Put broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, onion, and garlic in a food processor and pulse on and off to chop, or chop by hand. Be careful not to puree. Transfer chopped ingredients into a large bowl and stir in oil, flour, dill, and salt. Add the egg and milk and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Drop batter by 1/4 cups into the skillet and cook until firm on bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn the pancakes with a spatula and sprinkle cooked side with cheddar cheese, if desired. Cook remaining sides until golden, about 1 minute.

Makes about 10 (4-inch) pancakes.

Tip
Adult treats. This recipe can become an adult hors d’oeuvres by dropping batter by tablespoonfuls for bite-size treats. Top these pancakes with a spoonful of baby’s leftover Apple Puree or a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche.
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See also Lisa’s Popeye Puree (Organic Spinach For Kids Recipe)
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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: Rosalind Creasy
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Safely Feeding Babies – 10 Important Tips (plus 1 you already know)

From Lisa Barnes

I see many questions and myths shared about food for babies on parenting websites and blogs.  The ones that are most alarming to me are those regarding food safety and proper food handling, and all the “my grandmother used to_______” (the ______ was something like “put Brandy in a bottle” or “put honey in the cereal”.

Babies usually triple their birth weight the first year. That’s why nutritious and safely handled food, served in an age-appropriate way, is so important.  Being aware of safe food handling practices and potential feeding dangers are the best ways to protect your family from food illnesses and accidents, while also giving your child a healthy start on development and growth. Here are a few important tips and reminders.  (of course you know the final one – that’s why you’re reading it on this blog)

1. Wash Hands. It’s important to wash your hands before preparing food or beverages, especially when feeding babies. According to a Penn State University study of mothers with infants less than 4 months old many moms said they routinely forget to wash their hands after changing baby’s diaper, and using the bathroom. Not washing hands could result in infant diarrhea from the bacteria transferred while engaging in these activities.

2. Handle Bottles Carefully. Although some babies will drink a bottle straight from the refrigerator, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises most babies prefer milk warmed to room temperature. Warm the bottle by holding it under a running hot-water faucet or putting it in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes. Shake well and test milk temperature to make sure it’s not too hot before feeding. Microwaves can heat unevenly. Children’s mouths and throats can be severely burned by bottles heated in the microwave.  Always discard leftover milk in bottle to reduce the growth of harmful bacteria.

3. Cow’s Milk. Avoid serving regular cow’s milk until infants are 1-year-old. Before then, infants may experience an allergic reaction, stomachache and low blood iron. When you begin serving regular cow’s milk, serve whole milk.  Do not switch to lower fat milk until the baby’s doctor recommends this change usually around age 2.

4. Mixing Cereal and Formula in the Bottle. Do not serve cereal mixed with formula from a bottle.  Many think this practice helps babies sleep better through the night, however there is no evidence of this. Plus, there is a possibility of a baby choking.

5. Hold Baby When Bottle-Feeding. Babies who are put to bed with a bottle are more likely to have cavities. This practice also increases the potential of choking.

6. Limit Juice. Serve only 100 percent juice and in small quantities so it doesn’t interfere with the infant eating other nutritious foods. AAP recommends giving juice diluted with water only to infants who are approximately 6 months or older and who can drink from a cup. AAP recommends offering no more than a TOTAL of 4 to 6 ounces of juice a day to infants. (Source: American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition)

7. Avoid Honey And Corn Syrup. Do not serve infants honey or corn syrup during the first year of life. These foods may contain botulism spores that could cause illness or death in infants.

8. Food Introductions. When introducing new foods, try only one at a time, and start with single-ingredient foods. Avoid serving mixed ingredient foods until each food has been given separately. Begin by serving about 1 to 2 tablespoons and then increase the amount as baby wants more. Wait at least 3 days before trying another new food so you can tell if there are any adverse reactions.

Iron-fortified rice cereal is usually the first food offered, as this is easily digested. It’s frequently recommended to continue fortified baby cereal through the first year of life.

Remember your baby will still be receiving the majority of nutrition from breast milk or formula during the first year.

9. Serve Solids Safely. Transfer an amount you feel baby will eat from the baby food jar to a dish. Throw away any food left uneaten in the dish. Avoid feeding directly from the baby food jar. Bacteria from a baby’s mouth can grow and multiply in the food before it is served again. Use refrigerated jarred baby foods within 1 to 2 days after opening.

Once opened, do not leave baby food solids or liquids (breast milk or formula) at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Bacteria can grow to harmful levels when food is left out longer than this.

10. Choking Hazards. Avoid serving foods that may choke an infant, such as nuts and seeds, raw carrots and celery, whole kernel corn, raisins, large chunks of meat or cheese, popcorn, chips, pretzels, grapes, whole berries, cherries, unpeeled fruits and vegetables, hard candies, pickles, hot dogs, marshmallows (regular or miniature), and peanut butter. In general, avoid foods that are round and firm, sticky and chewy or cut in large chunks.

As infants grow into toddlers, they can begin eating the foods above, if cut into small pieces. Most pediatricians advise foods should be no larger than 1/4 inch for toddlers and 1/2 inch for preschoolers.

Plus One…

Finally my continuing tip and philosophy is to serve organic.  Try to purchase organic foods for babies and children whenever possible to reduce exposure to potentially harmful pesticides and chemicals.  According to the US EPA Department of Health and Human Services, the greatest exposure to pesticides and chemicals is in a child’s first 4 years.  See my post Why Organic for Kids.
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See also Lisa’s Introducing Solids To Baby (with Organic Sweet Potato Puree Recipe)
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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: Lisa Barnes (her babies tasting their first food)
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More Wheat Berries Please! (with Organic Wheat Berry and Citrus Dressing Salad)

wheat berries

From Lisa Barnes

I like to experiment with various grains – amaranth, quinoa, couscous, millet (not my favorite) and now wheat berries. I didn’t do much with them because I think they’ll take too long to cook. True some recipes ask for an overnight soak as well as an hour of cooking time. But the recipe below uses the wheat berries al dente – with a bit of texture and crunch. I believe it’s this crunch that makes my son enjoy this salad.

When I was first recipe testing the wheat berries my son wasn’t very interested in trying. However once he knew they weren’t mushy, but actually crunchy – he dug right in and even asked for seconds. My daughter likes them too… although there is a bit of a mess (but better than when I make couscous) under my daughter’s chair. Her pajamas are usually peppered with the little grains.

This salad is good for a family get-together or pot luck, as it will feed 6 – 8 people and can be made ahead. Wheat Berries are high in protein as well as iron and fiber – but there’s no need to tell people it’s good for them.

Organic Wheat Berry and Citrus Dressing Salad

For those children that like crunch wheat berries are an interesting nutty and plump option. They can be enjoyed hot or cold and with just about any dressing, veggies or nuts. Wheat berries can be found in natural food stores and organic markets in the bulk cereal and grain section.

Makes 6 cups

2 cups organic wheat berries, rinsed
6 cups water
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
½ cup organic grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
½ cup Kalamata olives, sliced
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Dressing:
Grated zest of one organic lemon, about 2 teaspoons
Juice of one organic orange, about 1/3 cup
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed organic lemon juice
2 tablespoon minced green onions
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine wheat berries, water and salt in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cover until plump and chewy, about 1 hour. Wheat berries will still be al dente. Drain into a serving bowl.

In a small bowl whisk together, juices and zest and onion. Whisk in olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add prepared tomatoes, olives and cheese to serving bowl of wheat berries and stir with serving spoon. Drizzle dressing over wheat berries and toss to coat.

Go Green! While lemon is not on the “dirty dozen” list as potentially harmful, we’ve suggested organic because we’re using the zest (outside peel where pesticides can be heavy)

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See also Lisa’s Why Organic For Kids?
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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: Grains of Winter Wheat © Alexander Ryabchun | Dreamstime.com
OrganicToBe.org | OrganicToGo.com
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Hos“pitiful” Food

From Lisa Barnes

Until recently I had only been in the hospital for two reasons – the birth of my son and the birth of my daughter. I remember the hospital food to be pretty decent. There were even two menus of food choices. One was a standard chicken, pasta, and sandwiches. The other menu was Asian with jook, noodles and stir fry. I switched up my entree choices, but once I tried the green tea ice cream, I was hooked. I had it with every meal. It was just the right of sweet and smoke and a lovely sage color.

The last night of the hospital stay in the maternity ward was called “Date Night”. There was a special menu including steak, greens and creme brulee for two. A table for two was set in the room with linens and candles. And our newborn was whisked away to the nursery. It really was a nice dinner and the hospital made a big effort to make you feel like you were on a date. I appreciated the uninterrupted meal even more once my husband and I were home with the new baby as we discovered what so many parents call the “witching hour”. This is the time you set your dinner plate on the table and your baby starts to wail (no matter what the hour).

When I found myself heading to the hospital (not maternity ward) this time I thought, “at least I’ll have my green tea ice cream”. I was wrong. Apparently the “healthy pregnant” people get the good food and the sick people get the left-overs. O.K. I wasn’t expecting local sustainable organics but I was shocked to see so many processed foods loaded with partially hydrogenated oils, artificial colorings and flavorings. My full liquid tray consisted of low fat milk (not organic), coffee (decaf, regular, who knows?), Swiss Miss egg custard (a huge list of offensive ingredients), cranberry juice “cocktail” and a bowl of very mushy and gelatinous oatmeal. (see my post for a yummy organic oatmeal option).

I’ve always advocated for children’s developing bodies and brains to get the healthiest organic foods. But shouldn’t hospitals be ground zero for providing and teaching about whole healthy foods? Whether it’s a new life or an older one we trust hospitals to make us better, not add to health problems. I know it’s expensive but so is healthcare. A $3,000 night in a hospital can’t include some thoughtfully prepared veggies, soups, and grains? A hotel couldn’t operate with such substandard food. I guess hospitals know the patients have no choice and it’s not an “amenity”. Food as a necessity means they can cut costs and take short-cuts.

I’m going to need to research. I know I’ve read about some hospitals making a better effort for nutrition and food service. If Alice Waters and Jamie Oliver are increasing nutrition awareness and culinary curriculum for children in schools, who’s doing the same for patients across the country in hospitals?
~
See also The Top Ten Green Hospitals (National Geographic Green Guide)
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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: National Geographic Green Guide
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Mom to Mom – Six Tips on How to Shop Wisely and Save Money when Buying Organic

petitcover.jpg

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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