As a parent or guardian, you want the best for your child. Whatever falls within your budget (and even sometimes outside of it), you want your child to have the best upbringing you can offer, attend the best schools, wear the best clothes, and have the best time they can throughout their childhood. But what about wanting your child to have the best food?
Of course, you never let your child go hungry. But are the multiple fast food trips per week and after-school cookies and soda helping your child developmentally or is it hindering his or her growth and health? Is processed, non-organic food the best for your child?
This month, we’ll take a look at why organic foods can be a better option for your kids.
Organic vs. Non-Organic Foods
To understand why organic food is better for children, we first have to compare non-organic and organic foods.
What Does “Organic” Really Mean?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), organic produce that is certified by the USDA includes fruits and vegetables grown without prohibited substances, such as most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. In addition, organic foods are not grown or handled using genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Organic meat is classified as meat from animals who are raised within their most natural habitats and living conditions. They are not injected with drugs, hormones, or antibiotics. For example, an organic chicken is one that is fed certified organic feed (without animal byproducts, GMOs, and pesticides or fertilizers), has outdoor access (though a pasture-raised designation is ideal), and must be raised organically no later than two days after hatching.
The organic classifications and certifications become even more granular with multi-ingredient foods.
So Non-Organic Foods Contain What Now?
Now that we know how some organic foods are largely classified, we can conclude that non-organic foods are grown and processed using synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and genetic engineering. In some cases, the use of sewage sludge as fertilizer and irradiation to kill mold, insects, and bacteria are also used in conventional food farming and processing.
While studies have shown that non-organic foods have similar nutrient content to organic foods, organic foods seemingly also have a much higher percentage of antioxidants than non-organic foods. However, the chemicals and other substances used to grow and process non-organic food is where issues could arise for your children.
You live among many synthetic pesticides and chemicals each day—in your home and in the air you breathe—and there is often little you can do to avoid some level of exposure for yourself or your child. However, you can control what you eat, so it’s important to understand what you’re buying.
Keep in mind that organic foods still have chemical residues, albeit natural ones. No food is completely free of them. It’s the synthetic chemicals used in non-organic processed and frozen foods, as well as produce and meat that are of most concern, especially when it comes to developing children. While studies claim that levels of these synthetic chemicals are low on non-organic foods, the toxicity and long-term consumption of or exposure to these chemicals can cause endocrine disorders, result in reproductive problems, and disrupt neurological functions, among other problems. The risk is higher for infants and children who are still developing their immune systems and are exposed to more chemicals than adults because of their size.
For these reasons, opting for organic foods whenever possible is ideal. Children who eat organically have lower levels of pesticide residues thus have a reduced risk for mental and physical complications down the road.
Cresthill Academy’s Commitment to Organic Nutrition
At Cresthill Academy, we take a well-rounded approach to child care and development. Not only do we understand the importance of engaging and teaching children using a variety of pedagogical methods, we also focus on the health and wellbeing of the children who attend our daycares.
Every day, our children eat organic meals that are catered by Purely Plated. The team comprises knowledgeable chefs who prepare organic meals from scratch each day to ensure children receive the most nutritional value out of each meal. What’s more, we are able to offer fully prepared heat-and-serve meal kits and single-serving portions to our busy families, which can be ordered here.
To learn more about our daycare and why we are committed to serving only organic meals and snacks, contact Cresthill Academy today and schedule a tour. We’re New Jersey’s premier child day care and preschool, and we offer a variety of programs for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners. We operate five convenient and centrally located locations, which include Harrison, Hoboken Uptown, Hoboken Downtown, East Hanover, and Lyndhurst, New Jersey.