Parents always want what's best for their children, but the baby aisle at the grocery store can be daunting! Parents are constantly faced with the question, "Should I go organic?"
Surprisingly organic accounts for only about 4 percent of total U.S. food sales, but organic baby food represents 21 percent of that category. One reason parents look the other way? Sticker shock! In some instances one package of organic baby food costs 45 cents more than non-organic.
For the first time ever, the nations top children's doctors are weighing in on the organic debate. The American Academy of Pediatrics says there are no real nutritional benefits to buying organic. But unfortunately, its not all black and white. So lets stick to the facts. One thing that's proven, a healthy diet outweighs everything.
Dr. Patrick Burke, a Pediatric Hospitalist with Geisinger Medical Center says, "A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains lowers your risk of obesity, lowers your risk of heart disease and lowers your risk of some cancers and that's known."
We also know eating organic reduces exposure to pesticides, chemicals and hormones but Dr. Burke says research on this subject is limited, "When you actually take a large group of people and follow them over a long period of time, we currently don't see those incremental benefits. So the jury is still out."
If you want to reduce pesticides, there are ways to incorporate certain organic foods without breaking the bank. Take a list of the "dirty dozen" with you to the grocery store. These fruits and vegetables are the 12 foods with the most pesticide residue, so for starters trying buying these organic.
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Grapes (Imported)
Dr. Joy Armillay is a nutrition therapist. She doesn't eat organic and tells her clients the same thing. What she does tell parents is to read the label on baby food, "Notice that sugar and salt aren't high on the ingredients list because if sugar and salt are too high than its too processed. It's best to go as close to natural. If you have an orange squeeze it. If you have an apple blend it."
No matter who you ask, they will all agree the more produce you feed your baby the better, no matter how or where its grown. "If I go into my local farmers market and we have conventionally grown apples, I'm going to call that a much better choice than getting that bag of chips from aisle four," explains Dr. Burke.
All the produce on "The Clean 15" bore little to no traces of pesticides, and is safe to consume in non-organic form. This list includes:
- sweet peas
- kiwi fruit
- sweet potatoes
- sweet onions
- sweet corn