One of the scariest things to me about today’s food is when items have genetically modified ingredients. I know many people don’t care and feel like we are improving our food. However, when there are genetic parts of fish put in vegetables to help “winterize” plants and pesticides actually grown into corn, I am leery. For this reason, I find it important to raise “non-GMO kids” and find ways to help toddlers, all kids, and adults eat healthier. And it doesn’t have to be with a giant budget.
Organic and Non-GMO on a Budget
First of all, you should know that I am a firm believer in the 80/20 rule. This means that 80% of the time you do your best, you eat the best you can, and strive for perfection, but 20% of the time you can find alternatives. This gives you and your kids a free pass when you can’t find something or when a food is too tempting to pass up!
– Know the Dirty Dozen If a food is widely acknowledged as being dirty, I am pretty sure it should be avoided. If you have heard of this list, you have probably also heard of the clean 15. I am less than impressed with this list since corn is on it and I know corn is heavily modified. But the dirty dozen is definitely a list to know and have on hand. So strawberries, peaches, apples, potatoes, etc. should always be purchased organic of possible and you’re more likely to be avoiding GMOs in the process.
– Buy in-season & Local This not only cuts down on cost, but it improves the variety in your family’s diet. Also, if you are buying something locally grown that’s organic and/or non-gmo (and no, they’re not the same and no organic does not mean non-GMO) it’s also going to be fresher and more nutritious. Furthermore, if you can’t buy local, at least buy from the country in which you reside. Many countries spray pesticides and irradiate even on organic fruit that enters their borders to keep out bug and germs.
– Garden Even small pots and containers can provide food for your family, and kids that grow their own food are more likely to eat it!
– Find more tips in my post about my Money Saving Meal Plan
Simple Tips for Toddlers to Eat Healthier
– Don’t keep crappy food in the house If it’s not an option your child can’t choose it. So boxed snacks and foods that you know are full of genetically modified ingredients, sugar, and other stuff shouldn’t even cross the threshold of your home. That’s the quickest way to get them out of a child’s diet or to never introduce them. For us, things like goldfish happen in church, but that’s when the 80/20 rule comes into place because otherwise I would drive myself crazy with her diet.
– Always offer a variety Just like adults, toddlers have preferences in what they eat. They may crave something sweet when you give them something salty, but they don’t know how to articulate that and it turns into a food fight. So instead, offer small portions of a little of everything.
– Offer fresh food over packaged first My daughter almost always chooses carrots, strawberries, and oranges over cookies and other unhealthy food and she always has. She has learned to love fresh foods and the natural sweetness they offer. After eliminating truly unhealthy items, you might be surprised how much fresh food becomes the preference.
– When hungry, offer water first This is a simple tip that cuts down on food consumption and all the implications eating more brings including chemical exposure brings. Many times our bodies don’t differentiate hunger from thirst. So having your child drink water and waiting ten minutes before diving into a snack can help your toddler stay healthier and reduce their contact with unwanted food additives!
Check out the Earth Month Blog Hop & Giveaway!
I have an awesome Earth Month blog hop going on throughout the Month of April and is Every Parent’s Guide to being and teaching “green”. It’s all about providing resources and information to teach our children, educate ourselves and others, and just take one step at a time to be a little greener. It doesn’t matter if you are green or mainstream, every little bit helps! Plus enter to win 3 different prize packages! Click the link above for more or go to the giveaway.
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!