Are you worried that the vegetables you give your child are laden with pesticides? In this article we tell you how to avoid the risks and give your little one the goodness of raw veggies.
By Priya Kathpal
Eating raw vegetables is extremely healthy, even for young children. They make easy, convenient and nutritious snacks.
However, there have been worrying reports in the media about the harmful effects of pesticides and chemical sprays used during cultivation. Because of such concerns, are you wondering if raw vegetables are really good for your child?
If so, the answer is, yes, they’re good, provided you take some simple precautions.
Rampant use of pesticides in agriculture is no doubt a real and growing threat to health. More so for children. As the digestive systems of young children are not fully developed, pesticides may do more harm to babies than to adults. In extreme cases, these chemicals can even stunt the growth and development of a child.
However, the fear of pesticides need not prevent you from giving your child raw vegetables. According to a 2012 report titled, ‘Organic Foods: Health and Environmental Advantages and Disadvantages’, by Joel Forman and Janet Silverstein, and published by The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the potential risk from pesticides in fruits and vegetables is much lower than the damage that can be done by denying young children the benefits of raw vegetables. The AAP stresses that the most important thing for children is to eat a wide variety of produce, be it conventional or organic.
Besides, the Government and various NGOs are trying hard to educate farmers about the need to reduce pesticide use. While we wait for these efforts to take effect, let us see how to make raw vegetables safe for our children.
Also read: 4 Consequences Of A Poor Diet In Toddlers
Here are a few steps you can take:
While raw vegetables cleansed of chemicals are very healthy for children, the right type of vegetables must be given at the right time and in the right form. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Get your child to understand the importance of vegetables by involving him when you go shopping. Discuss the different benefits that different coloured vegetables offer. Encourage him to help you clean and store the vegetables.
Not all children take easily to eating raw vegetables. But you can get over this problem by making an effort to present them in an attractive and fun way.
Here are some ideas:
To sum up, most raw vegetables and fruits have a lot of health benefits, and you don’t need to deny your child these benefits because you fear that the pesticides they may contain could harm them. You can get rid of the residue of harmful chemicals by following some simple steps.
So, make raw vegetables, in the form of salad and snacks, a part of everyday diet, for both you and your child. Once it becomes a routine, it will be a lifelong habit.
The author is a nutritionist and founder of Nutrify.
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