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Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2007 03:54 pm

Healthy baby food

Giving rugrats nutritious food just encourages them

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Giving babies nutritious food will help establish positive eating habits, unlike the one demonstrated here.
PHOTO COURTESY OF GETTY IMAGES
Untitled Document Where does one turn in order to give babies fresh, organic food?

Babies deserve the best possible start in life, so giving them nutritious food is a must, not only for good health but also to establish positive eating habits as early as possible. According to Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, commercial baby foods, many of which are made up of condensed fruits and vegetables, can contain high concentrations of pesticide residues. “A lot of these pesticides are toxic to the brain,” says Philip Landrigan, a professor of pediatrics and preventative medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Citing studies that have linked smaller head circumference and reduced intelligence in babies to in utero exposure to pesticides consumed by their mothers, Landrigan says that it is best not to gamble when it comes to baby food. If you’re not already serving organic baby food, CU urges you to make the switch as soon as possible. A 2005 study ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency measured pesticide levels in the urine of 23 children in Washington state before and after a switch to an organic diet. After five straight days on the diet, pesticide measures fell to undetectable levels and remained so until the conventional diets were resumed. The researchers concluded: “An organic diet provides a dramatic and immediate protective effect” against pesticide exposure. Fortunately for concerned parents, the organic-food industry is growing rapidly, and one result is the availability of a wide selection of organic baby foods in both natural-foods stores and mainstream supermarkets. Some leading jar- and box-based choices come from Gerber, Earth’s Best, and Homemade Baby, among others. Frozen meals from the likes of Happy Baby, Plum Organics, Bobo Baby, and other relative upstarts mix good flavor and fresh healthy ingredients with convenience. Using the power of cold temperatures to keep their foods fresh allows these companies to avoid the use of traditional preservatives. Happy Baby’s frozen meals come in individual cubes in such flavors as “Baby Dahl and Mama Grain,” an organic mixture of bananas, black beans, and quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah). Quinoa, a high-protein whole grain, is considered a complete protein because it contains all eight essential amino acids. Plum Organics offers flash-frozen nutrient-rich organic meals that come in reusable 4-ounce cups in such varieties as “Super Greens” (peas, spinach, and green beans) and “Red Lentil Veggie” (potatoes, carrots, corn, and red lentils). Bobo Baby specializes in organic, kosher and allergen-free flash-frozen baby meals. For parents inclined toward cooking instead of opening jars or microwaving, making baby food from fresh organic ingredients does not have to be complicated or time-consuming. Fresh Baby sells cooking kits, cookbooks, and food trays to help parents concoct and serve the freshest and healthiest baby food possible right from their own kitchens.
For more information: Earth’s Best, www.earthsbest.com; Homemade Baby, www.homemadebaby.com; Happy Baby, www.happybaby.com; Bobo Baby, www.bobobaby.com; Plum Organics; www.plumorganics.com; Fresh Baby, www.freshbaby.com.

Send questions to Earth Talk, care of E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881 or e-mail earthtalk@emagazine.com.
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