As a parent, you want to give your child the best of everything. But do you really need to buy organic fruits and vegetables? Or are there just certain ones that should be only consumed in organic? Here’s the truth – we don’t buy all organic in my house. This is largely due to my personal skepticism over the standards used to determine whether something is organic or not. That’s not to say that I don’t buy any organic. If you are a fruit or vegetable with a thin outer skin, or no outer skin, it’s likely that only your organic cousin will make its way into my grocery cart. This means that I generally buy organic blueberries, strawberries, carrots, broccoli, potatoes and leafy greens. And I only buy organic cow’s milk. I don’t buy organic watermelon, cantaloup, mangos or avocados – they all have tough skins.
Then I came across the Environmental Working Group’s list of the 2012 Shopper’s Guide with their list of the Top 45 Fruits and Vegetables. While it looks like my general rule of “thin/no skin, buy organic” was on the right track, I realized there are lots of fruits and veggies that are hight in pesticides that I wasn’t aware of (grapes and bell peppers are really high in pesticide but cabbage is clean- who knew?).
If you want to buy organic but can’t justify or afford a full organic grocery list, the EWC’s list of the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 is a great guide on which fruits and vegetables you should try to buy organic.
Surya has started a frustrating phase where she thinks that anything which is green and leafy is kale and that she hates it. She wrinkles her nose and says “I don’t like it” and flings the green, leafy intruder to the far corner of the table. If she doesn’t like the offending food, it can’t be on her plate, her placemat or in any vicinity where it may accidentally end up in her mouth.
What she doesn’t quite realize is that she eats plenty of green, leafy foods – including kale. It just happens to be pureed and blended into something else – pesto, soups and other sauces. There’s something about having it whole, the texture of an unwieldy leaf in her mouth that’s off-putting. I get that. So I just find a way to get around it.
What’s your trick for getting your kids to eat their greens? One of my favorite make ahead greens recipes is roasted broccoli with garlic and parmesan cheese. Make a whole tray of it, puree and freeze then toss cubes into sauces and soups or even straight into a pasta or risotto.
Garlicky Broccoli with Parmesan
I mixed this garlicky broccoli into orzo and stars pasta for Surya as early as 9 months. For the adult version, mix in salt to taste and a sprinkling of crushed red pepper.
- 1 head broccoli, florets chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, whole or halved
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Generous sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese
- Salt to taste (option and not recommended for younger children)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the broccoli florets and garlic. Pour the olive oil over the florets and mix well using a big spoon or your hands.
- Spread the broccoli and garlic evenly on a cookie tray in a single layer.
- Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the broccoli becomes a little darkened and the garlic soft.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Return to oven for another 5 minutes or so.
- Puree in a food processor or blender with about 2 tablespoons of water or low sodium vegetable stock. Freeze in ice cube trays.
Copyright 2012 Half Pint Gourmet