Organic pasta offers an option for health conscious parents, writes Meera Murugesan

THE term “organic” generally means food which is a product of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilisers and pesticides on crops, the use of additives on livestock and genetically modified organisms.

Some research does point to the benefits of such a diet as it is absent of chemicals from pesticides that may affect the child’s developing body and brain.

While hormones and chemicals in responsibly grown non-organic food are small, research suggests that even low levels of pesticide exposure in an extended period of time can affect young children’s neurological and behavioural development. It has even been linked to conditions like ADHD.

Like any parent, I worry about what my child eats but I haven’t chosen to go completely organic where food is concerned.

For one, it’s literally impossible to ensure everything that goes onto her plate is organic because she eats a wide variety of food from different sources.

But I do try to include organic produce in her diet whenever I can, especially for foods that I only lightly cook like stir-fried green vegetables or her favourite foods which she eats often, like pasta. I also limit her intake of processed food or those that are chemically coloured or artificially flavoured.

The case for switching over to a more organic diet especially for kids is strong but as any mother will tell you, children have minds of their own.

DO IT RIGHT

Alce Nero’s Organic Pasta for kids includes dehydrated organic vegetables in its content, namely organic spinach and tomatoes.

As a mum, that’s already a plus point for me because it means I’m getting some vegetables into her meal without her even being aware of it and making a fuss.

It’s alphabet pasta so there are spinach green letters, and dehydrated organic tomato red letters. There’s also another version with “vehicle-shaped” pasta that I thought was really rather cute.

Organic pasta for a healthy meal.

For children, food should be fun (they do like to play with everything) and my 6-year-old loves food that is colourful and which she can relate to.

My daughter loves helping me prepare this pasta for her meal and she naturally plays with the “alphabets” before cooking, making up words she has learnt to spell in school (quite fun for her but I am more concerned about the M.E.S.S).

The pasta cooks well without losing its shape and the Alce Nero Organic Pasta Sauce Basilico that I always use with the meal has a nice robust flavour.

It uses organically grown tomatoes and I like the fact that the ingredient list has just a few simple and easily recognisable things, those that I myself would normally use when making my own pasta sauce.

While my daughter enjoys the taste and flavour of her pasta meal, I feel good knowing that she’s consuming a healthy meal without any artificial flavourings or additives.

At the end of the day, teaching children to appreciate the taste and flavours of real food is the way to go in promoting healthy eating.

A fun and healthy meal.

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