A fresh carrot, an apple, or a grain of rice in its natural state is a whole food. It has all of the original vitamins and minerals, plant chemicals (known as phytochemicals), and fiber still intact. A diet of whole foods for your baby provides everything his body needs and offers satisfaction at a deep, physiological level. Eating processed foods can result in a fragmented feeling—a sense of disconnection or deficiency when his body craves missing nutrients. The partial satisfaction derived from eating processed and refined foods often leads to overeating to satisfy cravings.
A diet of whole foods for your baby provides everything his body needs and offers satisfaction at a deep, physiological level.
Processed foods are often canned, packaged, or frozen, including many boxed cereals, crackers, chips, cookies, candies, sodas, and meats. Reading the labels of packaged foods helps develop your food consciousness. Look for foods on the label that you recognize, and if you cannot pronounce an ingredient, it is a good indicator that it is not a whole food.
In the 1950s, processed foods started becoming popular for convenience. Fast food burgers and fries, ready-made lunches, microwavable dinners and cakes in a box have evolved with the support of extensive processing, packaging, and shipping to save time. Whether purchased in a grocery store, restaurant, or fast food establishment, processed foods are often heavily laden with high levels of salt, sugar, and artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives to increase their shelf life. Added chemicals can strain your baby’s digestive system, liver, and kidneys, because his body does not know which artificial ingredients to dump, and which to store, nor how to do so.
It is estimated that the average American annually consumes approximately nine pounds of chemical additives from processed foods. Although tasty at first, artificially processed foods often include calories without much nutritional value
It is estimated that the average American annually consumes approximately nine pounds of chemical additives from processed foods. Although tasty at first, artificially processed foods often include calories without much nutritional value. Flavor enhancers such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) cause the taste buds to swell, increasing their sensitivity to flavors. Chemicals and flavor enhancers like MSG can confuse your baby’s taste buds by introducing more extreme flavors too early in his development. You can help your baby establish sensitivity with his palate by starting with the simple sweet and savory tastes found naturally in whole foods.
American health agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services, are now promoting whole foods. These foods provide the nutrients that help build a strong immune system, while maintaining health and avoiding illness. Providing whole foods for your baby can keep insulin levels low, which helps to keep your child’s weight in a healthy range. Low in saturated fats, whole foods offer plenty of healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, which promote brain development and immunity. They are also high in fiber, which supports healthy digestion and elimination. Whole grains contain B vitamins, which promote deep and restful sleep, something all parents want for their children (and for themselves). In considering all of these preventive health care advantages, the extra time you spend in food preparation can ultimately save on medical bills and illness-related stress.
In addition to their health benefits, whole foods are less expensive than processed convenience foods. Although whole foods require more planning and preparation time, simple recipes and techniques can get your family into a rhythm of cooking and eating easy, nutritious, and satisfying meals.