I don’t buy organic food for my kids. There, I’ve said it. I feel better now that's out in the open.
I have three sons. One is what I affectionately call ‘a fussy eater’ (or a pain in the bottom at less charitable moments), while the other two are adventurous and enthusiastic diners, both at home and when out and about.
My boys all eat lots of non-organic fruit, veg, meat, milk and the like, all bought from a supermarket. They have eaten the odd harvest of home-grown produce, but really their interest in that bounty is firmly based in the sheer excitement at having seen something, anything, grow from seed.
So does this make me a bad mother? I don’t think so. I have nothing against organic food, and I’m not on a one-woman crusade to remove it from my local shop. I don’t profess to be knowledgeable about organic farming: I know a little but am no expert. I’m not waging an all-out ban, and I do buy organic treats for my kids, the kind that come in crisp packets and wrapped bars and the odd selection of organic vegetables from the reduced aisle.
Here’s what I do know: organic food is expensive and if I were to feed our family solely with organic goodies then we’d all be very thin indeed - our budget simply wouldn’t stretch far enough. My sons get through an awful lot of fruit and veg - it’s rare I can fit the whole week’s supply in the fridge at once, so huge is their addiction.
I’m regularly hot-footing it to the shop to top up on apples, tomatoes, peaches and the like. Today, my little hollow-legged boys ate between them five bananas, two apples, four carrots, half a punnet of strawberries, a handful of blueberries, a pear, two tomatoes, two inches of cucumber, a quarter of a yellow pepper and two florets of broccoli.
And that’s not counting the mushrooms in the pasta sauce they gobbled up, the lamb, milk, pasta, pesto, oats, bread and cheese they also put away.
Oh, and the homemade cake containing flour, eggs, sugar, butter, almonds, lemons and raspberries. Basically they’re eating me out of house and home. Every day is like an extended tale of the Hungry Caterpillar – on steroids.
If I wanted to feed my sons a solely organic diet I’d have to go back to my old 11-hours-a-day office job in order to afford it. And then I wouldn’t get to spend as much time with them. For me, the time we share together is more important. Do I feel guilty about it? Not a jot. The pressure parents are encouraged to feel to feed our precious little ones with organic goods is just another example of where we’re made to feel guilty and inadequate.
It’s time to stop feeling bad about not being perfect parents and instead just endeavour to get our kids to gobble up lots of fruit, veg and other healthy stuff – yes, even the tinned and frozen varieties! After all, a non-organic diet didn’t do us any harm, did it?