Organic foods and snacks are becoming increasingly popular since insecticides, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are not used in their production. Organic food is considered to have several benefits that include:
- Containing less or no synthetic fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and pesticides made from chemicals that are known to leave residues on produce.
- Having less impact on the environment as organic farming practices tend to be more sustainable by actively working to encourage biodiversity, conserve water, consume less energy, improve soil quality and reduce pollution. Farms that don’t use synthetic pesticides are more likely to have a variety of wildlife living on the land.
- Being fresher than non-organic produce because organic food doesn’t contain preservatives to increase its shelf life. Oftentimes organic food is grown on small to medium-sized farms, usually by checking the label you can see how far the produce has travelled.
- No genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are used in organic farming, this means that any crop that has had its DNA changed cannot be labelled organic.
- Organic meat and dairy products contain more nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids.
- Animals raised using organic farming practices are not fed animal by-products to avoid the risk of infected meat. Furthermore to decrease the chance of antibiotic-resistant bacteria developing the animals are not given antibiotics.
If you are concerned about how your food is grown or raised and would like to change to an organic diet here are some healthy types of organic foods and snacks that you find easily online or at the store.
When fruit is dehydrated it shrinks into smaller energy-rich bite-size pieces. The various types of dried fruit that you can usually find in any health food store include apricots, bananas, dates, figs, mangoes and pineapples. In terms of dietary benefits, dried fruit contains more antioxidants, fiber and nutrients than fresh fruit as the goodness is locked in during the drying process. An added benefit to dried fruit is that it is easy to store and lasts much longer than fresh fruit.
The health benefits of eating nuts are well-known as they are full of fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, protein and vitamin E amongst other nutrients. The minerals and vitamins in nuts can help to maintain good cardiovascular health, lower cholesterol levels and protect against chronic illnesses.
However, when consuming nuts grown using conventional farming practices you are increasing your exposure to chemicals used in pesticides. Organic nut producers on the other hand avoid the use of chemicals in their farming practices.
Nearly all varieties of nuts can be grown organically such as almonds, cashews, macadamias and pecans. Nuts are a convenient snack or if you are looking for healthy meal ideas then you can always add nuts to many dishes such as salads.
The majority of candy and sweets found in stores will contain artificial colorings and flavours, however organic candy doesn’t. Instead, organic candy is made from natural ingredients that contain more minerals and vitamins. For example, vitamin C gummies are a popular choice as they are convenient to eat on the go.
Just because candy is labelled organic doesn’t mean it is going to be sugar-free so it is worth checking the ingredients carefully if you are trying to cut sugar out of your diet.
It’s a well-known fact that nearly everyone loves chocolate and in recent years it has become easier to get chocolate that is produced ethically and organically. It may cost slightly more but it can be worth it to know the chocolate was produced sustainably and farmers were treated fairly.
As well as a huge choice of organic chocolate bars mixed with fruit and nuts, there are also many other organic chocolate-based treats available such as cookies and mini cakes.
Biscuits and Cookies
Other options for people with a sweet tooth are biscuits and cookies, and there is a large variety of organic cookie brands and recipes you can try at home. For biscuits and cookies to be considered organic all of their ingredients including flour, butter, oil, eggs and sugar should be organically produced. As well as being organic, some cookies are also gluten-free, sugar-free and vegan options.
Organic biscuits and cookies come in a range of flavors to satisfy almost any taste, such as chocolate chip, cinnamon, ginger and peanut butter.
Nutrition bars, also known as protein bars, are an easy way to make sure you get plenty of nutrients if you have a busy lifestyle. Nutrition bars come in many varieties so the ingredients and nutritional values will differ between brands and recipes. Many nutrition bars are made from dried fruit, oats, nuts, seeds and quinoa.
On average a protein bar will provide between 150 and 400 calories, and up to 20 grams of protein although some bars may contain up to 30 grams of protein.
If you are looking to regulate or reduce your sugar intake then it is a good idea to check how much sugar is in a nutrient bar as many have high levels of sugar or sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup. Ensuring you are not consuming any extra sugars will help you reduce the risk of developing a fatty liver, obesity or diabetes.
Three main types of organic beans are grown, dry beans, snap beans and soya beans. Dry beans such as black beans and kidney beans are a staple in many dishes and a good source of vital micronutrients like iron, magnesium, potassium, protein and zinc. Snap beans are the same species as dry beans however snap beans or green beans are eaten when the pod is immature.
Regularly eating beans has some positive health effects including improving heart health, reducing the risk of cancer, preventing a fatty liver and decreasing the risk of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes.
Jam has long been a popular breakfast condiment that is delicious when spread on bread or toast, however, not all jams are organic, meaning they could contain traces of chemicals from pesticides as well as the ingredients including preservatives and artificial food colorings. Organic jam on the other hand is made with natural ingredients and no artificial additives. Some popular organic jam varieties are apricot, cranberry, peach, raspberry and strawberry.
Switching over to a diet that consists of more organically farmed produce is good for animals, the environment and your health. If you are looking for ideas on how to add more organic food and snacks to your daily routine then the types of food above should have given you some ideas.