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Eating ‘clean’ for the whole family

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Editor's note: This article was written by contributors at HealthyChild.com for PIX11's The MOMS.

(PIX11) -- When we talk about eating healthy, we often focus on eating real, whole foods that has not been over processed. This is important, but it's equally important to think about the "quality" of the food you are serving your children and family.

Having simple, unprocessed food that does not have unnecessary additives, coloring or sugars is especially important to kids since they are still growing - their brains and organs aren't fully mature and still developing.

When we think of healthy, organic is often talked about. However, it's nearly impossible to always buy organic because of price or availability or both. If you have to make choices about what to buy organic vs conventional, it's especially important to choose produce that has not been heavily sprayed with pesticides.

Every year, the non-profit public health organization Environmental Working Group compile a list of the "dirty dozen" and "clean fifteen." These are the 12 most-sprayed fruits and vegetables to avoid, if you can't buy organic. The 15 least-sprayed are OK to buy conventional if you need to.

As a general rule, if you can't buy organic, avoid thin skinned fruit/produce and opt for those with thicker skin or a skin you can peel such as oranges, bananas, pineapple and in the summertime - melons.

Fruit is always a healthy and satisfying snack or treat. Sometimes fruit isn't convenient if you're kids are running around so dried fruit is a great alternative. When choosing dried fruit make sure to look for no added sugar and sulfate free.

Another great way to use fruit is make smoothies or "ice cream". Banana ice cream using only bananas takes seconds and is super easy.

Coming back to snacks for a second, we know kids are "always hungry".  Sometimes kids want something more "fun" and parents turn to "fruit snacks" as a seemingly healthy alternative. This can be far from the truth.

Many fruit snacks contain artificial dyes, colors and additives.  Read the label and look for ingredients such as red 40, blue No. (need to check colors) and high fructose corn syrup not only on fruit snacks but other snacks as well. A great all-natural dye and fake ingredient free fruit snack and candy is Surfsweets.

Yogurt is another wonderful and healthy food for kids and adults alike. When choosing yogurt and dairy in general, you always want to choose organic or at least "hormone" free. On milk, it is often labeled as "Rgbh free".

For breakfast, instead of fruit flavored yogurt which is often very high in sugar, opt for plain and add your own fruit, granola and nuts and a drizzle of honey.

Remember: if you can't pronounce it, it's probably not found in nature.

For more information and resources, check out Healthy Child Healthy World at healthychild.org