Squeeze pouches…are they a good option for picky toddlers?
Are fruits and vegetables from a pouch the best idea for your toddler?
There are several baby items that I wish were around when my four kids were young. One of the “convenience” items I see so many parents using are the fruit and vegetable “squeeze pouches”. Ingenious and convenient! Squeeze the pouch onto a spoon (you can even get spoons that fit on the end to squeeze the mixture onto…so smart!) and you have a meal on the go for your baby. Baby is the key word…..
The other day I was in Target and I saw a child who was at least 2 if not closer to 3 happily eating his “squeeze” meal with another box of them in the cart for later. Many parents are using these squeeze pouches as meals and snacks because their picky eater toddler will not eat fruits and vegetables. Is there anything wrong with this? Many of these packets are high in sugar, and since they are “fun” and easy to eat, many children can suck down several of these packets a day. Often these calories are not even considered when a parent looks at what a child eats during the day. The way these pouches are “eaten” is much like drinking a juice pouch, the contents are “sucked” coating the teeth which I would imagine would not be good for dental health.
The biggest concern I have with children continuing to “eat” these pouches as part of their everyday diet is that those children miss out on knowing what a “real” fruit or vegetable truly looks like, tastes like, or feels like in their mouth. It is so much better to eat an apple than to “eat” a pouch that mixes applesauce and peas together! Toddlers need to learn to eat and chew solid foods with texture! Toddlers need to know what a healthy diet looks like! Parents often worry too much about forcing toddlers to eat vegetables, it is much more effective to offer healthy foods and allow toddlers to “experiment”. Some days your toddler will love his green beans or spinach, and some days he will shut his mouth and refuse. A pouch of pureed “spinach” mixed with plums may make Mom or Dad feel better, but results in a toddler missing out on the real taste, texture and experience of real food. If a child is continually given healthy options and Mom and Dad set good examples, eventually a toddler will give it a try! (don’t forget a serving size for a toddler is about a tablespoon per year! A serving of those peas is just a few tablespoons for a 2 or 3 year old!)
So, these new pouches are great for infants….so convenient, some are even organic; but in my opinion they can be a hindrance in teaching your toddler what healthy food really is. Real food trumps convenience. What do you think?
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.