raisingkidswithlove

You don't have to be perfect to be the perfect parent!

Squeeze pouches…are they a good option for picky toddlers?


squeeze pouch

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.

Cindy

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6 Comments

  1. Ann

    I agree. I give them to my 2 year old only on specific occasions – like when we are on very long car rides or for quick afternoon snacks when we are out & about on the weekend. I just get the small (3 oz) ones from Trader Joe’s that have apple & carrot in them – 60 calories with 13g of sugar. It’s not the BEST thing I can give her, but it’s not the worst either. 🙂 She gets real fruits & vegetables the rest of the time, and only has 2-3 of the packets each week. Moderation!

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    • Absolutely….even cookies and cakes are good in moderation! There is no all or nothing rule in food. 🙂

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  2. I think they are a fantastic way to sneak in vegetables that my 18 month old daughter wouldn’t otherwise eat. We really struggle to get her to eat anything green. As far as being easy calories, that’s another benefit for us. We really struggle to get enough calories in her and every little bit helps. They’re certainly not the best, but better than a lot of things that can be eaten in a grocery cart without a huge mess.

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    • As long as kids see what a healthy plate looks like with real fruits and vegetables…then the occasional squeeze pouch is fine…everything in moderation. 🙂

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  3. Brian D

    You can’t make assumptions for how everyone is utilizing these. Not everyone replaces a meal with these alone. For us, with a 4.5 and 3 year old, it is used to change things up every once and awhile or for when they are being picky or while on the go to forgo a stop at a fast food place. The kids love their regular fruit and veggies (well, most veggies). Don’t be so judgemental over whether everyone is using this for their kid’s main nutrition and adding to the laziness of American parents to provide regular meals. Some see it for what it is, a convenient option that at least provides some basic nutrition. It’s nice having new options.

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    • Thanks for the comment…I appreciate your thoughts. I agree that the occasional use of these squeeze pouches may not be a problem. The are fun and childhood should always include foods that are fun! Occasional treats are a must. I stated in the blog post that I worry about parents who use the pouches as a replacement for real fruit and vegetables for their toddlers. Children need to learn to eat real and fresh on a routine basis!

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