Pureed Food Pouches = Not for My family

I read a tweet earlier this morning from @biculturalmama and @pregnancyorg talking about those trendy pureed food pouches you can buy and see kids sucking down.  See article here: http://www.pregnancy.org/blog/food-pouches-for-kids-good-idea-or-lazy-parenting

The article talks about how many parents use these pouches to ensure their toddlers and young children eat balanced meals.  First, I would have to say – yes these products are geared toward very young children. I cant imagine sucking on one of these bad boys in a Jr High environment. But perhaps times have changed.

Yes, I agree that great nutrition is something that you should strive for. In the age-0ld battle of “eat your vegetables, or else…” teaching your kids to eat real food, not pureed, is a way to teach so many other things.  I also understand life is chaotic, as the mother of 3 rambunctious boys, chaos can reign supreme at our house.  During chaotic moments, throwing things into a backpack and running out the door requires extreme portability for snackage.  But I have an issue if these food pouches become a staple of the everyday.  We should not have to trick our kids to eat well.  We should strive to to encourage an appreciation of a healthy life which includes great food.

Food Should Be Real

Food should be real.  Food is more than just taste. Food is a cacophony of texture, taste, color and smell.  In order to teach your children to appreciate the variety and literal spice of life, they need to see those different elements, which is hard to do when the food comes inside a little pouch and is sucked down while running from one place to another.  If the child is used to ‘drinking’ their snacks or meals, will they return to real carrots, peas, spinach, apples and oranges when they are making their own lunches? Will they reach for an orange, orange juice, or orange soda after a squeezable/drinkable precedent has begun?

Food Takes Time

The preparation of food takes time. Sometimes time is what we don’t have.  Cooking anything, is a labour of love. Sitting around a dinner table was a big important deal to my family. It was where we could talk about our day, things we read in the paper, back when it was printed on paper.  We also packed our lunches for school, daycare the night before, but together.  Mom would cut the carrots and I would bag them or something like that.

The new big thing in business right now is to hold “stand-ups” or regular, daily meetings with your staff.  This is a way to check-in, make sure everyone is working on the right projects, can get answers to questions and most importantly, put everyone on the same page.  Why should we treat our family, our children, any less important than our co-workers?

Food is Tradition

Perhaps my visceral reaction to this story and this product is the tradition element.  I like techno gadgets as much as the next person, and love the functionality of my tablet computer, but I some days I  mourn paper. I enjoyed the quiet times with my mom, packing lunches and learning how to cook.  Now I enjoy when the baby runs to bring me the peanut butter for sandwiches, or the older boys help build the salads for dinner. Soon they will be my sou chefs, prepping the food. I enjoy building that legacy with my boys.

Strategy and Planning Can Fight Chaos

I understand life can be a little nutso. When life happens, it’s WAY easier to grab something pre-packaged and run with it.  But, many of these emergencies can be preempted with a little planning.

  • Cut up the veggies and pack lunches the night before.
  • When cutting apples for lunches the night before, reassemble the apple with a heavy rubber band you save from the lettuce at the store – its a no preservative way to prevent browning
  • Add bananas to your PB sandwich, healthier than jelly. (Elvis LOVED this, and frankly so do I)
  • Include snap peas or other interesting foods to supplement or replace crunchies like chips
  • Buy pre-cut, whole fruit from the store
  • For adults, make meals with left overs, then package them in to-go containers for work.
  • You can pack a weeks worth of salads on a Sunday night, keep dressing at work or bring a small, separate container.
  • Garden, when the kiddos see where carrots, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes and zucchini come from – its easier to get them to eat it.

We all have a battle taking place, and its one that I struggle with, how to keep kids eating healthy and active.  What will you do to help win this particular war?

Another really interesting article on food pouches: http://www.shapingyouth.org/?p=15696

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