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Baby Food Pouches: The good, the bad, the ugly.

Blog post

PS: We’re not judging, every mom tries her best every day!

It’s difficult to believe that baby food pouches only came around about 10 years ago. These baby food pouches became insanely popular, fast. I see pouches everywhere: they take up at least 25% of shelf space on the baby food aisle. In 2018, the New York Times reported that baby food pouches account for a quarter of the baby food market, probably much more by now.

If you’re a parent, we probably don’t have to justify why pouches became so famous in the eyes of small kids: they’re so convenient. Apart from the fact that kids really like them, pouches require no prep, feeding, refrigeration, mess, and no clean up whatsoever. They’re easy to carry along for those in-case moments: snack or meal, tantrum stopper or distraction. They’re easy to store, easy to eat, and given that so many of them are organic and/or contain healthy fruits and vegetables, they’re really easy to have around. 

Although there’s concern about the overuse of pouches, it’s really not helpful to judge parents about how they feed their kids. Even though purees in pouches aren’t an adequate replacement for fresh fruit and veggies, they still have a decent amount of nutrition, so they can provide vitamins and minerals. If you have a choice between sweets or a pouch of baby food, definitely opt for the pouch!

Pediatric feeding experts say that there’s nothing wrong with giving your kids pouches every now and then, but they’re concerned that some families can become too reliant on them. 

Pouches can be very helpful for parents with disabilities, or for those who have limited time for food preparation. Other parents find that pouches are the most realistic way of getting fruits and veggies into their kids’ diets. The pouches can also benefit children with special needs or that have problems with swallowing.

Over reliance on food pouches can actually be quite problematic. Here’s why: 

They don’t teach babies and children about food, flavours, textures and chewing.

Each mealtime presents a learning opportunity in more ways than one.

Eating, whether it’s by hand or spoon-feeding, requires using fine motor skills, coordination, and specific oral movements. It’s an exercise that offers a variety of tactile experiences, from the texture and temperature of the food, to how it sounds when it’s being chewed or rolled over their tongue. Eating is an actual activity, which makes sucking from a pouch quite passive. It is a lost learning opportunity. 

Eating is a sensory experience, and this is another area in which pouches come up short. Babies and toddlers who are learning to eat, take in everything about the mealtime: feeling, seeing, and watching you eat. With food pouches, all this is essentially lost. Children can’t even see what color their meal is, can’t smell it and don’t feel any textures. 

Pouches mask real flavours.

The weaning period is critical for learning about foods, and learning to like them! When toddlers don’t have experience with actual vegetables, they may be less likely to eat them later on. In other words, date-pear-spinach pouches won’t help children learn to love the taste of spinach. 

The main ingredient in most pouches tends to be a sweet food, a fruit, like apple. These sweet foods will dominate the entire flavour of the pouch. So even if a pouch contains green beans or parsnips, the children can’t taste it. You might be able to pick up on undertones of “spinach or parsnip”, but that’s thanks to the fact that you’ve had it many times before.

They may be high in sugar and low in fiber.

Some pouches contain added sugars, and even in those that don’t, the sugar content is still high compared to fruits and vegetables they started out as. This is true of most shelf-stable baby food. The high-heat pasteurization that ensures shelf-stability also changes all the nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fiber, and flavour. Unfortunately, the sugar stays behind and intact. The higher sugar content, together with the lack of chewing (which actually removes some plaque), is enough to cause concerns for a higher prevalence in dental caries as well.

The fiber and texture is also warped. Fiber is essential for digestive health and also contributes to feeling full. Experts worry that because children can suck down pouches much quicker than they would eat a meal, pouches might impact children’s feelings of satiety. To top this, and they aren’t getting any measurable amounts of fiber from the pouch.

The point is:

The convenience factor of pouches can be so damn tempting! They can be used manage crisises like public tantrums, pre-dinner meltdowns, travel situations and so many more. This sends mixed messages to our kids: that inappropriate behaviour can be managed with food – sugar.

That being said: There is a time and a place for everything, and you don’t need to rid your your house/car/diaper bag of pouches for all eternity. The problem with pouches surfaces only if children are consuming them A LOT. Like, multiple pouches a day, replacing their real food.

Our promise:

At Organic Keedz we care about every single ingredient. We source, wash, peel, cook, blend and pack everything ourselves. That’s right. We don’t use one co packer that hands us a finished product. After we are satisfied that our final product upholds our standards, it is rushed to the freezer room to be preserved in the most nutritious state. We find the best process and combination for your baby and toddler, or both! We don’t use additives, emulsifiers or any of those dodgy fillers. We bring you the best possible baby food, to your doorstep if needed. It’s a difference you can see:

Our favourite meal for this week:

Liver, Tomato & Butternut

Photo of baby food liver

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