Food Myths Kids Nutrition

Baby Food Pouches: Are They Really Healthy?

baby food pouch

Baby food in squeeze pouches is all the rage.  Young babies, toddlers, and even older children can frequently be seen squeezing these portable purees into their mouths, both at home and on-the-go.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this trend in the months since Lucy started solid food, and have wondered what kind of long term effects it may be having on little ones’ eating habits.  Some of my concerns:

  • Are modern kids going to know what real food looks, tastes, and feels like?
  • Why give a baby a pouch of banana puree when you can just give him a banana?
  • Parents may think they’re giving their child vegetables, but pouches are mostly made of fruit (usually applesauce + tiny amounts of other fruit concentrates or powders).  The vegetable component is minimal, if there at all.

Of course, pouches are convenient for traveling or occasional eating-on-the-run.  But I don’t believe they’re a good replacement for healthy sit-down meals, especially for toddlers and older children who are able to chew and feed themselves a little.  Mealtime for young children is partly about nourishment, but partly about learning what food looks, smells, and feels like.  When a pouch replaces a spread of real food pieces or homemade vegetable mixtures, part of this learning is lost.

Last week, the New York Times featured an article about the squeeze pouch trend.  Lots of interesting points in this article, including: if we parents and/or our children are too busy to sit down for a real meal, then more than just mealtime needs to change.

What do you think about this issue?  How often do you feel comfortable feeding your child from a pouch?

image source: Putting The Squeeze on a Family Ritual

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19 Comments

  • Reply
    Tana
    June 27, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    They are, as you say, really convenient for travelling and sometimes when you’re out and about, and that’s what I’ve used them for in the past. Certainly they’re preferable to feeding your toddler plane food! But I’m reluctant to feed my kid packaged foods regularly. Our two-year-old eats the same things as us, and while he won’t always eat everything we put in front of him, at least he sees what different foods look like. I believe that by repeatedly offering him a variety of foods, along with familiar items, he’ll gradually become more comfortable with new tastes and textures. A child wouldn’t get this experience if you only offered him food hidden in a pouch that is uniform in texture.

  • Reply
    Tracey @ Don't Mess with Mama
    June 28, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    So interesting. I was just thinking there’s been a surge in pouch food. We don’t use it often – only when packing and serving finger foods aren’t easy, like at the beach where my 9 month old usually gets too sandy to deal with eating finger foods.

    I usually make his own baby food and just wondered if there was reusable pouch that I could put my own baby food in – that way I could make sure he’d be getting more vegetables than fruit.

    • Reply
      Amelia
      June 29, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      Good question, Tracey. It would be fun to make your own pouches for the times when you need the convenience. The brand of pouch food also makes a difference. I am a big fan of Ella’s Kitchen which is strictly pureed food, no water or flavorings or powders/concentrates added. They have a new line of “meal” pouches with meet, grains, and veggies which are great for healthy meals on the go. Of course the gold standard is eating real food at the table with family-but sheesh, who can do this all the time?!

    • Reply
      Katie
      October 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      Hi Tracey

      We are developing reusable food “Yummi Pouches” just for moms like you! Our vision is to help moms and dads with providing healthy snacks to their on-the-go kids. The Yummi Pouch is perfect to be filled with organic pureed sweet potatoes, corn, bananas, or other fresh produce, prepared in batches, frozen or refrigerated, and consumed by kids on-the-go en route to life’s activities and diversions, no spoon required! And after use, simply wash in the dishwasher or rinse with hot water and soap, air dry, and reuse.

      We are conducting focus groups in Seattle in just a few short weeks, as well as mailing samples to interested parties in exchange for product reviews. Let us know if you are interested in participating in our product testing!

      • Reply
        Amelia
        October 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm

        This sounds great, Katie!

        • Reply
          Tammy Klein
          February 2, 2013 at 1:55 am

          I would also be interested in trying these pouches out. We have NOTHING like this in Alberta Canada. Please email me. [email protected]. THANKS A BUNCH! !!

      • Reply
        dana
        April 3, 2013 at 5:17 pm

        I am interested in testing this product! Could you please five me a call 901-849-3536. Thanks, Dana.

  • Reply
    FreshFoodMomsRule
    August 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    There are reusable squeeze pouches that you can fill with your homemade baby food. In fact, Infantino offers an entire system called Fresh Squeezed with various items to help you create your own baby food and fill your reusable or disposable pouches so you can take it on-the-go! Check out Facebook.com/infantinomomsrule.com for more information about the collection. It’s about to hit stores like Babies R Us and Target in the upcoming months, so stay tuned!

    • Reply
      Amelia
      August 1, 2012 at 3:07 pm

      Cool, I didn’t know any of this!

  • Reply
    Michelle
    October 13, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    The Squishy Snak Pak is a great product. It is a reusable spouted pouch that is in stock and ready to ship.

  • Reply
    Leticia
    December 19, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I would LOVE to participate in your product testing and trying the “Yummi Pouches”. We have looked at over brands and have not been pleased so far. I’d love to have an alternative to put food that I’ve made in pouches for trips where good food choices are not available, flying, and theme parks!

    • Reply
      Katie
      December 26, 2012 at 9:10 pm

      Leticia,

      Please send us your address to [email protected] and we’ll see if we can send you one of our last samples. We are also launching our online store in just a few weeks! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Janelle
    January 2, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    I have food allergies to many fruits and some vegetables. I love these fruit and veggie pouches… they offer so much more variety than applesauce and canned pears. It is a great way for me to have a healthy snack since I can’t just munch on a carrot or an apple. I do feel a little guilty the pouches can not be recycled. Other than that I think these are some of the best products I have come across.

    • Reply
      Ashley
      January 6, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      I agree with you. I also have food allergies and thus can only eat cooked fruits and veggies. It can be hard to fit in the recommended number of serving in a day without an option like this since I’m usually very busy between work and graduate school.

  • Reply
    April
    January 7, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    We have regular meals at home, but when we go out for errands or play, this often takes place when my toddler needs a snack to make it through! I would rather him eat fruit blends with some sort of nutritional value, than toddler crackers or cookies. I am currently on the market for the reusable pouches that can be packed with homemade purees and foods. These are not meal replacements but just snacks and not every day.

    • Reply
      Amelia
      January 8, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      The same is true in our house, April. We all need some snack on-the-go!

  • Reply
    becky
    August 31, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    what are the pouches made of? Are they compostable? Are they recyclable?

  • Reply
    Stephanie White
    August 14, 2014 at 10:59 am

    We use them but I worry about what they are made of. There are lots of other plastics that are not good besides BPA. We do fresh foods when we can but sometimes fall back on these on the go or when we are out of fresh stuff.

    • Reply
      Amelia Winslow
      August 15, 2014 at 9:31 am

      Good point, Stephanie. There are many toxic materials beyond BPA, it’s just the most common one we hear of. I’m not sure how to make sure any plastic is completely safe. I think glass & stainless steel are always better bets.

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