On the other hand, I cringe at single-serving items. I am painfully cheap, and I hate paying for them. So while I always have some on hand because convenience does matter sometimes, I went in search of a way to create them myself. Making them myself gave me control over ingredients as well, so no worries about allergies!
You see, I think my daughter loves them more for the pouch than the food. They are fun and different. If I poured the food into a bowl I'm sure it would get tossed to the curb. I needed to come up with a fun way she could eat pureed food on-the-go, even though she was almost exclusively eating table food.
Eventually I decided I would take a couple pouches, check the ingredients, and copy them. Really, they are smoothies in pouches. They are fruit and veggie mixes, and fruit does an excellent job of covering the taste of veggies. Since I'm already making smoothies regularly to hide veggies, I thought I'd just try to add more veggies and see how far I could push it before my daughter rejected it. The only difference between a smoothie and the pouch food is the temperature. One is cold or frozen and one is room temperature or warm.
Since I've always made my own baby food, the process was familiar to me. Cook, puree, blend. In place of the pouch, I use my trusty Thermos' with straws. They keep the food either warm or cold for 10 hours. No mess, still some novelty of eating food out of a cup, and no waste since whatever doesn't get eaten comes back home to the fridge. Plus, since they don't have valves like sippy cups, the purees don't get stuck in the valves.
I started with peas and carrots. I cooked them, pureed them, and mixed them with some pears in the blender. She sucked it right down. Next I tried adding some spinach, no problems there!
The next effort was sweet potato and apple. Then carrots, then butternut squash. I basically would try anything I happen to have, mix it with some fruit, and give it a try! It takes some practice to find the right mix of fruits and veggies, I think it is about 60/40, with fruits on the high end. But it depends on the vegetable. Things like zucchini and spinach have a very mild flavor and are easy to hide. Vegetables like green beans, okra, and sweet potato take a little more fruit to hide the flavor. You can also throw in some calorie boosters like canned coconut milk, flax seed, wheat germ, chia seed, or hemp seed.
You can make large batches and freeze small portions. Then, when you are ready to go out, warm it in the microwave, put it in the Thermos and you've got a healthy snack that will make you and your child happy.
Even at 18 months, my daughter is still eating my concoctions and the Happy Tot pouches. Occasionally she'll turn her nose up at one and when she does that I'll just add a bit more fruit and eventually she'll eat it.
All in all, with a little time and effort you can duplicate those yummy pouches and save some money in the process. Plus, they may even work better than pouches! As soon as your child can use a straw, they can eat your purees in a thermos. Have any of your kids squeezed the baby food pouch at just the wrong moment? They make quite a mess....
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