Let’s talk about squeeze pouches. You know, those disposable packs of pureed foods that you give to hungry babies and toddlers on the go. To say that I haven't grabbed one out of the diaper bag in a moment of ravenous need would be a lie. And somehow, unlike eating out of a jar of baby food, it's perfectly acceptable to pour liquid fruit and veggies (and in some cases meat, grains, and yogurt) down one's throat. In fact, other, non-Gerber companies have started to produce adult versions for the hiker, mom-on-the-go, and grownups who can't chew their food.
But are they gross? While I might be prone to skip the tot-focused options filled with Thanksgiving dinner or other meat products, most of the products out there feature wholesome veggies, grains, and nuts. Hence, I gave five food pouches and one pouch-stuffing machine a try, and maybe you should too. They’re not as bad as you might think, and the perfect breakfast for those super busy, must-get-out-of-the-house-right-now kind of mornings.
Why shouldn't we eat peanut butter out of a pouch? After all, the texture automatically lends itself to being squeezed into your mouth, and the fat content in the nuts makes the stuff self-preserving. Yumbutter, a company founded in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2010, has created a whole line-up of wholesome nut butter pouches, including the notorious peanut, cashew, and almond. But the company didn't stop there. You can also find an espresso peanut spread with cocoa and Fair Trade coffee and sunflower butter. The latter intrigued me the most. What the heck is sunflower butter? Turns out it's a spread made from sunflower seeds (as well a chia and hemp seeds) that tastes just like those little salty salad toppings. It's weird but addictive at the same time. The espresso pouch is more my speed: One squeeze in the morning is sure to jolt your eyes open and get you going.
Applesauce in a squeezable vessel? Sign me up. The organic pure purees from this New York-based company prove bright, fresh, and exactly what one might expect from a pouch full of pulverized apples. The same can be said for the fruit and veggie options, though these flavors have a little more going on. The Pedal Peach is sweet, peachy, and a little earthy due to the addition of sweet potato. The Boulder Berry has that lemony kick but tastes much richer thanks to the dark berries mixed with carrot. Both have an apple base so you get that flavor too. While I don't often crave applesauce, these babies make a great hand-to-mouth snack as you shuffle yourself and kids out the door.
For almost two years we have been buying this brand of baby food pouches for our toddler. They are less expensive than some and only use lemon juice to preserve the precious fruits and veggies inside. While I have had some of the simple ones such as apple-broccoli and carrot-apple, I thought I would give the pear, purple carrot, and blueberry a try. After all, it's kind of like a smoothie, right? Not exactly. It tastes like pureed, room-temperature fruit. At first it's kind of tart from the lemon but the sweetness from the produce prevails giving that mouthful of mushy purple food a taste that my kid loves. Me, not so much. I guess I would rather just eat the fruit whole. But this pouch would certainly do to take the edge off hunger in a pinch. Just be warned, under no circumstances should you eat one of these out of a hot car. Mushy produce might not prove pleasing, but a hot mesh is just terrible.
A while ago someone suggested I try the oatmeal-based Munk Pack to help curb my sugar crashes. To be honest, they sat in my bag for a while before I finally unscrewed the plastic cap and had a taste of the vegan peach chai vanilla blend. The texture is exactly what you would expect from room-temperature oatmeal, only instead of ladling it into one's mouth, I was squeezing a thick line of it onto my tongue. A little jarring at first, but not too bad after a few rounds. The oatmeal proved fruity with just a little sweetness, not surprising given it's made with peach, pear, and apple juices, vanilla extract and chia seeds. The raspberry coconut pleased as well, and imparted a lovely tartness from the berries and pleasant chew thanks to pieces of dried coconut. I can definitely see why having a couple of these around in times of hunger or if you are out hiking would be a good idea. My kid might not like them as much as his fruity pouches, but that means I can finally eat something without the addition of a little slobber mouth.
While schlepping down the aisle at the grocery store these colorful adult pouches filled with “vitality snack” caught my eye. Hey, I thought, I'm a mama and after dealing with a baby in the middle of sleep regression, I need more vitality. Besides, when something is called "green magic" I like to keep my hopes high. So, I threw one in the cart and popped the top as soon as I got to the car. My first thought as I watched the green goo crown at the opening was that it looked just like the swamp muck found in the kiddie pool out back. But into my mouth it went and luckily it actually tasted clean and refreshingly tangy, despite the slimy texture due to its chia seed base. After trying green magic, I gave the cherry beet flavor a go. It was like squeezing a goopy Jolly Rancher in my mouth, and not in a good way. Next time I need a boost of energy via a snack pouch, I will go for green and the magic found inside.
Make Your Own Food Pouches
While grabbing a packet of food from the store is easy, it's also simple to make your own breakfast-themed ones at home. But why, you may think, would I need a pouch of pureed produce? Well, maybe you too have a hungry toddler you're trying to drive to daycare at 7 a.m. Or, you could have just had a root canal and can't chew anything. Also, it's a mess-free way to get a morning boost of good-for-you-greens that you can pluck straight out of your fridge. Not matter the reason, the next time you concoct a homemade batch give the Kiinde Squeeze Snack system a try. The starter kit comes with a bottle to put the pulverized food into, pouches to stuff and washable twist off lids so you can make sure the goods are secure.