When we saw that Parents Magazine had put up a list of “25 Best Healthy Snacks for 2011” we were glad to see them do a story like this and we were preparing to share the link…until we read through the choices. And then we found ourselves asking, “Really, Parents? Is that the best you could come up with?”
Now granted, they were selecting from the “newest and most nutritious supermarket munchies.” But just about everything on the list is annoying to us – partly because of all of the wasteful individual packaging, and partly because most of these things you can easily buy in the produce section without having some company churn them out for you. Example: The Del Monte pineapple wedges that are individually wrapped like push-pops. How about just buying a pineapple and…cutting it into wedges? Then there’s Dole Ready-Cut Fruit Strawberries, Peaches, and Bananas from the freezer section. Can’t you just freeze your own fresh fruit?
There’s a “Go Go Squeez Applesauce” (“Applesauce on the Go”), which makes us crazy for how wasteful each little package is. And then there’s “Wholly Guacamole 100-Calorie Snack Packs.” Why you need guacamole portioned out into individual packages for kids is beyond our imagination. Making guacamole is one of the easiest and best ways to occupy a kid in the kitchen – you just put them to work mashing the avocado. So why let someone else take all of the fun (and freshness) out of it?
There’s also something called Funky Monkey Applemon, which completely mystifies us. The magazine describes it as “freeze-dried fruit pieces” that kids treat “like candy.” OK, so – dried fruit? You can dry it yourself, or buy it in bulk. You don’t need to buy those pricey individual packs with fun pictures on them. If you give kids something tasty, chances are they will almost certainly like it, regardless of the package (or lack thereof).
Now maybe we sound like a bunch of old fuddy-duddies for saying this, but why can’t kids snack on plain old fruit? Or (gasp) vegetables? You don’t need to disguise kids’ snacks with all sorts of tricked-out processing and packaging. Give them something fresh, and they will like it. Really.