|Fruits and veggies on the go!|
Stay with me on this one.
Hubby and I wanted to take an evening walk a few weeks ago, but the wind was howling and the weather was chilly—notwithstanding the fact that it was nearly April. Since neither one of us felt like freezing our keisters or plugging away on a treadmill, I suggested walking the aisles at Target. Amazingly, Jeff thought that sounded like a great idea.
So we strolled the aisles—all the aisles, even the ones we never visited, like the shower curtain doodad aisle and the fancy duct tape aisle. (Did you know they even made fancy duct tape? Me neither!) And—regardless of the fact that we have no kids—the baby food aisle.
But not just peas. Rather, shelf upon shelf of colorful, convenient squeezy pouches loaded with organic fruit-and-veggie purées in the most intriguing combinations, like blueberry, pear, and purple carrot; and spinach, peas, and pear.
Since I’m always on the lookout for easy ways to work in more veggies, I had to try them. So Jeff and I nonchalantly loaded up the cart with purée packs—for all our fellow shoppers knew, we had oodles of babies at home—and off we went.
At first bite, my suspicions were confirmed—those suckers (har!) were delicious. Jeff and I conducted a completely unscientific taste test of the 11 varieties we bought and enjoyed every single one. (Well, almost: I could have done without the spinach/rutabaga purée, but Jeff loved that one, so go figure.) In fact, we liked them so much that we ended up with a tie for first place and a three-way tie for second.
Here are the winners:
And the full results:
As you can see, even the last-place contender got a 3, so you really can’t go wrong.
I know that “fresh is best,” but for convenience food, these organic purée pouches are the berries—most of the ones we tested boasted stellar nutrition, no additives needed. For example, check out the stats for this standout, the carrots, apples and parsnips blend from Ella’s Kitchen:
Not bad for 35 calories! While this was one of the nutritional picks of the litter, you get my point—you’re a lot better off grabbing one of these on your way out the door than a 100-calorie “snack pack” of white flour, sugar, and salt.
Although I can only speak to the varieties Jeff and I tried, though, there are some issues to watch out for. Two brands, Happy Tot and Earth’s Best, added extra vitamins to some of their pouches. And Earth’s Best added water to their pouches (although both the Earth’s Best varieties we tested contained winter squash, so that may have been a consistency issue). If either issue concerns you, just peek at the ingredient list before buying. Also, the first ingredient in every variety we tested was either apple or pear, which means these little pouches probably don’t contain as much veggie goodness as I would hope. But all in all, these are still rockstar snacks, and they’ve made it onto our weekly shopping list.
Good to go—with a catch
Beyond great taste and good nutrition, these pouches are ridiculously convenient. They slide right into a purse or briefcase and can be eaten one-handed—with zero mess. (The beauty of products made for babies!) Perfect for snacking at your desk or in your car.
That said, there’s one catch: To make these a truly go-anywhere convenience food, you have to have to be willing to eat baby food. From a squeezy pouch. In public.
I’ll be honest: I do not have that level of chutzpah.
However, food companies are learning that adults like convenient, healthy food too, because Jeff and I found some purée pouches in a “regular food” aisle in Target. But apparently, the only varieties of purée currently sanctioned for adult consumption are—drumroll, please—applesauce and cinnamon applesauce. Snooze fest!
So until they break out the sophisticated adult flavors (chai-spiced pear and pumpkin, anyone?), I won’t be downing a purée pouch in public anytime soon. But in the meantime? You can find me in stuck in traffic, in the privacy of my own car, surreptitiously savoring my very own pouch of squeezy peas.
Parents, weigh in: Do you buy these for your babies (or kids)? Do you ever end up eating them yourself? What’s your favorite kind?