June 21, 2012

The Family That Plays Together Eats Food Out Of A Bag Together


Holy moley, I see the headline on Matt Ritchel's NYT longread about baby food in a squeezebag, and I'm like, "Wait, exactly what family ritual is being squeezed here, exactly? The ritual of spooning mashed carrots into a Ziploc bag by hand? What?"

And then I realize he's packaged his trendpiece on the greatest baby food format since [insert otherwise unpopular foodgroup here] Booty with an anxiety-inducing parentingfail essay on the disappearance of the sit-down family meal. Well played, Master Ritchel, well played:

Alissa Bushnell, 45, said she keeps a pouch in her bag so she can give it to her 4 ½-year-old daughter during the drive home from school. "I've got 20 minutes in the car with a hungry kid," said Ms. Bushnell, a public relations consultant who lives in a rural town in Northern California and doesn't have time to prepare an alternative. She equates the pouch to having a back-seat TV in the car: a convenient distraction in harried times.
Haha, what? Just throw some Goldfish in a bag. Also, no. No way. Are you kidding? Foodbags are the exact opposite of back-seat TV. They are awesome. And perfect for traveling and snacks.


We first discovered pouches in the gate-side vending machine of a desolate airport terminal in France one morning, when we had a cranky kid and and hour-and-a-half before any shops were open. That was the applesauce of the gods, I tell you, best two euros I ever spent.

As for family dinner, if you can't wrangle your kid and your schedule to sit and eat at a table with some degree of regularity, that's your [serious but entirely different] problem.

Putting the Squeeze on a Family Ritual [nyt]
Buy Plum Organics baby food pouches by the box at Amazon [amazon]
We get the original GoGo Squeez applesauce by Materne, the French company who introduced the pouch thing, by the box, too [amazon]


GogoSqueez is by far the best value on Amazon, but I'm disturbed by the fact that it's sweetened. Sure, they're using fruit juice concentrates instead of refined sugar, but it's not just mashed up apples, it's apples + extra sugar.

Oh, and even more disturbing than the fact that they add sugar is that they advertise it as having "no extra sugar." Riiight.

"no refined sugar," but an excellent point, which I missed.

i'm all for teaching kids about control and learning independence, but these food pouches to me seem to be a pacifier with food attached. i'll admit, i've been guilty of it too, feeling like i needed to stop the world to put something, anything in the boy's mouth to get him to calm down. but after reading this article:


i stopped with revolving our mealtimes around the kid's hunger attacks. he's allowed a snack at his designated snack time, and he's allowed to choose between 2 healthy snacks. if he doesn't choose, he gets none and has to wait for lunch or dinner. so far, snack time is a breeze and he clears off his plate at mealtime. the power struggle to me, was totally worth it. teaches him self-control, allows him independence and some control and he eats healthy, instead of grazing all day.

here's the study they mention in that article:

It's hard to view this stuff too critically being part of a generation that learned at an early age that cheese is something that can be sprayed from a can. But still. There certainly are some advantages to food in a bag (including possibly the airport vending machine-ability of the stuff). And if you're paying some company to make your baby food for you, it doesn't seem to make too much a difference if it comes in a bag or a plastic container or a jar. But we can't fall victim to the marketers here. Many of the conveniences of food in a bag are not conveniences at all or are easily replicated with real food. Giving that 4 1/2 year old in the back seat a pouch of apple sauce sure sounds convenient if buy into all the marketing. But is it really that much more convenient than an apple? Plus, you can throw what's left of the apple out the window.

Here's some nice commentary on that article: http://www.littlegreenpouch.com/blogs/blog

[I was kidding about filling ziplocs with applesauce. -ed.]

The GREATEST thing about those pouches ( we have the buddy ones from BJ's right now) is you can FREEZE them, so they double as an icepack in a bagged munch. When we are together, I pack an apple and cut and peel (I know, but who cares) when it's time to eat. But when I have to send her somewhere with food, or for road trips, she gets these frozen. There is zero difference between these and a regular applesauce in a cup. It's not heroin-laced Doritos for crying out loud.

Don't know what all the fuss down there is. Up here on the International Space Station, we drink all our food through straws.

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