When introducing a new baby to food, the easiest way for a lot of parents is to buy a bunch of handy pouches. They come in all sorts of varieties, from pureed fruit and veggies to whole meals, and can be a great and convenient way to help broaden a child's palette - however, a recent New York Times report has suggested that it may lead to kids developing unhealthy eating habits.
If a child is particularly fussy, then pouches can be a lifesaver, masking the taste of notoriously icky vegetables like kale and broccoli. While that may seem like the blessing we all need to make sure our kids get their vitamins and minerals, Dr. Robin Jacobson, a pediatrician at NYU Langone Pediatric Associates at Irving Place, says they're no substitute for the real thing.
According to her, a big part of development is experiencing the different texture and feel of the foods, so keeping a baby on a liquid diet can impact their ability to chew foods properly. Rather than eating like they're supposed to, they're having to do little to no work and just drink their meals instead. With pouches accounting for around 25% of the U.S baby food market, it could have a serious long-term impact. Jacobson also suggests that it could have another negative impact, with parents using pouches as a treat, or a way to calm upset children who aren't really hungry but just like the taste. Instead, they may just want some one-on-one time with mom and dad.
We might feel like we've triumphed when little Billy downs a pouch of kale and apple when he won't touch the stuff normally, but it's not all about getting the nutrients in. If a kid is picky now, hiding the stuff they won't eat won't do them any favors in the long run. It's vital that they're exposed to foods like broccoli and peas, even if they won't eat them at first. Jacobson also voices concern that the majority of pouches are high in fruit juice concentrate, and if used daily instead of "in case of emergency", a child could consume too much sugar.
What do you think? Much ado about nothing? Or will you be doing the cooking from now on? Let us know in the comments.