(KUTV) Are food pouches making your child a picky eater? If you’re using them too much, the answer might be, “Yes.” However, pouches are okay to use as long as it’s the right time and place.
“Food pouches are great when it’s appropriate,” says Tara Finnerty, pediatric dietitian at Primary Children’s Hospital.
Whether it’s a road trip or you’re running errands, food pouches are convenient for busy moms. Using pouches is okay as long as they aren’t overused and it’s not the primary way kids eat their food. Make sure it’s part of a set meal or snack schedule time and not being offered in between. If you intend to use a pouch as a snack, check the serving size. Many pouches contain an entire meal’s worth of calories (if not more) in a single pouch.
Eating is a learned skill. This is why it’s important that kids eat with a spoon, or even their hands, as often as possible. An occasional pouch is okay, but day-to-day when you’re probably eating at home, it’s best to sit at a table to eat.
Feeding development occurs in stages from ages 0-3. It starts with purees around six months of age and quickly transitions into textures and solids, all before baby’s first birthday.
“If one of those windows is missed, it increases the risk of having feeding difficulties later on such as oral aversions and issues with textures of foods,” says Finnerty.
Parents often see food pouches as a great way for their kids to eat fruits and vegetables, but some pouches, only contain one food group and that can be a problem.
“We need a variety of protein, fruits, vegetable, and carbohydrate or starches to make a balanced meal. So it shouldn’t just be a four-ounce packet of just fruit,” says Finnerty.