Gourmet

New Frozen Toddler Snacks from Earth’s Best

Earth’s Best, one of every busy and food conscious mom’s go-tos, is now graduating from just baby formula and baby food to foods for kids 2 to 4 and up (see packaging for details) with their new selection of frozen toddler snacks that can be found in the freezers at Target. It’s not like getting healthy food on the table for your kiddos gets any easier as they get bigger! The products are designed to appeal to kids with healthier options of the not-so-healthy foods they find so alluring. Frozen organic fruit cups, frozen peanut butter and cocoa bars, pizza stuffed pretzels and broccoli kale and cheese bites are just a few of the play-date pleasing options in the new collection. See below for more details.

earths best collage

Kate Geagan 5To understand more about the motivation behind these frozen toddler snacks I talked with Earth Best’s dietitian spokesperson, Kate Geagen, author of Go Green, Get Lean. Kate is a mom of two kids (9 and 10), and understands the dichotomy of being a working mom and wanting a healthy family. See what she had to say…

Do you think people know what they’re supposed to eat?

We’re all in agreement about vegetables. But fats are not better than ancient grains or avocado or nuts. People are confused because of all of the buzz words floating around grocery stores and media. Gluten free is still spiking insulin and is not necessarily a healthy choice.

What makes these new freezer foods from Earth’s Best better than something similar that you can buy at room temperature right off of the shelf?

It’s about providing a variety of options and a healthful go-to that’s convenient to have on hand. Also, by utilizing the technology of flash freezing and harvesting at the peak of ripeness, it makes nutrient rich eating more affordable and allows it without food waste. Most fresh foods travel around 1,500 food miles and then wait on the shelf to be bought and then sit on your shelf until you cook it or eat it. Frozen options deliver it fresh from the field no matter where you are or what time of year it is.

Who is the target market for these new foods?

As a nutritionist, I’d love to reach every eater who’s looking for convenient on-the-go organic options. These foods could be a back-up strategy or a way to transition to organic and healthier choices for moms whose culinary skills don’t involve much prep time.

Don’t feel pressured to create a Pinterest worthy meal every night!

Are these news foods completely organic?

Yes, bars and fruit cups are USDA certified organic 95% while the others are not organic but are non-gmo and focused on whole grain, protein and iron.

Where do the foods come from and where are they manufactured?

From Earth’s Best family of certified organic farmers or certified suppliers. Fruit cups are picked and packed in Chile. Others are manufactured right here in the US.

Any stats on children’s diets now vs when we were kids that help support this new direction from Earth’s Best?

In 2015 the USDA identified 4 nutrients of concern: calcium, potassium, fiber and vitamin D. Added sugar also continues to be a huge concern for our children. 47% of added sugars are coming from beverages. Sugar should also be no more than 10% of total calories but most are getting 20%. The goal for us is to continue to provide quality recipes with wholesome ingredients that parents are looking for as their kids grow into the toddler space.

How much harder is it to get healthy food in the mouths of your kids if you have more than one child?

It varies depending on how your kids are spaced. No matter what, life gets a lot busier. In my experience it was more than twice the work. My kids are 18 months apart and both were dependent on me 100% at the beginning but at different developmental stages. Just trying to find your footing as a parent with great lofty goals can be rough. Be kind on yourself and determine your core values. Young parents today have so much social media pressure that it can really overwhelm them and make them feel like failures.

Just have the best ingredients that you can on hand. Have some easy go tos. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Why do we need to put frozen food in our kids’ lunch boxes? Wouldn’t an apple and a peanut butter sandwich be better? 

There’s nothing wrong with those choices. I often do choices like that for my own kids. The issue is more like when I realize I have to pack 215 lunches a year. It’s about providing a generous toolbox for parents to mix and match. Sometimes time is tight. We’re providing alternatives for busy parents that beat fruit cups with syrup and snack bites with too much fat.

Do you think that Pizza Bites and stuffed pretzels are teaching our kids how to have healthy eating habits? How?

What we hear from our families is that they’re looking for a healthy option when they’re looking for an easy go-to. This is something healthier that’s still fun for a play date. I love to cook dinner most nights per week but it is so convenient to have these go-tos. Maybe it’s a game night; we got back late and need something fast. Part of healthy eating is learning how to enjoy healthy eating habits.

What are some other ways that we can help our kids enjoy fresh vegetables daily without masking them in a smoothie?

I’m not into making ants on a log. I’m about finding a place for food being served the right way. That’s building a healthy eater for life. Your job as parent is to provide exciting options and let kids customize and let their personalities shine.

  • Take them to the farmers market or local grocery store produce aisle. My kids responded well to a rainbow chart encouraging them to eat 5 colors per day. Use all of your fingers to count.
  • Take advantage of dipping and dunking into homemade ranch dressing  or humus.
  • Build their own veggie kabobs.
  • Scrambled eggs with salsa in a pita.
  • Spiralize vegetables to make them more fun.

What is your opinion on snacking and young children? Should they be able to snack whenever they’re hungry? Should they be able to choose their own snacks? Why?

The key with snacking is to understand the division of responsibility. Parents decide what will be offered and provide two choices to let toddlers feel like they have some control. Child decides whether they will eat and how much they will eat. That is one of the life skills that should be taught during toddlerhood. Constant snacking makes picky eating more possible so leftover dinner could be offered as a snack if they skipped it. Don’t overwhelm children with choices and don’t become a short order cook. It’s good for your child to learn hunger and learn to come to the table and eat. So it’s OK if your child sails through the day and doesn’t want a snack. Yes, kids should be snacking every three hours. Offer nutritious choices that chip away at their needs for the day and see if they bite.

 What do you think? Which of these new snacks is most likely to make its way into your freezer? 

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