Notes on Food Culture: Ridiculous Kids Foods

I DETEST KIDS FOODS — at least on a regular basis. Everyone likes to buy something special sometimes, but kids foods shouldn’t be an every day or every meal occurrence. Why? Because kids foods

  1. prevent kids from eating and enjoying regular food
  2. give kids the idea that they need special food
  3. cost more
  4. are often unhealthy, highly processed, and additive-filled. (And you don’t need to buy that super-expensive pureed mango for your baby, either. Just buy a darn mango!)

But food companies love kids foods because the profits are huge — people pay more for smaller portions in cool packaging. All they have to do is make us all feel like we need to buy it or our kids won’t fit in, we won’t be the cool parent, or our kids won’t eat.

Sigh, alas, and woe… how my kids will be mocked if they don’t have gummy snacks in their lunches or only eat yogurt with a spoon! (No worries with that one: ¬†Grandpa got the kids Crush Cups on our last visit, saving my kids from years of ridicule over not knowing how to squeeze yogurt directly from cup to mouth. But I think the Wellness Bitch covered that already.)

Here are some other completely ridiculous kids foods with completely ridiculous marketing strategies:

Jolie Ravioli

In assorted fun shapes! Because ravioli isn’t tasty enough? Sure regular ravioli comes in boring squares and circles, but I think kids can manage, plus it can be a wholesome meal the whole family can eat and enjoy together. Why do we need to buy fun-shaped ravioli in flavors like “pizza-roli” and “mac and cheezy”? Answer: we don’t.

Organic Letter of the Day Cookies

Organic Letter of the Day cookies
Okay, let’s be realistic: kids don’t learn their letters from eating cookies, don’t care if Cookie Monster is on the box, and — most importantly — don’t need fun shapes and characters to be convinced to eat cookies. So let’s all save ourselves some money and buy regular cookies from the cookie aisle (or better yet home bake) rather than toddler cookies from the baby food aisle.

Monkey Bars

Monkey Bars
“Crazy Healthy!”? Seriously? There are a few things my kids eat that I’d call “crazy healthy” but none of them come in a box. Chances are, if a food product is trying to convince you it’s healthy, it’s not. This box also says “100% Natural”, which means 100% nothing. It’s a non-regulated term. Sure, this product might be healthier for a kid than an Oreo cookie but if we start to think of it as anything other than a glorified cookie, we’re fooling ourselves.

Organic Jammy Sammy

Organic Jammy Sammy
As busy as I sometimes get, I hope I never get to the point where I think I have to buy pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at $12.40/pound. In fact, I bet I could just about make a PB&J in the same time it takes to get one of these out of the package. This is just a dressed-up Uncrustable and is just as ridiculous.

Pop-Tarts Mini Crisps

Pop-Tarts Minis
I’m about 110% sure the world doesn’t need another way to consume Pop-Tarts, which are pretty darn portable and snackable to begin with. So what’s the point of making them small, except to charge more and/or try to convince us we need two two types this of highly-processed quasi-food for our kids. Puhleeze.

Lunchables – Now with Fruit
Lunchables Now with Fruit!

Oh, I love this one! You may already know how I feel about Lunchables (spoiler: I don’t like them), but now they come with fruit! “Wait,” you might be saying to yourself, “they didn’t come with fruit before?” Apparently, no. The powers that be over in Lunchables HQ didn’t think kids needed fruit with lunch… until now! But before you get all excited thinking Lunchables comes with fresh apple slices or some grapes, bring yourself back to reality. It’s just some processed tasteless fruit in a cup.

Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters Fruit Punch

Capri Sun - a fun way to hydrate
“A fun way for kids to hydrate”? What the…? Since when did hydrating have to be fun and since when did fruit punch become a legitimate way to hydrate? I’m really very certain our kids will thank us from their non-diabetic and non-obese futures for teaching them to hydrate with water and save the sugar for dessert.

The Bottom Line:

It’s fun to splurge on fun-looking kids food, but when we find ourselves doing it all the time or without thinking, well, then it’s time to step back, readjust our bullshit spectacles, and remember that kids can and should be eating the same food as grown-ups.

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