I’m a dietitian, but unfortunately my kids don’t realize that they are a dietitian’s kids. Translation: They very rarely willingly eat vegetables. I do still serve them with every meal, and there is new evidence out there that serving vegetables regularly, even if they go untouched, may make kids more likely to enjoy them as adults. I’m not proud of it, but I do often resort to bribing (“Eat two bites of your carrots and you can have dessert”). But even that doesn’t work on my youngest as he’ll spit them right out.
My solution to this vegetable revolt? Fruit squeezies.
My fruit squeezes do have vegetables in them as well, but if I called them vegetable squeezies I’m pretty sure neither of my children would eat them. I’m sure you’ve seen these pouches littering the baby food aisles and for good reason. They are convenient, allow for kids to feed themselves, and contain healthy fruits and vegetables.
The only problem is that they are stinkin’ expensive at $1.50 or so per serving as well as not very environmentally friendly. The good news is that with a little invested time and money you can make these at home! Here’s how:
What You Need
- Re-usable pouches – I could write a whole post about pros and cons of different pouches, but a quick internet search would do the same. I personally prefer The Little Green Pouch.
- Blender/Food Processor/Hand held Submersion blender
- The goodens – Fruits, vegetables, yogurt, grains, etc.
My Favorite Goodens Combinations
1 cup steamed green beans
½ cup unsweetened applesauce (or 1 apple cut and steamed)
Avocado Fruit Salad
½ cup mango
½ cup peaches
Broccoli and Pear
2 cups steamed broccoli
Strawberry and Banana Smoothie
2 cups yogurt
1 cup strawberries
1 cup spinach
1 Tbsp lemon juice
How It’s Done
For any soft food (e.g., banana, avocado, ripe peaches, pears, etc.) no prep is needed. Just cut them up into pieces. For tougher or less ripe fruits and vegetables (e.g., apples, carrots, broccoli, green beans, peas), you’ll want to toss them into a steamer for 10 minutes or so. It’s also perfectly fine to use frozen fruits and veggies although they will need a little longer in the steamer. I would avoid canned as those will often be too high in salt or sugar.
Then it’s simply a matter of making up your combinations, blending and filling your pouches. The great thing about this is that you can freeze the pouches and simply toss it into your kid’s lunch. Not only will it keep the lunch cool, it will be perfectly thawed by lunch time! Another way to store is to freeze the purees in ice cube trays. Once frozen, you can store in a zip lock bag and then just thaw as needed and fill the pouch.
Bonus: You can also use the frozen fruit/veggie cubes for morning smoothies for yourself. Mmmmm!
Do you have your own favorite food combinations for fruit squeezies? Leave yours in the comments below!
Kinsy McNamee is a registered dietitian at ProMedica Wellness. She received her master’s degree in Food and Nutrition at BGSU where she also completed her dietetic internship. She lives in Perrysburg where she enjoys spending time with her husband, two young boys, and two dogs. Her monthly blog, Eating Right in Real Life, is a hearty serving of nutrition tips and insight for everyday families.