Last week when we were grocery shopping, I experienced my first run in with my child becoming excited for a sugary snack based on packaging alone. The fruit snack box was decorated with a popular Disney character and Xander had to have it. Mind you the only fruit snacks give our boys are the organic brands, but this time there was no stopping my overtired, irrational preschooler. We were nearing the end of our shopping trip, so both boys were getting antsy to be done with shopping. At that point I just wanted to be done with food shopping too, so the fruit snack box entered our shopping cart and off we went. I didn’t agree with the purchase, but some battles are not worth fighting.
Later that night after the boys were in bed, I was curious about the ingredients in the fruit snacks we purchased. The ingredient list was 15 items long and the first two were corn syrup and sugar, the two main ingredients in most candy. The last two were red #40, yellow #5, and blue #1. I will save my rants about these ingredients for another post, but just know these are not ingredients I want to be feeding my kids.
The front of the box highlighted all the positive ingredients and information about the snack, including “100% DV Vitamin C”, naturally and artificially flavored, 70 calories, fat free and made with real fruit (with very tiny print that reads “see side panel for details”). So most parents may think “Wow, that seems great!”, when their crazed toddler points to the package and demands the fruit snacks. Upon closer look, the fruit ingredient is apple puree concentrate, which is the one and only healthy ingredient in the snack. However, it was the third ingredient not the first, which means the main components of this particular brand of fruit snacks are corn syrup and sugar.
Now what about the phrase “naturally and artificially flavored”?. I really wasn’t sure what that meant, but a quick search led me to the definition under the Code of Federal Regulations:
“the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional” (21CFR101.22).
That certainly is a mouthful! It’s hard to avoid foods that are naturally and artificially flavored because most of our processed foods are. I just have strong feelings about loading my kids up with these artificial flavors and food dye. If there are healthier food choices I tend to stick to those, especially when it comes to snacks. A large portion of a toddler and preschoolers diet is in the form of snacks. It’s my job to choose snack foods that contain the most healthy and quality ingredients, not those products that are filled with empty artificial calories and flavors. Enter Happy Baby Foods.
I first discovered Happy Baby Foods at Bloggy Boot Camp in Philadelphia. As one of the amazing sponsors for the conference, they handed out free products and coupons. I may or may not have devoured an entire bag of their Happy Munchies Rice Cakes on my drive home. Seriously they are addicting! The day I returned home, we headed to Target to stock up on their products for the boys lunches and snacks. I feel good about filling my boy’s bellies up with Happy Foods products because:
1. Their foods are packed with immunity boosting ingredients including prebiotics and probiotics for digestive health, vegan and sustainable DHA, choline for brain development, and Salba®, which is nature’s most nutritious whole grain.
2. Their snacks contain nothing but organic, 100% natural ingredients, free from chemicals, pesticides, artificial ingredients, and preservatives. This means I am able to read the ingredients in their products without needing to look certain ones up. For an example, their Veggie Pals Carrot, Orange, Apple Chews (much like fruit snacks) contain 6 ingredients including 4 different types of fruit products and no raw sugar.
3. The company is owned and operated by mom’s. As a working mom, I obviously support the fantastic mom’s behind Happy Time’s company.
4. HAPPYBABY provides the best ingredients, sourcing, and food packaging to reduce their carbon footprint.
5. The company works with Project Peanut Butter to help feed starving children in Malawi and Sierra Leone. With every package purchased, a percentage of the profits goes towards to this effort.
6. They are committed to providing parents and caregivers with nutrition and feeding development information, activities and community events that promote healthy eating and lifestyle. The Speech-Language Pathologist in me loves this!
7. Perhaps the most important factor is that my boys LOVE their foods, as you can see.
We reviewed the HappyTimes Snack Products, which include the Veggie Pals, Sunny Buddies, Yogi Yummies, Mixed Fruit Yogies, and Crazy Crunchies. Noah loved the Yogi Yummies, which are great for infants learning how to chew, since they dissolve easily. Xander enjoyed the Veggie Pals and the Crazy Crunchies the most. Other than the snack foods, the boys also love their Happy Munchies Rice Cakes, HappyTot Plus Pouches, and Happy Puffs. Our pantry has been well stocked with a wide variety of their products, since discovering them. When interviewed about his impression of the new snacks, here is what Xander had to say:
With all of the great snack choices we offer the boys, the “other” fruit snacks are sitting high on the top shelf in the pantry and Xander has completely forgetten about them.
Enter the giveaway for your chance to win a Happy Family Snack Package which includes Five Full Value Coupons to redeem for 5 packages of your choice of Happy Times snacks, an approximate value of $25.00. Happy Family Foods can be found at Target and Whole Foods. This is a Rafflecopter giveaway, open to US and Canada residents only. a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: Happy Times provided me with 5 Full Value coupons which I redeemed in order to review their Happy Times snack products. All opinions expressed are our own. No children were bribed to eat these foods. They honestly love them.