I love baby food pouches! They are practical, healthy, and easy-to-use. I first discovered them when my son was eight or nine months old, and it made picnics in the park and coffee dates with Mommy so much easier…and less messy! Not only that, baby food pouches also taught him how to drink from a straw (he never mastered the bottle or sippy cup, so that was a huge accomplishment). Like I said, I love baby food pouches. You can read my review of them here for more info and ideas on how to use baby food pouches to promote the development of baby’s feeding/oral motor skills.
The bummer about baby food pouches though is that, at $1-$2 per pouch depending on where you get them, they can get expensive over time (although WIC does cover the ones that are 100% fruits and veggies, which is most of them).
So you can imagine my excitement when I received an email from Michelle at Squishy Snak Paks, letting me know she has created REUSABLE baby food pouches!! Michelle — a stay-at-home-mom to four little ones (the two youngest being twin boys) and self-proclaimed “Mompreneur” — created this product to allow her toddling twins to be able to enjoy her homemade purees while still being able to be independent. She graciously agreed to send me a free two-pack so I could try them out and let you, dear readers, know what I thought.
First, the specs. Squishy Snak Paks:
- are made of non-toxic plastic and are free of BPA and Phthalates.
- are durable and safe for freezing.
- are dishwasher safe (place opened end on a prong on the top rack and put the cap in the silverware basket).
- hold up to 1/2 cup puree.
- come with a heavy duty zip seal (Michelle has had no reports of Squishy Snak Paks bursting open while being used or transported in, say, a diaper bag).
- fit perfectly with baby food dispensing spoons, which are little spoon tips that screw onto baby food pouches so you can have portable puree-on-a-spoon (read my post about them here). You have to make sure there are no lumps in the puree, though, so that it will dispense through the little hole in the spoon without clogging.
Next, ideas for use. You could use Squishy Snak Paks with your infant (at least 6 months old/able to eat Stage 1 puree) or toddler by:
- filling with store bought puree (Stage 1 or 2), yogurt, applesauce, etc. for increased convenience when eating with your little one outside the home.
- filling with homemade smoothie if baby is not ready to drink from an open cup.
- filling with homemade puree that is just straight-up fruits and veggies (recipe listed below!) in an effort to help your little one get more fruits and veggies without all the flavor they dislike. Hello, blueberries, apples, and broccoli! Have you seen those crazy combinations in the store?. You could even throw some quinoa or oats into that blender/food processor to give it some protein/added fiber. Just be sure the freshly-made puree gets consumed within the hour or goes in the fridge in a sealed container and is consumed within 24 hours. This may be a REALLY good option for those of you with kids who are picky eaters. You could send them to daycare or Grandma’s house with this and know they’ll still get fruits and veggies.
- making a large batch of puree and freezing portions in an ice cube tray, much like you can do with regular homemade baby food or expressed breast milk. When you are ready to use, simply place two frozen cubes in the Squishy Snak Pak, set it in a bowl of warm water to defrost, or just put it in your diaper bag and go. This is definitely the most efficient and cost-effective way to do it!
Michelle shares three quick and tasty recipes on the Squishy Snak Pak website (Apple & Pear with Cinnamon, Avocado & Banana, Blueberry & Banana), but I was excited to experiment with my own basic recipe.
Mama OT’s Pear Spinach Puree for Squishy Snak Pak
All I did was toss a pear, a handful of spinach leaves, and a tiny bit of water into the food processor to help keep it smooth. I pulsed it for several seconds until it was smooth enough to dispense (much like a Stage 2 puree) and then went to work scooping it out. I scooped with a spatula from the food processor to a baby-sized bowl, then to the Snak Pak one spoonful at a time until the bag was full.This recipe made about one and a half bags full, and my 15-month-old LOVED it!
I knew he liked it because he kept signing for “more”!
I was brave enough to try some and, I’ll admit, it was good. Tasted like pear applesauce and I couldn’t even taste the spinach or feel its texture. Would definitely recommend this combo!
Three critiques of Squishy Snak Paks:
- I wish there was a cleaner or more efficient way to get homemade puree from the blender/food processor to the bag. Not sure if a funnel would make things easier or trickier at this point.
- I wish they stood up like the store bought ones when they are filled. This is a minor critique, but I like being able stand them up when I put them in the fridge as opposed to laying them on their sides. Like I said, a minor issue.
- The Snak Pak does include a “fill line” so you know how much puree to put in there. However, my husband and I both missed it the first time because it is pretty faint and kinda blends in with the pattern on the bag. I also found that my bag overflowed a little even though I respected the fill line. Maybe it depends on how thick your puree is. So just be careful when filling and zipping your Snak Pak.
Would I recommend this product?
- YES! Whether you are savvy enough to make your own puree, or you throw in something that’s store bought, I think Squishy Snak Paks could be a great addition to any family who wants their baby or young toddler to be able to eat healthfully while minimizing mess and maximizing portability. You can add on a dispensing spoon for the baby who can’t yet suck from the spout, you can use a Snak Pak to teach your baby or toddler to drink from a straw without spending a fortune on individual baby food pouches, and you can freeze large batches of puree in order to increase both the variety and volume available to you.
You can order Squishy Snak Paks by visiting Michelle’s website, http://squishysnakpak.com. They come two-at-a-time and would be a great gift for stocking stuffers, baby shower gifts, or even baby birthday gifts. Stop by and check them out!
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In addition to being mama to two sweet little boys and wife to a crazy awesome husband, Christie is a Registered & Licensed Occupational Therapist (OTR/L). She holds a B.A. in Psychology with a Minor in Education from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA...Go Bruins!), and an M.A. in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California (USC OT). She has experience working as a pediatric OT in early intervention (birth to 3), clinic-based, and school-based settings. Her mission with MamaOT.com is to encourage, educate, and empower those who care for children. Christie loves that she gets to PLAY when she goes to work, is hopelessly addicted to Kettle Corn, and is known for being able to turn virtually anything into a therapeutic tool or activity, from empty food containers to laundry and everything in between. Learn more about Christie and what inspired her to become an OT.
Occupational therapy (OT) is a holistic profession that helps people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities, also known as “occupations”. Some OTs help people diagnosed with disability, injury, or disease. Others help prevent disability, injury, or disease. Because of occupational therapy, people of all ages are able to say, "I can!" no matter what their struggle. Isn't that amazing?!
. . . . .Please provide appropriate supervision to the child in your care when completing any activities from this site. You as the grown-up will need to decide what types of products/activities on this list will be safe for your child. If you’re not sure, check with your child’s occupational therapist or pediatrician. Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when implementing any ideas or activities from this site, particularly if there is any risk of injury (e.g., falling, crashing), choking (e.g., small parts), drowning (e.g., water play), or allergic/adverse reaction (e.g., materials/ingredients). The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.