Secretly healthy homemade pouches

As first-time parents, we were militant about keeping fruit and veggie pouches out of Serafina’s hands. When visiting with friends with kids, it could get awkward. They would generously offer a pouch while their child sucked one down, and one or both of us would politely decline, not wanting to say out loud, “hey, we think those things can go rancid and they will never touch our baby’s lips.”

Fast forward to a 2-year-old Serafina, who is able to ask directly for a pouch, and articulate very clearly that she knows exactly what they are and how to use them. When we asked how, she explained that her grandma buys them for her sometimes. Joke’s on you, mommy and mama.

We’ve been more lax with babies #2 and #3 — they’ve had a couple of pouches, and we’ve even bought them. But we still have reservations about the shelf life, the sugar content and the packaging. Thus, we’re experimenting with our own, reusable pouch.

It still strikes me as weird, kind of gross and the antithesis of the kind of eating habit we hope to establish — a long, slow, luxurious appreciation of all flavors, shapes, colors and textures — but the fact is, kids seem to like their food when it’s delivered in plastic. And for the moment, it’s still a challenge to get certain (green) vegetables in Serafina’s diet and a desirable balance of fat, protein and fruit or veg.

We ordered the Little Green Pouch on Amazon (a 4 pack). They are actually easy to clean, though the spout is a bit tricky and requires a narrow bottle brush. If these are a hit with all three kids and we find we need to order more, I’m going to try the WeeSprout brand, because the loading zone on these looks wider.

Here are our first two recipes:

Protein pouch

Serafina, naked and happily sucking down a protein pouch.

1 medium sweet potato (roasted)
1 medium ripe banana
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons of peanut butter

^ This one was surprisingly tasty and the right consistency (not too liquid). It filled two pouches.

Green pouch
1 cup of (raw) spinach leaves
5 strawberries (we used frozen)
1/2 cup frozen mango
1 banana
2/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon of peanut butter
1/2 cup water

I’d recommend going lighter on the water and heavier on the peanut butter, to make the end result thicker. This one was tasty, basically like a smoothie. It made enough to fill three pouches.



Secretly healthy homemade gummies


When Serafina was first exploring solids, we were fanatical about making everything ourselves, procuring only the purest, priciest ingredients and carefully exposing her palette to a broad range of subtle flavor differences. Of course.

The twins’ first foods were primarily from (organic) jars, and though they have rapidly graduated to table food — whole slices of pizza, why not? — they’re getting far more processed (“healthy”) snack food geared towards infants and toddlers and so is Serafina. We are eating those words we once uttered about how a pouch would never touch our child’s lips.

It is a serious job to keep up with the food needs of our family as part of everything else, and we are plagued by the guilt of seeing our kids eat stuff out of plastic, primary-colored wrappers. These homemade gummies were born of that guilt.

I bought everything I needed to make these from Amazon and used mostly fruit and veggies we already had in the fridge. If you google homemade gummies, you’ll find a bunch of starting points. I riffed off this recipe for our first try.

Here are the ingredients we used in ours:

  • 7 strawberries
  • 1 red apple
  • 1 carrot
  • Handful of cherries and grapes (we had some left in the fridge)
  • 1/2 medium sized beet
  • A glug of grape juice (which we also had in the fridge)
  • Raw honey
  • Grass-fed gelatin. (The packaging on this prescribes a few tablespoons a day, dissolved in water or juice, as joint support.)
  • Cod liver oil, this is the particular brand we have right now
  • Kid safe elderberry syrup

    The goal here was to achieve a rich red color and make 1 1/2 cups of juice.img_7046.jpg

And here’s how we made the gummies:

  1. Cut fruit and veggies. Serafina was especially useful during this portion.
  2. Juice them all. Serafina was moderately useful here — she wanted to drop everything in our juicer very methodically — one grape at a time.
  3. Measure the juice to make sure we had the right amount. Pour it into a medium pan and add 4 tablespoons of gelatin. We let it dissolve for a few minutes. When it appeared to have “bloomed,” I put it on medium heat and mixed it well to fully dissolve the gelatin.
  4. Once dissolved (really just a minute or two), I turned off the heat and added 3 tablespoons of honey, a 1/4 teaspoon of cod liver oil and a 1/4 teaspoon of elderberry syrup and stirred again.
  5. We used a dropper to put the liquid in the molds and refrigerated them for an hour or more. This was Serafina’s favorite part.

*note this amount of juice, filled all 4 of the molds that came in this package.

We could have made them sweeter. After the initial bite, the earthiness of the beet really came through. But it didn’t seem to deter Serafina. She ate half of them today without complaint. She did seem to prefer the smaller bites of the bear mold; the other shapes are pretty big by comparison. We’re going to make green gummies next time, sneaking in kale and spinach.