Parents tell us they are always looking for new healthy cooking ideas and different foods for their kids lunches. Toy TIps has been taking note and watching for new ingredients and products that come our way that we think kids should try. Then, we test them with kids. We start with 30 taste testers and do a triple taste test which means kids taste it 3x. Experience shows that when they don't like it on the first try, it does not always mean they don't like it at all. We also have found kids always LOVE new things only if they think they can get another bite! Hence, our triple taste test so we can get honest evaluations, positive and negative feedback from the testers and most important watch to see if that they will eat it again.
After our review, Toy Tips found 10 new items we feel are worth giving a try.
This mediterranean spice mix was used for marinating chicken, ribs, burgers and popcorn. We are not exactly sure what spices are in it, but the mix is fresh and was well received by finicky eaters. It has a little spice to it but the heat wears down in the slow cooker. Our testers especially liked it with chicken. We don't know Zoe but think she did a great job mixing this spice.
It's not a secret that last year when we discovered Cookie Butter at Trader Joe's that Toy Tips was a HUGE Fan! It's basically cookies in a jar with the consistency of peanut butter ( the package says it could contain traces of tree nuts, milk and eggs) but there are no nuts listed as an ingredient. This spread is about 90 calories for 1 TBSP but those 90 calories taste great spread on an apple. And, how fun is it to have an apple tasting day and try different kinds of apples for an after school snack or birthday treat in the classroom?
My personal story with this: This roasted green wheat has now replaced rice in my house! At first, I was reserved that my own kids would turn their noses. Instead, the Savory Herb combo of Rosemary Sage and whole grains has because a much asked for side dish. It's super easy to make (like rice) but it has a nutty, herb flavor with a texture that just feels healthy in your mouth. Paired with burgers instead of fries, this was a hit. Other testers were reluctant at first but overall, I think it worth a try. There are other flavors and it may take some getting used to but grains (for kids that are not allergic) are great staple for a healthy diet.
This (almond) quinoa cluster is a great little snack for school backpacks. It's gluten free and made with organic quinoa, almonds, tapioca and cane syrup, honey, almond oil and salt. All natural ingredients rolled into one cute little healthy snack bite. The package is easy to open for little hands and about 9 little squares are packed inside. Much better than sugary gummy treats. There are a variety of flavors but the almond one was the most popular with our testers.
A Pie and a cookie all in one. Or one big giant cookie.. I guess it depends on how you look at this. The butter crust is rich and flavorful with no trans fats. These can store frozen for up to one year but we could not wait that long to test it out. The whole cookie pie was gone by the end of the taste test! We tasted the Peppermint Bark Cookie Pie and it was a perfect choice during our holiday testing time but it's also great for any nostalgic reason to taste peppermint and chocolate together.
These little cartons on non-refrigerated milk never caught my eye in the grocery store before but after I read the package and learned that the milk is perfectly safe on the shelf and then refrigerated before drinking, that did catch my eye. It is super easy to put these in a lunchbox and have on hand for kids after soccer practice. It's USDA organic and chocolate! You can't go wrong with that combination.
This all natural gluten free squeezy pack of apple, banana, cranberry and raspberry goodness is an alternative to traditional applesauce. Kids love to squeeze it and eat it right out of the package. That makes it fun. Because it is all natural and only 80 calories, that makes it a great snack or pick me up to pack for after school sports practices.
Probably the tastiest oatmeal cookie a child with nut allergies can have! This company was founded by dads with kids who had nut allergies but could not find a cookie that tasted good. So, like entrepreneurs do, they invented one! Sometimes it is hard to find a treat to bring to school because of allergies in the classroom. This is a perfect solution. Even our teacher testers asked for seconds....and we served it with the Horizon Organic Chocolate Milk.
This juice box has added vitamins in it. Some testers noticed. Others didn't because the Power Ranger on the package reminded them what was inside may give them superpowers. I'm the first to admit that I rarely ever buy licensed food because to me it's purely marketing, but when the product is good, the product is good. I like the fact that the juice is all natural with Goji Superfruit Blend and Omega 3 DHA. It feels good as a mom to know your child is drinking juice enriched with vitamins that instead of sugar-laden juice at snack time.
Now, we can't forget mom and dad and we know the best ideas are things for on the go (to avoid fast food and unecessary trips to the gas station deli). However, for these, I think you need to have your own triple taste test. Adult tastebuds are not like kids.
For health conscious parents, we reviewed the Quest Bar, the Rckland Organics Greek Yogurt Bars and Brestfeeding Moms tried the Milkmakers Latation Cookie. All tested well for flavor, taste and texture but when it comes to health and your body, we think it's best for an adult to decide what is best for personal taste. However, all three made our list.
Try having a taste test in your home. It's a fun activity and you just might find your kids will try something you never thought they would. I've been doing this for years and my kids eat some strange things. Just ask the kids at their school. They will tell you you'll find sushi, kumquats, pomengrate seeds and pistachios in their lunchbox.. ..on a regular basis! I think kids will try new foods it you ask them to, at least our testers did!