I eat pretty healthfully and don’t keep junk food in the house (unless you count those Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cup minis, but you have to have SOMETHING if company suddenly drops by, right?).
Yet, with my husband and me both working full-time, we have begun to rely more on packaged items to feed our family in the time we have to do it. Luckily, it’s getting easier to find grab-n-go snacks to fill in the gaps between fresh fruit (nothing can replace that) and the occasional let’s-not-pretend-this-is-good-for-you treat.
Foods marketed to kids have gotten a lot better too. So good, in fact, that sometimes I just buy them for myself. Mindy Kaling, in her collection of personal essays “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?”, writes of going to town on her charges’ adorable foodstuffs once the kids she was babysitting were tucked in. Yup, that’s me. It can’t be bad if I’m serving it to my kids, right?
Here’s what I pretend to buy for them but hoard for myself:
- Goldfish-shaped crackers – Never had these before I had a pre-schooler. Wow. That fake salty-cheesy tang under the whole grain headline? This mom is smitten.
- Mac-n-cheese – I used to only have the deconstructed fancy kind in swank restaurants during the comfort-food-served-in-bite-sized-portions craze. Now, when my kids’ craving for the stuff is in a downswing, I find myself conscientiously “making use of the milk before it goes bad” by cooking up a box for myself on a Tuesday night.
- Chocolate bunny graham-type crackers – 28 in a serving! So decadent. If I just want a little bite of something sweet, I’ll pop a few of these in my mouth. Barely a quarter of a serving. And then I’ll do that about 5 more times.
- Yogurt melts – I am not a big yogurt fan, and I’m not sure these are even derivative of yogurt, but their velvety texture and potent sweetness make for a satisfying breakfast when you don’t even have one minute to eat something that doesn’t come out of a resealable bag
- Cheese sticks – Not sure why these are specifically marketed to kids. It’s like unpeeling a dairy-based banana and who couldn’t use that?
- Fruit leather – I don’t think this is big right now, but how wonderful is this stuff? Like someone steamrolled raisins and then made it a prettier color
- Chocolate milk – I hate milk. I love chocolate. I can handle this.
- Frozen spinach-potatoes – Little green toaster latkes shaped like dinosaurs and stars and even if they weren’t, I’d devour them
What kid foods do YOU gorge on?