Yes, they’re the easiest snack under the sun, you can recognize each item on the ingredient list and in most cases they’re even organic or made from “100% fruit.” But in reality, these incredibly convenient blended fruit squeeze pouches are really good-for-you fruits and veggies with a boat load of sugar in them.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that “concentrated fruit juice” line item in the ingredient list is really just a fancy way of flagging added sugar. When you tally it all these 100-gram-ish pouches can include anywhere from 12 to 20 grams of it. Even the vegetable ones. The same weight of raw, peeled apples contains only about 10 grams of sugar—which means some of these pouches can pack a whopping 10 grams more sugar than the real thing. That’s as much as 5 teaspoons of added sweet stuff. No wonder the kids love them so much.
Yes, they’re better than Twinkies. But the lesson here is that just because they’re pureed carrots doesn’t mean they’re as healthy as carrots. The best way to incorporate them is with your eyes wide open. If you see concentrated fruit juice on the ingredient list, instead of thinking about them as a healthy snack consider them a once in a while dessert. Or if you give them to your kid one day, lay off the sugar in other areas that day or the next. Basically, be aware of what they are and use in moderation rather than with abandon.
And, if you’re really fond of the grab-n-go squeezable pouch idea—make your own! (Yes—that’s a thing!) The best part? You control the ingredients, you control the sugar. Find the pouches and great recipe ideas here.)