I saw these recently as inclusions in a 'healthier' lolly bag at child's birthday party. I wondered whether they might be a healthy alternative to lollies (and the packaging sure suggests so!) Are these Fruit Zombies a trick or a treat? Let's see...
🔹The first three ingredients are reconstituted juice, glucose syrup (sugar) and sugar.The rest of the ingredients are basically gels and oils to hold the sugar together.
🔹The quality of the reconstituted juice is unclear (I'm guessing it wasn't 100% fruit juice to start with, because the sugar content of the product is MUCH higher than 100% juice).
🔹Colour 120 is derived from dried, pregnant American beetles (!) and colour 141 is a chlorophyll copper complex Both are naturally occurring, but some children do react badly to colour 120.
🔹No artificial colours or flavours (although natural colours and flavours are added- and can be poorly tolerated by some people)
🔹Nut free and gluten free (for those with allergies)
🔹Fat and sodium content within healthy guidelines, which is expected given the 'sweet' nature of this product.
🔹I think you've already guessed my first point. This is just juice with added sugar, made into a solid food. It's 60% sugar by weight and well and truly exceeds healthy guidelines. There's nothing else in it.
🔹I also doubt these snacks would fill kiddies up at snack time, given they only weigh about 17g.
🔹$31 a kilo is particularly expensive for a product made from cheap ingredients.
🔹I dislike claims that suggest "65% fruit juice" is a good thing. Especially when they don't clarify what sort of fruit juice (100% vs sweetened juice).
🔹Not sure that zombies or eyes popping out of heads make parents think this food is a good choice for kids. It is very much an occasional food.
🔹"Nice & Natural" is such a misleading company name. Natural does not necessarily mean healthy or better for you. This food is no different to a lolly.
🔶The alternatives: (cheaper and more nutritious)
🔹apples or strawberries (fresh or frozen)
🔹dried apples (similar texture but with fibre and no added sugar)
🔹100% fruit leather (more fibre)
🔹beef jerky (less sugar, similar texture- flat and chewy)
About Mealtime Building Blocks
Dr Kyla Smith is a paediatric dietitian specialising in fussy eating, feeding difficulties and childhood nutrition. Lauren Pike is an occupational therapist working in fussy eating and feeding difficulties. They have a private practice called Mealtime Building Blocks in Perth, Western Australia. You can connect with Kyla and Lauren on their website and sign up for their newsletter, and the Facebook page or on the Instagram page. You can also email them.