SO MANY requests for the Messy Monkey wholegrain bites. They’re fairly new, and by the sounds of it- fairly popular! The packaging promises the world, so are they any good? Let’s see…
🔹Flour mix [sorghum (24%), maize, rice, quinoa (12%)], sunflower oil, chickpea fibre, salt, natural flavour, onion powder, cream powder, emulsifier (sunflower lecithin)
🔹Common allergens include: milk
🔹This food is a source of fibre, unlike most snack foods. Each pack (20g) contains 2g of fibre (this technically doesn’t make it a high fibre food though- it would need 3g per serve) This amount of fibre meets 14% of a young child’s requirements and 11% of an older child’s fibre requirements.
🔹Sugar and saturated fat content meet healthy guidelines.
🔹The sodium content meets healthy guidelines (less than 420mg) but it’s getting up there at 398mg. Most crisps have about 500mg of sodium per 100g and Burger Rings (a similar shape to these bites) have almost 3 times the sodium content.
🔹Free from most common allergens (apart from milk), which is helpful for kids with food allergies.
🔹Fat content exceeds healthy guidelines with fat making up 18.1% of the product (recommended to be less than 10%). This fat content would come mainly from the oil used to fry the bites. Sunflower oil is high in polyunsaturated fat, which is a good fat, but it is still almost double the recommended amount. This is not dissimilar from most crisps at about 20g of fat per 100g but significantly less than Burger Rings.
🔹There’s no cheese in these cheese bites!
🔹They're are also incredibly expensive for what they are. An 8-pack costs $7 (although on sale now for $5.50 at Woolworths). This means that each pack usually costs 88c, which works out to $44 a kilo! That’s equivalent to the price of fillet steak, making it pretty expensive fried flour!
🔹So much marketing on these packets!! ‘Hidden goodness..from nutrient powerhouses and ancient grains.’ The wholegrain versions of these flours provide the fibre that I mentioned before. “Nutrient powerhouse” is a bit of a stretch though!
🔹’No artificial colours, flavours or preservatives’. Realistically, most products are free from these nowadays.
🔹’No palm oil, added MSG or nasties’. Great on the first two points, but long-time readers know my frustration with ‘nasties’. This means nothing!!
🔹’Four health stars’ and the missing one would have been lost for the total fat content.
🔹As a pre-packaged snack food, these wholegrain bites aren’t too bad! You may need to take out a second mortgage if your kids eat these regularly, but they’re definitely one of the better choices out there.
🔹Corn or rice cakes would be a much cheaper and nutritionally similar option.
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.