Enter the world of: Probiotic snacks for children! Health Lab Kids Bites comes in three flavours, choc, berry and apricot. The following review is on the choc probiotic bites. Is this an important food to offer for gut health? Let’s see…
🔹Dates, pumpkin seeds, coconut, cacao (9%), coconut oil
🔹Probiotic component (2%): Inulin – this is a type of fibre, probably used in this product as a PREbiotic (more about this soon), Bacillis coagulin – this is the probiotic AKA ‘healthy’ bacteria
🔶 The positives:
🔹Very low in sodium!
🔹Contains probiotics which are good for little tummies. The amount is displayed on the ingredient list and nutrient panel, which is a good sign. Probiotic count is known to decrease during production and storage stages, however this type of probiotic is known for its stability.
🔹Has 2.6g/serve of fibre, which doesn’t quite reach the goal of 3g/serve. The fibre content is most likely from the dates, pumpkin seeds, and inulin (the ‘prebiotic’ I mentioned before). Prebiotics are different to PRObiotics, but similar to fibre (although technically not the same thing). Basically, probiotics use both prebiotics and fibre as a food source to survive. One serving or ‘bite’ is 19% of a very young child’s, and 14% of an older child’s total daily fibre intake.
🔹Uses some organic and fair-trade ingredients. For those ethical mums out there!
🔹Gluten free for coeliac and gluten-intolerant kiddies
🔹Unique way to incorporate probiotics into a pantry food, rather than the traditional way of yoghurt or supplements
🔶 The negatives:
🔹Has 30.5g/100g total fat which is 3x more than recommended, ouch!
🔹Has 18g/100g saturated fat which is 9x higher than recommended…not good! This would be from the coconut oil.
🔹Has 29.4g/100g of sugar, nearly twice the recommended amount! Sure, the sugar is ‘natural’ coming from dates but the amount suggests that there’s a lot of date in the final product. Plus they’re sticky! This means they’re likely to get stuck in little one’s teeth (increasing risk of dental caries).
🔹5 bites in one pack, making each bite $1.10 or $275/kg…no words!
🔹There is limited evidence in the science literature that investigates the health benefits of this particular strain of bacteria. More research is needed to comment.
🔶 The marketing:
🔹Although this product is advertised as having no added sugar, the nutritional profile suggests that it’s mostly date. I’d estimate that there’s at least 2 dates per ‘bite’.
🔹Beware, this company puts a ‘health halo’ over the coconut oil by using statements like ‘100% honest ingredients’, ‘organic’ and ‘fair-trade’ in the ingredients list. But, coconut oil is not even slightly magical, so don’t be fooled!
🔹Health Lab uses Bec Judd as a ‘Mumbassador’, but this partnership is likely a paid one. Keep in mind that Bec Judd is an influencer and businesswomen, not an accredited nutritionist or dietitian. I love her style, but I’m not as supportive of these bites.
🔹I’m confused as to why this food is marketed towards kids? It seems to be similar to any other ‘natural’ bar or ball-type snack that is mostly composed of dried fruit, coconut oil and nuts. Can anyone out there help me with this?
🔶 The alternatives
🔹This product’s serving size is quite small at 20g (imagine the size of one protein ball) Letting your little one have just one serving is OK, just don’t let the probiotic content or celebrity endorsement trick you into thinking that this product is healthy.
🔹Fat and natural sugar aren’t awful things to let kids eat, because they are growing and need the energy! However, the most concerning part about this product is the ~20% saturated fat content. If the kids want something sweet, why not give them actual dates and nuts?
🔹There does not seem to be any similar product that incorporates a probiotic in a bar-type snack. But, the yoghurt is still a preferable choice. For example, Brownes Natural Wiggles Yoghurt Pouch contains three times the amount of live cultures, and includes three different strains that are substantially more researched than the one found in this product.
🔹I would consider this product as a sweet treat rather than a health food.
🔹In summary, this is a high sugar and fat product targeted at kids, masked as a probiotic health food with celebrity endorsement
About Toddler Mealtimes
Toddler Mealtimes is an online subscription for parents who want to feel confident about teaching their toddler to enjoy a variety of foods. It's particularly helpful for those who are noticing their toddler becoming increasingly fussy, but they're not quite sure to handle it. The 12 month subscription guides you through managing toddler fussiness with confidence with regular tips and tricks via videos and photos. Sign up here www.toddlermealtimes.com.au
About Baby Mealtimes
Baby Mealtimes is an online subscription for parents with babies aged 4-12 months. It’s your one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about introducing solid food to your baby. The monthly subscription (or 8 month package) guides you through what to offer and when, with meal ideas and a photo gallery of over 120 finger foods organised by age. Sign up here www.babymealtimes.com.au
About Mealtime Building Blocks
Dr Kyla Smith and Liz Beaton are paediatric dietitians 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, Liz and Lauren here www.mealtimes.com.au