... a dreamer, freelance writer, massage therapist, naturopath, mother & drop-out social work student living, working and writing in the Blue Mountains. When not occupied with the real world, she writes fantasy.
Published March 1st 2013
Healthier supermarket snack food options for kids
The Little Bellies organic range for kids. Healthier product within appealing packaging.
Healthy snack and processed food products for kids remain a growing niche market as ever more educated yet time poor parents search for options to fill the divide between children's tastes and health.
Little Bellies organic range goes a long way to meeting the challenge. Boasting a bunch of positives - no artificial colours or flavours, no preservatives, use of wholegrains and superior products and certified organic ingredients - Little Bellies aim is to produce a healthier product that is low in the sugar, salt and chemicals that plague so many of their competitors.
Now we've got that out of the way, on with the taste testing....
With a name as winsome as Little Bellies, its' cute packaging and healthful goals, I'm already sold, as most parents will be. The tough stuff, as we know, is convincing the little ones. I'm cynical here.
My four year old was very enthused by the packaging and delighted by the shapes of the cereal and biscuits. However, a taste revealed to her that this wasn't those chocolate coated biscuits or sugar infested cereals she craves. Nevertheless, they weren't rejected and she managed to plough through a decent sampling of everything with no impetus from me. Could this mean the end of those horridly unhealthy chocolate biscuits?
My only criticism is that the majority of these products rely, like so much of the Western diet, on wheat and dairy ingredients. For those with no problem with that, this is a quality product.
As each Little Bellies item is a little different from the rest, here's my personal analysis of the individual products.
1. Fruity Choo Chews [apple, apricot and date]
Ahhh ...my personal favourite of their products.
The taste is great and in terms of sweetness, not too much different from what's out there (thus your kids will be fooled), BUT in this case all ingredients are certified organic and these are 88% real fruit.
Fab ingredients - organic vitamin E and Rosemary extract - are used as natural preservatives, making this a top quality snack product. Free of dairy and wheat (rice flour is used) it's perfect for those kids with allergies - or adults, might I add. I could see myself snacking out on these. Will definitely be on my future shopping list. If you must give the kiddies a naughty treat, this would be it.
Could be improved by the use of a superior oil to sunflower oil.
2. Muesli Choo Chews [berry and apple]
My second fave. This product is similar to the Fruity Choo Chews. In addition it contains Rolled Oats, Organic Berries and sweeteners including agave nectar and brown rice syrup. There's a negligible amount of sugar in the dried blueberries.
3. Fiddlesticks Organic Mini Breadsticks [with carrot and pumpkin]
These have a mild carroty taste and great texture and are easy to keep munching on. As the taste is mild, you could combine it with a healthy savoury dip.
The ingredients are wheat flour, extra virgin olive oil, carrot power, pumpkin puree, yeast and sea salt. Unlike the other Little Bellies products, this uses only refined wheat flour, not the wholegrain form of cereal.
4. Fiddlesticks Organic Mini Breadsticks [cheese]
Like the above, but with a slight cheese taste. They contain wheat and spelt flour, wholegrain wheat flour, extra virgin olive oil, cheese, yeast and sea salt.
5. Animal Biscuits
These ultra cute animal shaped biscuits contain wholegrain and plain wheat flour, vegetable oil and raising agent. Grape juice is used as a naturally sweetener. Possibly one of the healthiest kids sweet biscuits you will find out there. Could be improved by using a better quality oil than vegetable oil. A non-wheat range would also be welcome for those allergy prone kids. On the whole, a top product of its type.
6. Number 3 Cereal
Slightly peach flavoured, this is a kids cereal made of a mix of wholegrains from wheat, rice, corn and buckwheat. It also contains skimmed milk powder, sugar, corn syrup and some calcium. The numbers are cute. For me personally, I'll stick to oatmeal porridge, but for kids that like cereal this could be a more healthy option than what's generally on the shelf.
7. Mini Gingerbread Men
Similar to the animal biscuits, but these small gingerbread biscuits have a snappy ginger taste. They are composed of wholegrain and plain wheat flour, grape juice concentrate, vegetable oil, ginger and raising agent.
Where to Buy Little Bellies
Little Bellies Organic range can be purchased from Woolworths, Coles, IGA, Franklins, Big W, health food stores and other suppliers. Not all their entire range is available through all suppliers. For specific details and more information, check out the Little Bellies website.
Little Bellies is very reasonably and competitively priced for what it is. Check out the prices below.
Peach Number Cereal $5.99
Animal Biscuits $3.29
Mini Gingerbread Men $3.29
Cheese Fiddlesticks $3.49
Carrot and Pumpkin Fiddlesticks $3.49
Muesli Choo Chews $3.99
Fruity Choo Chews $3.99
Please note, storage of these products is important. Better quality food products generally do not store as well as their artificial counterparts. Keep stored in airtight containers out of sunlight once open. The biscuits in particular need good storage and can lose their crispness.
Children used to junk food highly saturated in addictive flavourings, sugar and salt, might need time convincing. While fresh, whole foods are always preferable to processed ones, the Little Bellies range provides that compromise between serving processed food items and treats and looking after the health of our little ones.
With its emphasis on wholegrains and superior organic produce, Little Bellies products are a cut above what exists out there in the world of supermarket snack food. A very welcome addition to the aisle and helpmate to health conscious parents. As a relatively inexpensive organic food product, it is to be commended.
Little Bellies is suitable for babies from 12 months to toddlers and young children. Food sizes are made to fit little hands and tiny mouths.