What is it about kids and fruit leather? Why, whenever my children get near them, do they tear into it like lions masticating a gisele carcass? I understand their passion. When I was a kid, the only way my mother could get me to stay put in the grocery cart was if she plied me with an glistening apricot fruit roll-up. I licked and sucked the thing until I couldn’t take it anymore then ripped into my roll-up just like my lion cubs do now.
For me, fruit roll-ups were a treat reserved for outings. They never entered our home because my mother assumed, smartly, that they were no better than candy. I’ve always bought organic fruit leather for my kids’ lunch boxes because it’s the one thing I know they’ll eat. I tell myself it’s fruit and that fruit is good. I’ve made a point of not reading the list of ingredients. “There may be fruit in them,” my doctor told me when I admitted my kids ate them regularly, “but they’re hell on teeth.”
I ignored him. And was excited — if a little skeptical —when a new “healthy” fruit product crossed my desk. Clif Kid’s Twisted Fruit looks a lot like a fat piece of licorice making it hard to pass off as fruit. The press materials touted the snack’s first three ingredients: organic apple puree, apple juice and “fruit flavors” while rhe first three ingredients in “fruit candy,” they helpfully pointed out, are sugar, corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils. I felt validated.
Later at home when I offered the Twisted Fruit to my kids they smacked their lips as if on cue. After ripping off the plastic wrap they downed the new treat in about 30 seconds before putting out their sticky hands for another one. I said no — one fruit thingie a day is our rule. Tantrums ensued.
Is the organic sugar in a Fruit Twist that much better for my kids than regular old sugar? Doubtful. Because I’m scared of my pediatrician, I may try to move them into the dessert category. But I’ll never take them away.
Tell us: What are your kids’ favorite sweet snacks?