Are toddler foods a waste of money?

Kristen - posted on 08/04/2010 ( 33 moms have responded )

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Is it worth spending the extra money on expensive toddler foods such as yoghurt or cheese snacks? Or do they get the same nutritional value from regular yoghurt and the toddler designed foods are an expensive marketing ploy?

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Susan - posted on 08/05/2010

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It sort of depends how old your child is. Up until 9-12 months we fed our daughter some of those toddler snacks because they were small and sort of starter foods and basically healthy (we've never bought those meals or special juice though). After she turned a year, she was eating pretty much all our foods. I think you can find just as many healthy adult snacks for much cheaper. Like the previous mom said, the reason for the baby yogurt is that it's made with whole milk which is good for brain development just like they recommend drinking whole milk until about 2 years old. I bought it once or twice when I had a coupon, but it's really expensive. Now I buy Yoplait Kids yogurt which isn't too expensive and it has 25% less sugar and is only reduced fat instead of fat free. Also the cups are smaller than an adult cup so we don't waste if she can't finish the adult sized one. I asked the pediatrician about it around a year old and they even said the whole milk yogurt wasn't that big a deal. You figure it's a really small portion of their entire diet.

Crystal - posted on 08/05/2010

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I think that some toddler foods aren't a waste of money. I use to buy both and still do for my 3 year old. It depends, like for yogurt I started out with not neccesarily the yo baby or any baby ones but like the Dora and Trix ones I bought. That allowed them to try them, now I buy a mixture of both regular yogurt and the charater ones. Those puffs were really awesome, I bought those all the time. One for diaper bag, one for car, some at home and peoples houses we went often. Some of those other toddler items in the aisle like the little dinners I never really bought except if they were going to someones house, it was just easier that way.Some foods are made just so they get more money, but they also know that a character on the front will make a difference if your kid chooses to eat it or not. My daughter sees Dora on the front and thinks because Dora eats it, it must be good. Maybe it's wrong but it's kind of a reward for eating healthy things.

Danielle - posted on 08/07/2010

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I feed my toddler the same food that we eat. Toddler food is high in sodium and other junk if you read the label. It's also really expensive. I only gave my babies baby food the first couple of months they started solids and then I would give them table food. I put all of their food in the processor so it was smooth and easy to eat. INstead of warm water to make the food mushy I would steam veggies and use the water that was left in the pot to soften their food. This water was warm and very rich in the veggies' nutrients.

Natalie - posted on 08/06/2010

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When my daughter was getting her first teeth I bought the puffs and the wagon wheels for her. They were easy on her gums because they dissolved easily. I always had a stock of baby food..but WIC also paid for it. Once I bought the gerber graduates meals. She didnt like them so much so I didnt buy them anymore. As for juices, I still splurge on them, I buy sugar free juices or Motts for Tots. It has a lot less sugar than regular apple juice. I buy her packs of string cheese, the danimals yogurts, and also teddy grams or nutter butters in the zip up bags. That is the only real "junk" I buy for her. In my opinion, there are SOME things, that I dont compromise on. Juice is the main.

Dolly - posted on 08/05/2010

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I bought Yo baby for a long time because it was whole milk and cane sugar, but now I buy either trader joes yogurt cups or adult yogurt made with real sugar not artificial sweetener. They are not easy to find as all yogurt is fat free, light etc. I do not feed my child those products.

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Jen - posted on 08/09/2010

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My daughter did a mix of toddler food and regular food. The main difference is the salt content and sugar content. We use the toddler food for day care, but we also now buy chef boyardee and lunchables.

Justina - posted on 08/09/2010

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They are a waste of money, but I got sucked in with some of the items like the fruit roll ups, and those puffs, and also those microwavable toddler meals.

Amanda - posted on 08/09/2010

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i was buying the gerber toddler meals as i found them helpful to send off to her sitters when i was working. meant she had a good meal. for at home i only purchase the snacks like crunchies (which she loves) and breakfast bars for days when we have to go out early and there's no time to give her a proper breakfast. They tide her over just long enough we can get things done. otherwise i do think they're a little overpriced and unnecessary.

Suzanne - posted on 08/08/2010

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I would just get the normal yoghurt but with the right bacteria in it, ABC I think it is. Good for their digestion and helps fight bugs.

I get the normal cheese sticks and feed the girls our cheese, they like vintage cheese or just plain cheese. Any cheese is great for them. So it should not matter. I would not spend too much as they will eat heaps of it and you just have to buy more. Also if you are making a big meal freeze portions that are toddler appropriate for them. This way it is a cheaper option to buying toddler food.

However I normally have some emergency in the cupboard as with twins we do go through the amounts and it can make things easier when you don't feel like cooking. Also it gives them different tastes and vitamins with things I might not have cooked with before. I don't buy expensive brands just the normal ones that will be great for an emergency.

Samantha - posted on 08/08/2010

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honestly I think toddler foods are not only too expensive but often have too many unnatural ingredients. I started off giving my daughter toddler foods/snack but now give her way smaller portions of what I eat. She gets more fresh produce and good quality grains this way as well.

Victoria - posted on 08/08/2010

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You already answered yourself - they are an expensive marketing ploy.
Just check the nutrition information on food you are buying to make sure it is not full of sugar or salt.
Maybe a couple of toddler packets are good for convenience when out and about - but you can't beat something like a banana for a nutritious snack.

Jennifer - posted on 08/08/2010

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toddler foods are a waste. the only thing i gave my son was the puffs and that was just because of the choking hazard. for what i would spend in toddler food for one week i could feed my whole family for two.

BethAnn - posted on 08/08/2010

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I give my 11/2 year old whatever we are eating (cut up of course and lower on spice) but we have a daytime nanny and for her I leave the gerber graduates, they are more expensive but I feel better knowing what she is going to eat this way and as we have a young nanny I don;t have to rely on her knowing what is and is not appropriate for her to eat, she also feels more comfotable with the meals. But when it is just me and Abi through the weekend we do just whatever we are eating.

Tammy - posted on 08/08/2010

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There is a few toddler snacks that are fun to get like the sweet potato puffs but other than that, my kids ate what I made but I also made their baby food since the processed stuff tastes awful. Cook fresh carrots in a little water until soft then taste the difference compared to processed baby food. Unsweetened apple sauce, whole milk cheeses, fresh veggies and fruit are healthy for your toddler.

Teri - posted on 08/07/2010

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I made my own - just casseroles with veggies cut up smaller (and cooked more well done) than normal. my kids loved tehm and it intro'd them to foods that they now eat like broccoli, brussel sprouts, green beans, etc.

Cristina - posted on 08/07/2010

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Yes, they are, I make most of my son's food at home, but well, there are some toddler foods that he likes and I do buy, like his Dan-o-nino's, but other than that, I try to make it all, deserts snacks and all, and at the end it's better for him and cheaper for me. Plus have you really read all the crap that toddler foods have added to them, I just get disgusted giving that to my son, I rather give something that I know what it has in it, I try to eat as natural as I can, no canned foods or veggies, if I can't afford fresh I go to the next best thing frozen veggies.

Pam - posted on 08/07/2010

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i find that the toddler foods are not really worth it i buy my 20 month old animal crackers, trix yogurt, and chefboyardee pasta. he also likes rits-bits cheese
crackers. i hope this helps.

Cheryl - posted on 08/07/2010

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The only thing I really noticed different was the portion size..which is to be expected, little people get smaller portions. They also have some foods for toddlers that they can't choke on as easily because they are designed to basically melt in your childs mouth which is really nice, it makes you a little more at ease as your child starts eating more foods. Now, apple sauce, my husband and I just got a huge jar, its cheaper and pretty much the same thing as the little jar kind.

Jessica - posted on 08/06/2010

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I get the toddler yogurt because it doesn't have the preservatives and is made just right for toddlers. (the kids yogurt is fine to give a toddler (I get it for myself. I'm unsure about the adult yogurt). I buy the little cheese snacks and dissolving bites , too. They are less choking hazard and low calorie. They have more nutritional value than say.. Cheese Puffs. I buy Juicy Juice or Motts or V8 Fusion or V8 Fruit Smoothie or Gerber Juice (my daughter loves the mixed fruit). The Fruit Splashers and similar are so not worth the money.

As far as the gerber graduates toddler food (or similar), I get a few for convenience if going out or to a family member's house. I feel that they are a rip off price wise. I fed my toddler what I ate most of the time.

Jessica - posted on 08/06/2010

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I have never given in to the hype. It's the same. If you read the labels , some are actually not even good for you!

Vegemite - posted on 08/05/2010

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I'm really careful about dairy products like yogurt and milk and get vaalia toddler yogurt and my kids will have toddler formula until they're 3. Only because I have found the adult stuff gives them upset tummys. Also studies have shown that giving milk too early can create life time digestion problems.If you get a good formula they only need 1-2 250ml servings a day so cost is not too high. With everything else they just have what we do

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Marketing ploy for sure. Kids can eat the exact same thing we eat, just like we did when we were kids. Kids yoghurt are fully of sugar that makes them really un-nutritional. I do the same as the other lady, i just make sure the food is on a smaller plate so they're not overwhelmed with too much food. also try not to buy anything with lite or diet on it. buy as natural are possible, this isn't expensive. you tend to spend less and eat less because your fully for longer.

Leigh - posted on 08/05/2010

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Yes it is a waste of money. As a single mother my little one would much rather eat what I am eating then something different.

Kia - posted on 08/05/2010

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i but toddler everything! just think about all of the sodium and chemicals are in some of our foods, especially canned, i do it just to be safe :)

Krista - posted on 08/05/2010

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i think that the foods that we eat have just as much nutrients in it as the toddler foods. I do not buy toddler foods i give my child regular food, i think its a waste of money to buy the toddler foods.

Gwen - posted on 08/05/2010

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They are a total waste, in my opinion. Why would anyone want to pay 5 bucks for a little fancy plastic bottle of cheerios when you can buy the whole box for 1/2 the price. I bought Dannon All Natural yogurt in the 32oz. tub. It doesn't have artificial flavors or sweeteners and cost a fraction of the price of "baby" yogurt. I also buy block cheese or cheese sticks. Cheese is cheese.

User - posted on 08/04/2010

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I gave my kids soft table foods and tastes of what I ate....Chef boy ardee foods....Only thing I bought where the puff rice kinda toddler snacks just for choking reasons......never bought toddler juice.....Plus WIC doesn't give you that stuff so yeah don't buy it.....Just water it down a lil so it's not so sweet and tart.

Cheerios are always good....too

Tiffany - posted on 08/04/2010

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Adult food usually has more sugar and sodium than the toddler foods do. I did buy a few toddler stuff just to introduce something new, then switch to the adult version. For example, I'd buy the puffs for a week or two, then switch to Cheerios. And the toddler juices, I never bought those. I just cut regular juice with water.

Christine - posted on 08/04/2010

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yup, the puffs are awesome. good thing with baby items is that they're natural and don't have any chemicals. if you don't buy baby snacks, buy natural. it's makes a huge difference in the attitude of your baby when you give them natural vs chemical. if you buy on sale and with coupons it's the same price. :)

Mindy - posted on 08/04/2010

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For the most part yes, but thet are alot of help on trips and docs office etc. I loved those containers with the puffs.

Kristen - posted on 08/04/2010

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She generally eats what we do for main meals, but I was not sure about the adult yoghurt etc........

Saundra - posted on 08/04/2010

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I have never bought them myself. My kid's doctor has always told me there is nothing magical about baby food or toddler foods. I have always feed them off the table. I say don't wast your money teach them to eat what you do.

Bailey - posted on 08/04/2010

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I think that with toddlers you can give them the same things we eat. I really can't afford the gogerts and stuff so I get regular yogert and put it in a cool toddler bowl. I get snacks like goldfish, string cheese, bananas, peanut butter crackers. My little guy likes all that and he's healthy without the big expense

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