A late entry for Monday Bites today (yes, I know it’s Tuesday!) because I switched off (literally and metaphorically) over the long Easter weekend to spend some quality time with my family. Bonus baby dressed as a bunny photo at the end of this post! Hope you had a lovely Easter time!
So what’s on the menu today? I thought I would move away from the baby-specific foods on the market and review a classic; the old faithful Arnott’s Cruskit. The humble Cruskit has been helping babies and toddlers learn to chew for years, but has it been superseded by all the new baby-specific foods on the market? Let’s find out.
Recommended Age: not specified
Age you could give these: 6mo + (with close supervision for the younger ones)
Shape: Flat rectangle
Size: About mobile phone sized
Texture: Bite & slow melt-in-the-mouth
The Cruskit was probably one of the first melt-in-the-mouth foods that you could buy for your child, back in the day. In the last few years, as Baby Led Weaning has taken off with a huge following, food companies have caught on and released multitudes of various finger foods and snack foods that have a similar texture. But it’s a catch-22. By wanting to corner the baby and toddler demographic, which is lucrative, the food companies need to comply with all manner of health and food guidelines, which is a pain. As a result, most of the baby-specific finger foods are in small pieces (rather than large choking sized pieces*) and are VERY rapid melt-in-the-mouth (again, because of perceived choking risks). And they tend to overestimate the age at which kids can eat their foods, as a bit of a way of avoiding too many potential lawsuits, I’m guessing.
So the Cruskit is unique in the sense that it doesn’t have to fit all the ‘super safe’ baby guidelines, and as a result, you have a more challenging food that has many benefits because of it.
Cruskits will melt in your mouth with just saliva, eventually. But they work best with saliva AND chewing motions, which is perfect for babies learning to eat and chew. If the food melts too quickly in the mouth, all the baby has to do is suck on it, which is fine but limited in teaching chewing skills. The Cruskit will not disappear in your mouth. It becomes soft, and chewy, and holds it’s shape. This encourages babies to gnaw, chew, gum, suck and move it all around in their mouth (and if they can’t swallow it down, it’s quite easy to scoop out). Pro-tip: snap the Cruskit lengthways to create two long batons that are easier for little hands to hold, and easier to fit into mouths, AND it encourages biting. Tick, tick, tick!
Cruskits are also handy because you can spread all kinds of things onto them, from peanut butter to avocado. This means you can introduce some nutritional value, as well as variety, into your baby’s finger foods. This is an essential part of helping your baby get used to variety in their meals, rather than becoming rigid, picky and fussy about food always being a certain way (or from a certain packet).
Cruskits are much more economical than the baby-specific foods. Another plus is that there are all different varieties of Cruskits so if you have a child with food allergies or intolerances, you could probably find a variety that will suit (for example, pictured are the Corn variety which we buy because they happen to be dairy free). The original wheat Cruskits have the best texture and melt-in-the-mouth properties (probably because of the butter in them), but the other varieties aren’t bad.
So all up, Cruskits still offer something unique and useful for babies learning to eat. A big thumbs up from me, and a 4-star rating!
*I would argue that actually some of the small little puffs and wheel shaped finger foods on the market are more likely to be a choking risk because a baby is more likely to pop the whole thing into their mouth at once, as they do not have to do any biting... but that’s a debate for another day!
Disclaimer: remember to always supervise your baby when they are eating, no matter how easy you think the food might be to eat.