Kid Cuisine takes me back to a time in my life where preparing my own meals was more of a novelty than a necessity. The more I think about how many years have passed since I last tore open one of their sky blue boxes, cut the film cover with a pair of safety scissors, and entertained myself with the contents of their Fun Pack, the older I feel.
And even though my appreciation for word search puzzles appears to have an inverse relationship with my appreciation for home-cooked meals, I found myself more than willing to jump at the chance of coming back this once beloved, now neglected brand.
Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches might have also invoked similar rose-tinted memories of brown-bag lunches and boxes of Hi-C Ecto-Cooler, if it weren’t invoking memories of just the other day. You can find PB&J deep fried at the Florida State Fair, or smoothiefied on the Underground Menu at your local Jamba Juice.
Not only are the ingredients cheap, but the sandwich is easy to make – a major plus for lazy 20-somethings such as myself. Not to mention Smucker’s has been providing their convenient pre-made crustless variety for some time now. But Kid Cuisine is on the scene, so let’s see of they can give Smucker’s a run for their green.
Kid Cuisine Snack Stix can be found in the grocery store next to their other frozen dinners, thankfully at the same price. The box touts the product’s real fruit juice filling, lack of high fructose corn syrup, and baked-not-fried nature, which is reflected in the nutrition facts. I couldn’t help but compare them to their obvious competition, Smucker’s Uncrustables which, despite being similarly priced and almost identically serving-sized, manage to have more calories and fat than the new guy.
Meant to be a GoGurt-esque snack for kids on the go, a stick can be briefly microwaved from frozen or thawed in your lunch box for your convenience. It also has a recommended consumption window of up to eight hours after defrosting, so if you forget it on your kitchen counter before you leave for the day, just eat it when you get home. In the highly unlikely event you experience food poisoning as a result, I accept no liability.
The four unassuming, individually wrapped sticks slide out of the box looking like small Hot Pockets, with a soft bread texture reminiscent of SideShots. I have to admit, my inner child was slightly disheartened at the lack of a Fun Pack. The package suggests patiently waiting two minutes after their 15 second microwave time, which I obediently obliged, remembering well my disastrous past experience with an overheated Pop-Tart.
The first bite revealed a modest flavor to accompany its modest appearance, with a somewhat disappointing amount of PB&J that further consumption showed to be… acceptable. The PB to J ratio was decent, something that I find most products often mess up (almost always too much jelly).
The PB&J itself I found a bit lacking in sweetness, with the bread tasting exactly as you would expect by looking at it. I fear that what they’ve gained in healthiness they’ve sacrificed in flavor, but when I remember that their target audience consists of sugar-sensitive children, I figure the ends justify the means.
Though personally underwhelming, I can’t help but respect the product’s healthiness, affordability, and mobility. Though I may never buy them for myself, I’m sure they’d be great for my nonexistent children.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 Snack Stix – 160 calories, 25 calories from fat, 3 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 65 milligrams of potassium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)
Item: Kid Cuisine Snack Stix Peanut Butter & Grape
Purchased Price: $2.29
Size: 4 Snack Stix per box
Purchased at: Publix
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Real fruit filling. No HFCS. Healthier than Uncrustables. Hi-C Ecto-Cooler. Rose-tinted memories.
Cons: Not very sweet. Needs a little more PB&J. No Fun Pack. Overheated Pop-Tarts. Getting older.