When I was 12, I tricked my younger cousin into taking a bite of broccoli by saying it tasted like pizza. Of course, it didn’t, and he’s harbored side-eye towards me ever since.
If Sun-Maid’s Bites existed almost two decades ago, I’d like to think I’d be successful in tricking him into eating healthier. These new fruit, nut, and oat bites come in four different flavors and are all loaded with California raisins!
All the flavors are “kidtastic” (per the little flag graphic on the front) classics like PB&J, Banana Split, S’mores, and Birthday Cake. To reinforce fun and disguise, they’re all very visually appealing and quite aromatic. You can only tell there are dried grapes if you look closely and/or read the ingredients list.
I was pleasantly surprised by the form of these. The flat one-inch squares looked tasty. The sprinkles on the Banana Split and Birthday Cake were a nice touch! Even the flavors sans said colorful bits – PB&J and S’mores – looked like tasty morsels. The PB&J one had strawberry pieces – only quality real fruit from Lorraine (the Sun-Maid gal in the logo), mind you! The s’mores flavor had nice chocolate drizzle and cute, teeny tiny marshmallows.
I started with Birthday Cake because who doesn’t like festive foods?! The smell was unmistakably vanilla frosting-like. However, it tasted more like oat and even a bit like the way Play-Doh smells. Is this what they meant by kidtastic?! Kids (including myself) have been known to sample Play-Doh at least once during childhood.
I quickly moved onto the Banana Split flavor. As someone who generally prefers ANYTHING chocolatey, I thought this was a winning combo at first. There was an immediate dark chocolate flavor followed by a subtle banana taste. I appreciated that it wasn’t anything like banana-flavored Laffy Taffy or Runts.
I kept eating these until, at some point, it began to taste more like bubblegum to me. I’m unclear on what ingredient build-up causes this effect. But, after that entered my noggin, I couldn’t un-taste it, which ruined it for me. I’m going to chalk it up to the vague “natural flavors” ingredient.
Next up was S’mores as I was trying to get rid of the gum taste. The smell was the most artificial of the four and reminded me of the cinnamon/pumpkin spice room spray used in Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion over the holidays. I know that’s very specific, but if you haven’t been on the ride – think fall-scented Glade or Febreze. This smell translated to an artificial tasting eat and an even more unpleasant aftertaste. It’s like they tried to amp up the graham flavor, but the cinnamon note overpowers and lingers. My favorite part of the eating experience was using my front teeth to nibble the tiny marshmallows.
I left PB&J for the grand finale because, honestly, it seemed the most boring. But, this was my favorite flavor because it truly captured the classic sammich in bite-size form. It had just the right touch of sweetness from the fruit. Also, as a crunchy peanut butter fan, I appreciate the bits of peanuts. I suspect the little ‘uns may not gravitate towards this one as much because the raisins are the most visible.
Across the four flavors, the texture was better than expected. The PB&J was a harder chew for some reason, but I’m sure it would work fine for baby teeth! Warning: I got oat and raisin bits occasionally stuck in my molars, but no biggie – it’s a snack for later, right?
I can truly see the appeal of these for parents who want to feed their kids nutritious foods that their kids would actually enjoy eating. It’s made with whole fruit/whole grain/nuts, only 4 to 5 grams of added sugar, and does NOT contain any artificial flavors or synthetic colors.
Cheers to hiding fruit in your kiddo’s (or cousin’s) snacks!
Purchased Price: $2.99 each
Size: 3 oz. pouches
Purchased at: Meijer
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Birthday Cake), 6 out of 10 (Banana Split), 3 out of 10 (S’mores), 7 out of 10 (PB&J)
Nutrition Facts: (4 pieces) Birthday Cake – 120 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of sugars, 5 grams of added sugars, and 2 grams of protein. Banana Split – 120 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 20 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of sugars, 5 grams of added sugars, and 2 grams of protein. S’mores – 110 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of sugars, 5 grams of added sugars, and 2 grams of protein. PB&J – 120 calories, 5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of sugars, 4 grams of added sugars, and 3 grams of protein.