Saturday, April 14, 2007
Snack Traps: Very Small Money Pits
I've spent much of Ranger's solid food eating career seeking the panacea of a truly spill-proof snack cup. Wouldn't it be wonderful for the little guy to serve up his own snacks in the backseat or the stroller? It's a beautiful dream, but only a dream.
We first tried the much-heralded Snack Trap (~$6 at Babies R Us). Like most of the self-serve snack cups, it has no airtight option. When the snacks remain in the cup for any measure of time they are exposed to air which can cause them to dry out if your child doesn't eat like a starved Wolverine or is choosing to reject your current snack offering. While this is annoying, air exposure surely doesn't represent a death knell for the cup if you're not storing long-term provisions in them (and who would do that?). It does however mean that you can't toss the cup into a backpack unless you want lint in your Cheerios and Cheerio dust everywhere else. Snack Trap offers "Snap-Over Lids" to solve this problem (~$2 NOT including shipping and not sold in most retail stores). That brings you cup cost to over $8. They also offer a "Stay Fresh" airtight lid that replaces the normal slotted lid for $1.50 (plus shipping) but doesn't dispense snacks. Although additional lids are more likely to end up in "storage" under our car seats and sofa, I had Ranger try the Snack Trap. The trap worked well for its first 10 minutes, but after more toddler testing, we found that it's flaps- made of mere Earthly materials- were not immune to bending. Ranger found the slightly altered cup very handy in relasing a wide school of Goldfish Crackers throughout the back of the car. The Snack Trap was promptly retired.
Next up was the Gerber Lil' Snackin' Bowl (I guess there is a short supply of letters at Gerber these days and an overabundance of punctuation) for $5 for a 2 bowl set. While there is Gerber feeding equipment we love, the Lil' Snackin' Bowl failed miserably at snack retention and rapidly became more annoying than it's predecessor. The bowl had the same always-open flaw like the basic Snack Trap, but it had no obvious remedies beyond a Ziplock baggie. Within milliseconds of Ranger receiving the loaded Lil' Snackin' he found the bowl's sweet spot above the the center retaining "tooth" (see top photo) and released its payload everywhere. By flicking his wrist while pressing the bowl open, he could shower his environs with ample snackage: just call him "Johnny Cheerioseed." Two down, one to go.
Our next challenger was the First Year's Take & Toss Perfect Portion Snack Saver (6 cups, 4 portion lids, and 2 storage lids for around $3.50). The packaging claims to allow different portion sizes according to the parent's wishes. Forget it, if your kid is awake, they will choose their own portion size- and it's wide open. This rigid lid seems more effective at containing snacks than the others, but probably because it provides less entertainment value by merely dumping its payload rather than launching it into the stratosphere. The portion lids are not airtight, nor do they lock in any position (including the closed position).
Apparently, a good snack holder is hard to find (possibly impossible). Save your money and accept a certain amount of escapee snack foods around the car, house, and planet. It's really okay, they'll know us by our trail of Cheerios.
Edit: We've since found a snack cup that works for the most part and, with three little kids, we don't leave home without them. Check out our review of a cup that actually works.
photo credit (top photo):
babytoolkit.blogspot.com, 2007. Reproduction allowed with attribution