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Five Appealing Baby Foods

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You would think the recent baby boom among my friends and colleagues would put me in touch with my "parental" side. Instead, I've regressed, at least in terms of my eating habits. My recent exposure to baby and toddler cuisine has alerted me to a number of foods that satisfy more than just the creeping and crawling set. Here are my top five. Notice the absence of breast milk. That would be disgusting.

5. Juicy Juice. Not a "juice drink" nor a "juice cocktail," Juicy Juice, is well, 100 percent juice. In my childhood, flavors were restricted to grape and berry; now, there's orange tangerine, white grape, and mango. And you gotta go for the juice boxes, whose kid-size portions (4.23 oz and 6.75 oz) are great for curbing over-indulgence.

4. Earth's Best Letter of the Day Cookies. Available in "Very Vanilla" and "Oatmeal Cinnamon," these square treats feature different letters of the alphabet. In the past I have been dubious about whether such products really facilitate early literacy, but if you can already read, who the hell cares? Bring them as snack to your next meeting and passive-aggressively spell out insults to your coworkers.

3. Gerber NatureSelect Turkey & Sweet Potato Dinner. Have you ever been dying for a turkey dinner with all the trimmings but can't waste the time or the calories? Happens to me at least twice a week. While a jar of this rugrat mash won't completely quell your cravings, it does offer many of those Thanksgiving flavors in a convenient plastic tub.

2. Ella's Kitchen Organic Fruit Pouches. A terrific on-the-go snack, and, I hypothesize, a decent alternative to nasty-ass GU during endurance vents. I recommend the sweet potatoes, apples, pumpkin, and blueberries combo, but there are a number of alluring flavors.

1. Farina. Malt-O-Meal (MOM brands) holds the official trademark on "farina," though the name applies generally to warm cereal soup made from soft wheat. Babies love Farina's temperature and texture. Humans older than three years of age will also benefit from its high iron content and straight-forward preparation requirements. The taste is hardly mind-blowing, but sometimes mild is all you want the morning after a night of more, ugh, complicated tastes (re: margarita and pork enchilada at 1 a.m.).

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