Shannon Waldis is the mom to 4-year-old Reid, a little shiny star in her eyes. She lives her life as a series of adventures and encourages the people around her to follow their intuition and live what they love. After a 15-year career in design, she followed her own advice and changed her path, and, along with her father, invented Squooshi, a reusable food pouch. Shannon is a California native who now resides on the East coast with her husband and son. You can usually find her dancing in the kitchen with her son, and blending up all sorts of green goodness for Squooshi pouches!
Stonyfield recently had the opportunity to chat with Shannon and here’s what she had to say:
Q: Thank you so much for taking the time to share the Squooshi story with our readers! Like many other moms of young children, I depend on pouches for healthier on-the-go snacking. There are many great options out there, but sometimes I’d rather be able to make my own pouch filling. That’s why I was so excited to learn about your company and wanted to share information about Squooshi with our readers. So first tell us, what is a Squooshi?
A: Squooshi is a patent pending reusable food pouch. They are adorable and refillable squeeze packs that give you the freedom to give your babies and kids healthy food in a fun container they’ll love to use. With a sturdy zip-lock style seal located on the bottom of the pouch and a choke-proof cap, Squooshi reusable food pouches can be filled with whatever squishy wholesome goodness you and your little ones desire for a healthy, on-the go snack or meal. Fill. Eat. Wash. Repeat. It’s that easy.
Q: Can you share with us the Squooshi story? Why and how did you start the company?
A: When my son Reid was about 14 months old, I ran into a neighbor whose son was eating a store bought pouch filled with a veggie blend. She called it “astronaut food”. I was intrigued and went up to the local health food store, which was one of the only places that carried them at the time. I bought some and Reid LOVED them. It was so fun for him to hold and squeeze them. He learned how to roll up the bottom and get out every last drop. I was thrilled to have him eating veggie puree as a snack, but I felt bad buying these while I was constantly making my own food and green smoothies at home. I was also spending about 40-50$ a month on these.
One day I just had the idea…I should make a reusable version of these! I began to brainstorm with my dad Noel, who has a background in manufacturing, and together we created Squooshi – reusable food pouches designed for healthy fun, convenience, and less waste
Q: What are your (and Reid’s!) favorite Squooshi fillings?
A: Well, as a mom, I am always thrilled to see my son chomping down on green veggies, so my favorite fillings are green veggie, fruit & yogurt blends that are giving Reid essential vitamins, minerals and protein. As far as what Reid likes, it really changes as he changes. Right now he likes yogurt blends with more citrus than berry. So, I will throw some plain or vanilla Greek yogurt in a blender with an orange, a frozen banana, pineapple, a little coconut oil and some fresh spinach leaves. Then I put it in a large Squooshi in his lunchbox. It’s really delicious!
Q: Do you have any tips for busy moms?
A: I am a huge fan of batch cooking. I will spend an hour or so on the weekend cooking and filling pouches for the week so I can just grab one when we are running out the door or I can put one in Reid’s lunchbox when he goes to school. I will choose something I know freezes well and I can use in two different blends.
Carrot-Applesauce & Apple, Pear, Spinach
You can quickly peel and chop apples, pears and carrots. Then put them in a steamer insert in separate piles. Steam the spinach for a second in another pan. When they are all finished you just need to separate out what you need for each blend and puree. Pour or spoon into your Squooshi and freeze.
You have used a cutting board, peeler, knife, two pans and your blender and you can have snacks on the go for a week!
I personally drink green smoothies almost everyday so it is very easy for me to make my smoothie and then add some yogurt to Reid’s Squooshi for his lunchbox.
Another tip that is great for busy moms is to buy a large container of yogurt and/or applesauce and then, in the morning, just put a scoop of either of those in a blender, throw in a handful of spinach and blend. Pour into a Squooshi and you have a super nutritious snack that takes about 5 minutes to prepare.
Q: Can you share some tips for getting your son to eat healthy?
A: I try to lead by example and make eating healthy food fun. Actually, I think eating healthy is fun! I try to eat and offer fresh healthy food at every meal. I ask Reid to help me shop at the grocery store, put the food away with me in the kitchen and help me prepare meals. He has his own drawer in the kitchen where he can choose from any of the options at any time. The drawer may include, Squooshi’s with yogurt / fruit & veggie blends, homemade granola bars we make together, dried fruit, nuts and cut up carrots & celery. Does Reid want super healthy food every day, no! But, I don’t stress out about it if one day he eats carrots and the next day he thinks they taste funny. I say, “Well, isn’t that interesting? Maybe your taste buds have changed, maybe you will like carrots another day.” We just move on and try something else.
Q: What role does organic food play in your family?
A: I try to buy organic fruits & veggies whenever I can. I think it’s important eliminate harmful chemicals and pesticides from our bodies and lives. However, it really does get very expensive. Some foods are more important to buy organic than others. For example fruit with a thick skin can be purchased non-organic, like banana, mango and even avocado.
Q: What are the top items you always try to purchase organic?
A: I believe that any food you are giving to a baby, should be organic. I am not a meat eater, but if I were, I would only buy organic. I also only buy organic dairy, leafy greens and berries.
Q: What are you most excited about at the moment?
A: Spring! I live back east and it has been a long, cold winter. The warmer weather, chance to be outdoors all day,and new growth is really exciting.