Kids Snacks: California Mandarins (Cuties)

by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD on December 10, 2010

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We eat a lot of fruit in my house.  Not only do my kids love (little D is coming around) it makes a nice snack when the next meal isn’t too far away, such as the late afternoon. 

So the snack I’m highlighting today are California Cuties. According their website, the term “Cuties” refers to two varieties of mandarins: Clementine mandarins and Murcott mandarins.  Here are 5 reasons I love them:

1.  They are in season:  From November to April Cuties are in season.  Now is the time to enjoy them!   

2.  Easy to peel: Kids love to peel Cuties because it’s so easy.  I just help Big A get started and she loves to “do it herself.”

3. Packed with nutrition: According to the their website, two Cuties contain 260 DV for vitamin C.  I always talk about adding vitamin C to meals, like breakfast, to increase the absorption of iron rich foods.  This is a great choice.

They are also a good source of folic acid, potassium, niacin and thiamin.

4. Tasty on-the-go snack: Cuties are super sweet and easy to just throw in my purse.

5. My daughter loves them: I think Big A’s record is 8 Cuties (in a row).  She loves them.  My 20-month old is too young for them.  Watch out because Cuties might be hard to chew and swallow for younger children.

So who out there loves Cuties too?

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren December 10, 2010 at 9:41 am

we are currently going through about 3 bags a week for our family of 3 lol.

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Reijo Laatikainen December 10, 2010 at 9:41 am

As a father of two boys I agree, Cuties are great snacks for kids. However, we dietitians and other nutrition professionals have much work ahead in order to increase consumption of fruit. According to the fresh report from OECD ( http://bit.ly/i85NHQ ) , it’s only 1/3 of European kids that consume fruit daily. And my home country Finland lies at the bottom of the statistics :-( Practical tips like yours are needed!

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Jenny December 10, 2010 at 9:55 am

We love Cuties. The do it yourself factor is huge here. They are the perfect snack size, and much more reliably sweet and juicy than regular oranges are. We recently tried some in muffins. Yum! Chopped cuties and some mini chocolate chips.

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Jackie December 10, 2010 at 10:33 am

Hi Maryann! So funny, I just wrote a blog post about clementines too! Unfortunately we don’t get through them as fast as I’d like us to in my house, so they end up going bad. We turned our last browning box of them into potpourri! (The house smelled lovely but, of course, I’d prefer that we ate them if poss).

I just read Jenny’s comment above about putting them in muffins!! Genius! I would never have thought of that. I’ll use her tip and your muffin recipe! And that is why I love this blog! Thanks for sharing.

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Leigh Anne Wray December 10, 2010 at 11:13 am

Just a warning though: at our house, too many Cuties ingested by a diaper-wearing child causes very bad diaper rash! We’ve enjoyed them much more since potty-training!

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Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD December 10, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Thanks for the warning!! Luckily my girl is potty trained.

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Merri Ann December 10, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Like the others, Cuties are a huge hit in our house. But I think you left one of the best parts off the 5 reasons … THEY ARE SEEDLESS !!

We go through about 3 bags a week at this time of the year between the 3 kids and 2 adults in our household. I really try to encourage extra Vit C during cold and flu season … I know that some reports show that it doesn’t have an impact on reducing the longevity of colds, but my personal study says it works for us. We also seem to see fewer colds.

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Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD December 10, 2010 at 4:55 pm

You are right…forgot about the lack of seeds.

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goodfountain December 10, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Big hit in our house too! Although I haven’t bought a bag in a few weeks and I don’t know why. My 6 yr old usually packs 2 in her lunch when we do have them. She would eat them all day. Along with mandarin oranges and regular oranges. She’s an orange-eating girl. My 4 yr old doesn’t love them but she’ll eat them. I love them.

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AKeo December 10, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I do! I do! I’m not a big orange person, though I do love grapefruit. I am a big fruit lover as well. The winter months can be quite depressing as the fruit variety isn’t as broad, fresh, or tasty as the summer months (I live in VA). However, cuties are perfect! They are delicious, easy, and addictive! I’m with you on this one. I just wish my son could eat them (18 months).

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Megan December 10, 2010 at 2:56 pm

My 19 month old has been eating them since she was about 14 months, I just chop them up to help her with the chewing. Not as convenient as eating the slices whole but she loves them so it’s worth it!

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Mo'Betta December 10, 2010 at 8:56 pm

My kids are eating them every day! (Except the 2 year old, he won’t try them yet…Mr. Super Picky)

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Simon December 10, 2010 at 11:18 pm

The only problem with Cuties is that my 2 year old daughter and I can go through a bag in a day. We love them.

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Miranda December 11, 2010 at 11:37 pm

Thanks for the idea! We already had cuties in our fridge, but I let my three year old peel his own this morning for the first time. He loved it and I did too!

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