Yesterdays New York Times had an article on the new pouched baby foods. I am torn on the idea. I think I like the idea of them for occasional snacks- especially for parents on the go who want to give a snack in the car or similar, but not as a regular meal replacement.
Kids need to learn to sit and behave at a table, and to eat slowly and regularly. They also need to learn the social interactions and niceties. And then add in that this is not learning to eat, but rather something similar to a slushy drink. Kids need to learn the processes of eating. Part of weaning is to gradually add foods that need chewing, but its also to learn things like how much to put in their mouth at a time.
Given that- these are also issues with the contents of the pouches- they seem to mostly contained multiple food blends, and as snacks, I think kids should be mostly looking at single food items. The mixed and varied items are more what should be used at mealtimes. Kids also need a lot of variety in types and textures of foods.
On the other hand- toddlers should be eating more than 3 times a day (most of the time, there are kids who don't need that), but they should also be encouraged to graze on healthy snacks. Kids need a lot more calories at their ages than people think they do. Looking at their size, many don't realize that. They burn energy faster than adults, and they need to extra energy to grow.
Another thing to keep in mind with small children- they have proved that controlling their eating amounts (either forcing them to clear plates or not feeding them enough) is likely to cause them to grow up to be obese. The studies looked at kids a bit older than the ones these pouches are aimed at, but the information is important even with the younger kids.