Pros: Individually wrapped, good taste, readily available.
When my children were younger and making that ever-important transition from being fed baby food to learning to feed themselves regular food, American cheese became an important staple in our lives. Prior to this, my husband and I would eat American cheese on occasion, but often we would have cheddar, Swiss, Colby-Jack or other more intense flavored varieties. For little baby mouths, plain simple American cheese was required.
Most of the American cheese that I had eaten prior to having children was thinly sliced from the deli counter. While that has a good taste, the paper-thin slices do not hold up well to a toddler who is learning to feed himself, so I turned to Kraft American Cheese Singles which are thicker slices of cheese.
I was able to cut (or tear with my hands) a slice of this cheese into quarters, and allow my toddler son to feed himself, even if we were out of the house. While it was still a bit messy, the thickness of these slices made it easy for him to grasp the pieces and generally get most of the food into his mouth.
The sixteen ounce package of twenty-four slices of this yellow American cheese is priced at about $5.00, although it can often be found on sale, and it is less expensive if a bulk package is purchased at a club store. Each slice is individually wrapped in plastic, making more waste in our landfills, but making them very easy to pack if you need to take one or two with you for your child to eat as a snack on the go.
A serving size is one slice, and contains 70 calories, 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of protein. Rarely, though do we eat one slice at a time. This cheese contains "Calci-3", a combination of calcium, Vitamin D and Phosphorus which are essential for building strong bones.
My children are way past the toddler stage, but Kraft American Cheese Singles continue to be a staple in our home. We eat them with crackers, to make grilled cheese, for ham and cheese sandwiches, cheeseburgers and melted on eggs.
The mild, creamy taste of this cheese allows it to be paired with just about any cracker, meat or other food as the flavor is not very intense and will not interfere with other flavors. It evenly melts over the top of a hamburger or to make a tuna melt, but it does not work well in cooked recipes. I once tried a recipe for making macaroni and cheese by using these slices, and all I ended up with was a lumpy mess. Generally, I am a pretty good cook, and although it may have been something I did wrong, I have stuck to using shredded Cheddar cheese for my macaroni and cheese since then and have had no problems.
Since we do eat a lot of Kraft American Cheese Singles in my household, and it usually has an expiration date of about six months from the time of purchase, I try to purchase it in the 96-slice package in my warehouse club stores. If you do not eat that much cheese, my larger supermarket carries a variety of Kraft cheese slices in 12, 16 and 24-slice packages. Smaller supermarkets, convenience stores and general merchandise stores such as Target also carry the Kraft line of individually wrapped cheeses, but they do not necessarily stock all size packages.
As I often find myself at the grocery store early in the morning or late at night when the deli counter is closed, I am glad that my family enjoys the yellow Kraft American Cheese Singles which I can get in the refrigerated case. In fact, my children prefer this cheese to the thin-sliced deli version, especially for grilled cheese sandwiches.