Think That Snack is Healthy? You may be Surprised.

Not all snacks are created equal. Here are tips on what to avoid.

Image source: ThinkStock

Are your well-meaning efforts to give your children kid-friendly foods and snacks leading to over-consumption of sugars, preservatives and highly processed foods?

Parents sometimes worry about their children not getting enough to eat. Manufacturers put a great deal of money and effort into producing items that parents will buy and kids will eat. Together, this leads to the production of highly processed food items with flashy packaging, questionable health claims and barely recognizable contents.

Greek yogurt

Natural yogurt with orange

Image source: Thinkstock

Yes, Greek yogurt is a good source of quality protein and contains calcium as well. If you look at the ingredient list on a package of plain greek yogurt, it’s pretty short. Now pick up a container of brightly colored “kids” Greek yogurt. How much more sugar is there per serving? How many of those ingredients can you pronounce? If that list is long or unpronounceable, you probably don’t want to serve it to your little one. Instead, look for plain yogurt and, if needed, add your own fruit or a touch of honey to sweeten it. (No honey for baby!) It costs less, it’s better for your child, and you know exactly what’s going in their bodies.

Fruit pouches

What about those popular fruit pouches? There’s no doubt they are convenient and less messy when you’re on the go. Is your child eating whole fruits and veggies at home? While baby food textured pouches are easy and child friendly, they aren’t helping your toddler and preschoolers learn to eat vegetables and fruits in their natural state. The less processed the produce, the more nutrition is still intact. Adding Vitamin C and fiber to a fruit puree is not the same to our bodies as eating a whole carrot or apple. Relying on sweetened vegetables can set a child up to prefer only sweetened foods and drinks for a lifetime, which we know contributes to obesity and heart disease.


Image source: Thinkstock

Image source: Thinkstock

Goldfish and Cheez-Its? Here’s another kid favorite that may not be the best for your child. There has been a lot of research published recently that makes us concerned that processed white flour is not any better for us than white sugar. We may be setting our kids up for problems with weight and heart disease later in life by filling them with these nutritionally empty snacks. In addition to that, these snacks in particular seem to contribute to problems with constipation. Constipated toddler or school age child? Take away the cheesy crackers and give them apple slices instead. You may surprised to find the problem solved with that simple solution.

Need ideas for healthy snacks to send with your child to daycare or school? Check out the below resources or view our Pinterest board — Healthy Snacks for Kids.