Let’s talk about snacks! Snacks are an important part a child’s diet. Most children need two to three healthy snacks each day in addition to three meals. It is especially important for kids to have snacks throughout the day because their bodies are growing. Children require a sufficient amount of calories each day to allow them to build more tissue, and healthy snacks provide extra energy and essential vitamins and nutrients to fuel their developing bodies.
As a mom with two young children, I am constantly on the go and it is important to always have snacks with me. I have made the mistake of going out without my arsenal of snacks in my bag, and I won’t do that I again! It was meltdown city until I stopped at a local grocery store and bought snacks for the kids. Not only is it important for me to have snacks in my bag at all times, but it is important that they are healthy and do not require refrigeration. I wanted to share my 10 “grab and go” snacks with you! Here they are:
1. Dried or freeze dried fruit such as bananas, apples, blueberries, apricots, raisins, etc.. When selecting dried fruit always check your labels. Some dried fruits contain sugars added in processing which increase its calorie content. However, dried fruits without additives offer numerous health benefits such as fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. A favorite among my two year old is the Mickey Mouse fruit crisps. He always requests his “Mickey Mouse crackers” and I haven’t had the heart to tell him that they are not crackers!
2. Nuts, seeds and Trail mixes. Again, check you labels! Many nuts will have added sugar or salt. Avoid nuts that are flavored (i.e.honey roasted, smoked, cajun etc..) and trail mixes that contain chocolate chips and stick with those that contain nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. We love Trader Joe’s Organic Trek Mix or their Go Raw Trek Mix
3. 100% fruit pouches. My kids love the Trader Joes fruit crushers and the GoGo Squeeze fruit pouches. Some of their favorite flavors are apple cinnamon, apple strawberry and apple banana. They are made with 100% fruit and no added sugar and come in a variety of flavors. They are also dairy, soy, nut, and gluten free which are great options for kids with food allergies.
4. Clif Kids Fruit sticks. I love Clif Kid Zfruit and Zfruit +Veggie sticks because they are made with organic fruit puree concentrate and vegetable puree unlike most fruit snacks, which are made with corn syrup and artificial flavors and preservatives. They are also NON GMO (not made with genetically engineered ingredients), dairy, soy, gluten and peanut free and are a good source of Vitamin C. The Fruit and Veggie sticks also contain added fiber.
5. Dried cereal. Many cereals contain shocking amounts of sugar so I suggest selecting cereals that contain 5g or less of sugar per serving. Some example of cereals that I purchase for my kids are Trader Joe’s O’s, Cherrios, Barbaras Multigrain Spoonfuls (Original), and Barbaras Puffins (original). I like to fill little 8oz plastic Ziploc bowls with the cereal and toss them in my bag.
6. Skinny Pop Popcorn. I prefer to give my kids popcorn over potato chips. I especially like Skinny Pop popcorn because it is only 100 calories per bag, does not contain trans fats, is NON GMO, and does not contain any artificial ingredients. The ingredients are popcorn, sunflower oil and salt. That’s it!
7. Fruit that can be easily transported such as bananas, grapes, pears, apple, peaches etc…
8. Natural peanut butter or any natural nut butter or sunbutter of your choice. Peanut butter is rich in protein to help children’s growing bodies stay healthy. Peanut butter makes a healthy topping for fruits, vegetables, rice cakes, and crackers and does not require refrigeration. My kids love anything covered with peanut butter and so do I!
9. Fruit cups in 100% fruit juice. I like to buy Dole 100% juice fruit cups because they contain a full serving of fruit, do not contain artificial sweeteners or added sugar and are NON GMO. Dole makes 8 varieties of fruit bowls in 100% juice and my kids like the diced apples, pears, and peaches. Just make sure to throw a few extra spoons in your bag and your kids will be ready to enjoy this snack on the go!
10. Nutrition bars such as LARABARS or KIND Bars- I am picky about the nutrition bars that my children eat. Many of the cereal, granola, and protein bars on the market contain high fructose corn syrup, palm oil, palm kernel oil, trans fats, bleached flour, and unbleached flour. When you are grocery shopping, look for bars that contain whole grains and nuts. The LARABAR Original Fruit & Nut bars and The KIND Fruit and Nut bars are made with whole foods such as unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices and do not contain preservatives, fillers, or colorings. LARABAR fruit and nut bars contain no more than nine ingredients which I love. I am completely turned off to a product when the ingredient label is as long as my arm! LARABAR and KIND bars are also non GMO.
So there you have it! My 10 grab and go healthy snacks. Don’t leave home without them!!