These healthy, delicious snacks are great for school lunches and parents tooBy: Mandy Oaklander
It's back-to-school time and if you've got kids at home, that probably means your pantry is jammed with family packs of snacks that aren't good for you and aren't good for your children-but man are they convenient. With all of the new foods on the market, the snack aisle can be a daunting place for a health-conscious mom who's trying to feed her kids nutritious foods and avoid unnecessary temptations for herself.
"When it comes to snacking, what's good for the child is good for the parent," says Elizabeth Ward, RD, author of MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself and Your Family Better. "I don't make a distinction between what kids are eating for snacks versus what parents should be eating. You can feed kids of all ages the same foods, you change the portion sizes." (Related: 6 Healthy Recipes To Cook With Your Kids) Ward says snacks should consist of whole foods whenever possible and should contain protein and carbs and fiber if you can squeeze it in, too.
We know you're going to want to munch on your kids' snacks too. That's why we found the healthiest options out there. Here, 10 healthy kids snacks moms and dads will want to steal. The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution—Eat This, Not That 2012!
These are the purest pops you can buy in a bag. Quinn is organic and non-GMO-plus, it comes in a compostable, microwavable bag free of chemicals (which is good news considering the recent study linking chemicals in microwave popcorn to heart disease). And forget the fake butter flavor: Quinn's doesn't contain doesn't contain any preservatives or additives, and the parmesan cheese is rBGH-free. We absolutely adore the Vermont Maple & Sea Salt flavor for a sweet after-school treat that's totally non-toxic.
MSRP: $4.99 per box (2 packages in each)
Available: Amazon, Whole Foods Markets, Dean & Deluca, select Shaw's supermarkets, Abesmarket.com, Mom's Organic Market, and independent markets across the country.
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Freeze-dried vegetables can easily make a fussy eater change her mind. As a plus for mom, these Roasted Veggies are simple and pure, containing nothing but corn, peas, carrots, tomatoes, and red peppers. And they're fun for kids, with a delightful snap and a surprising sweetness that'll keep them reaching for more. Just one serving has 150% of your daily vitamin A and vitamin C-and it equals a serving of vegetables.
MSRP: $4.99 for a 2.25 oz package
Available: Whole Foods, Vons, Ralphs, Lassens, Sprouts, Shaws, Wegmans, Stop and Shop, Piggly Wiggly, Giant Eagle, Kinney Drug, Kerr Drug, Rite Aid, walgreens.com, drugstore.com, Amazon.com, GNC, and other stores across the country.
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Giddy Up & Go delivers on its promise: with 5 g of protein, a ton of MUFAs, and only organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free ingredients, it's one of the cleanest forms of energy your kid's breakfast bowl has ever seen. Best of all, you both will love the taste: It's perfectly sweetened with organic agave nectar and has just 8 g of sugar.
MSRP: $6.99 for 11 oz bag
Available: Peet's Coffee & Tea nationwide, select Whole Foods
More: 20 Ways to Feed Your Family for $100 a Week
Nothing makes the end of a school day sweeter than an ice-cold popsicle. Unfortunately, most are loaded with high fructose corn syrup. But not these treats: each creamy Yasso bar is made with probiotic-rich Greek yogurt, hormone-free milk, and 15% of your daily calcium. We love the muted sugar and creamy consistency (our favorite is strawberry). And every flavor has only 70 calories and packs a whole 6 g of protein!
Available: Natural and traditional grocers nationwide, including Whole Foods, Kroger, Safeway, Wegman's, Costco, and BJ's
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Step aside, cup and spoon. GoGo Squeeez-applesauce in a squeezable, re-sealable, BPA-free pouch-is the ultimate on-the-go snack. Toss it in her lunchbox, and you'll feel great knowing that she's slurping just 60 calories, no artificial flavors, and no preservatives. (The pouches even come in organic.) But dieting Moms, beware: It contains 12 g of sugar, which isn't bad for applesauce, but don't go overboard!
MSRP: $2.99 for 4-pack
Available: Major retailers nationwide, including Walmart, Target, Costco, Kroger, and Whole Foods
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Have your kids ever begged for you to pack chips alongside their sandwiches? With Way Better Snacks, you can finally feel good about doing it. They're made from organic sprouted whole grains and seeds, sunflower oil, and quinoa, to name a few of the wholesome ingredients. And forget grease. These gluten-free, GMO-free munchies are our new favorite chips, especially the Sweet Chili and Sweeet Potato flavors. Oh, and they're packed with MUFAs, no cholesterol, low sodium, and contain no sugar. You'll be a sprouted convert by the first bite.
Available: Whole Foods, Wegman's, Fresh Market, specialty grocery stores
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In every mom's purse, string cheese is as ubiquitous as a lipstick tube. It's the perfect portable recharge for you or your kid. This string cheese takes first place in our book, since it's lower in fat and cholesterol than some other major brands. Get 20% of your daily calcium and a whole 8 grams of protein-all from one stick made of pure, organic milk.
Available: Natural food stores and major nationwide retailers, like Whole Foods, ShopRite, and Spec's
More: The Fruits and Veggies You Should Buy Organic
This great-tasting shelf-stable chocolate milk had the trifecta of being organic, only 1% milk fat, and not too sweet-although it'll satisfy your afternoon chocolate cravings splendidly. Toss them in with your kids' lunches or serve them up with fruit and crackers for a substantial afternoon snack. These tasty organic beverages are available in chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla and come in 8-oz packages, 4-packs and 12-pack cases.
Available: In retailers across the U.S.
More: 26 Healthiest Foods in Your Supermarket
These crispy bars make for a great midday snack or an after-dinner treat. We liked that they're organic, made with 8 g of whole grains, contain calcium and iron, and don't have artificial flavorings or high-fructose corn syrup. They're available in flavors like chocolate, chocolate chip, peanut butter, and cookies 'n cream and contain only 9 g of sugar per bar. We recommend having it with a glass of skim or 1% milk to make it a more satisfying protein-rich snack.
Available: They can be purchased at grocery stores nationwide, including Target and Whole Foods.
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This organic yogurt is a great source of calcium, vitamin D, and protein for younger kids. Top it off with fruit like sliced strawberries or blueberries, or add some of the organic granola we recommended for a fun crunch kids will love. Moms will like that this brand is fairly low in sugar (13 g) while still providing great creamy flavors like strawberry, banana and strawberry, blueberry, and strawberry vanilla.
Available: In grocery stores nationwide
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