Most parents have no time for Pinterest snacks. No cute teddy bears or adorable butterflies. Nope. No. Time.
Sometimes we need snacks that are fast and healthy and that means premade. There are so many options now and keep in mind that snacks don't have to be "perfect", e.g. they may be higher in fibre and lower in protein, and that is ok! Kids will get different nutrients from different foods so these are just guidelines.
This is I generally what to look out for:
· Low in added salt: Salt isn’t good for kids (or adults) so choose foods that are generally low in sodium on the label, remember the % D.V. or “Daily Value” is based on an adult (not a toddler) so the lower the number the better.
- Look for 200mg or less
· Contains Fibre: Fibre helps slow the digestion of foods and prevents the sugar peak and crash. It also helps keep kids (and adults!) full for longer which means kids are less likely to be asking for a snack 20 minutes later.
- Look for 2 grams of fibre or more
· Good source of Protein: Protein also slows the digestion of foods and helps regulate carbohydrate digestion and absorption.
Look for 2 grams of protein or more
Note: When the foods are made with whole grains and protein containing foods like nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, or legumes they tend to be higher in fibre and protein and kids are less likely to be asking for a snack 20 minutes later.
· Contains vitamins and minerals: These are good for kids, no surprise there! Look for good sources of potassium, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus.
· Low in added sugars: The tricky part here is that natural sugars and added sugars aren’t distinguished in Canada, meaning things like dried fruit look like they are VERY high in sugar despite the fact that they are naturally occurring (unlike say, pop tarts). An easier way to look at sugar is to review the label for “Ingredients.” When you look at a nutrition label the ingredients list is ordered in terms of weight. Meaning, if sugar is the first item on ingredient list it is the heaviest ingredient in that food. Generally, that means a pass. Also, remember every 5g of sugar is a teaspoon. So if it has 20g of sugar that means 4 tsp of sugars.
· Made with real food ingredients: Do you know what these ingredients are? Do they have multiple hyphenations and strange words? Leave these snacks in the aisle!
Here are some of my favorite snacks for kids
(all tested and approved by my kids)
Dried or freeze dried fruits: we love mango, apricots, raisins, banana chips
Harvest Snap Green Pea crisps
Corn or whole grain crackers
Mini cheese portions