Taste Test: Kid-Friendly Snacks
How we tested: We sampled 12 cheese crackers, 14 fruit purees, and six string cheeses in blind tastings. We took the top three contenders from each category to an elementary school, where they were tested by kindergarten, second, and third grade classes.
$5.89 (12 [1-ounce] sticks)
180mg sodium, 3g sat fat in 1 stick
This mild mozzarella stick is a standout for its smooth, creamy mouthfeel. No rubbery snap-back. Flavor has a warm, salty (but not too high in sodium) tang. The mozzarella is extra stringy, too, which is good because nothing says, "It's OK to play with your food" quite like string cheese.
Runner-up: Polly-O Natural Reduced-Fat Mozzarella String Cheese
$3.89 (13.7 ounces)
150 calories, 250mg sodium in 27 crackers
Cheesy and superbuttery. Crispy-crunchy and delicately flaky, too. They're made with whole-wheat flour (though it's not the first ingredient). Two thumbs up from the kid-tasting panel—or, as one tester put it, "These are cheese-a-licious!"
Runner-up: Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers Made with Whole Grain
$1.79 (4 ounces)
70 calories, 10g sugar in 1 pouch
Our editors were pleasantly surprised by the freshness and silky texture: This isn't baby food. Kids enjoyed the sweet, balanced flavor—and the packaging. As one noted, "My mom would love these for me because they're less messy to eat when we're in the car." Bonus: The lid pops back on, so kids can eat half now, half later.
Runner-up: Ella's Kitchen Strawberry and Apples