You don't have to make your kids' snacks in order for them to be healthy and tasty—here are 4 packaged picks that pass muster with our nutritionist.
It’s that time of year when my healthy homemade snack mojo starts to wane a little. I need a few pantry staples to keep on hand as backup—both for those mornings when I forget to pack a snack until we’re running out the door to school, or when we’re rallying for our weekend errands and someone looks like they might turn hangry soon.
Jif Power Ups Creamy Clusters
These new granola balls are held together with creamy peanut butter and—confession—I can barely keep them stocked in my house. Each pouch delivers a solid 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber—two nutrients with some staying power for my kids’ bellies—and only a little more than 1 teaspoon of sugar. You know what else makes me happy? They’re made with whole-grain rolled oats. The apple-cinnamon flavor is more popular than the strawberry in my house, but both pass muster.
Pressed by KIND
These “no sugar added” fruit bars come with a slew of claims on the front of the package: no genetically engineered ingredients, low-glycemic index, no preservatives, low-sodium, dairy-free, vegan, etc. But the main reason I’m happy that my kids are asking for them is for their fiber (3 grams per bar) and their small hit of plant-based omega-3s (called ALAs)—two nutrients that aren’t typically easy to squeeze into their diets naturally.
Want even more snack ideas for your little ones?
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- Best New Healthy Snacks for Kids
Stonyfield Organic Whole Milk Yogurt Squeeze Packets
There were weeks that this was the only way I could get calcium and vitamin D into my youngest child. The. Only. Way. So when Stonyfield slashed the added sugar in them by 35%, I loaded up my grocery cart. Each 3½ ounce package has 9 grams total sugar, and some of that is naturally occurring from the milk and fruit purees added for flavor, so we’re probably only looking at about, or even less than, 1 teaspoon of added sugar (that’s my estimation, as it’s not listed on the Nutrition Facts Panel yet). Another nutrition plus is that each pouch delivers a decent dose of potassium—a nutrient that we mostly get from eating fruits and veggies, and also one that most of us don’t get enough of.
KIND Kids Chewy Honey Oat Bars
These new Chewy Honey Oat bars are another hit among the 3-foot-and-under duo in my house. The first ingredient is oats (a whole grain!), which really helps to offset the fact that the next two ingredients are types of sugar. In total, though, a single bar only has a little over 1 teaspoon of added sugar (5 grams). Another plus: they’re gluten-free, in case you need to cater to that particular allergy. And despite their “honey oat” name, they’re not over-the-top sweet.
So the next time you’re rolling through the grocery store aisles, look out for these tasty, satisfying snacks. I found them at major grocery food chains (like Publix), and most of them are also available at Whole Foods and Target.