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February 22, 2012

Raising Healthy Kids: Pre-packaged Snacks

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/raising_healthy_kids_pre-packaged_snacks_20120222/

Photo

A wide variety of snacks, mostly candy, on display at a bodega in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Photo by Wikipedia/Jeffrey O. Gustafson

As you probably know, I am a proud mom myself. Working with other busy moms, I get asked all the time: What if I don’t want to cook, but I still want to give my kids healthy choices?

No problem! The following quick snacks are excellent choices that support an active and a healthy lifestyle.

  • KIND bars
  • Lara bars
  • Kashi TLC bars
  • Luna bars
  • Low fat string cheese
  • Grapes
  • Carrots and Celery
  • Pretzels
  • Pop chips
  • Packaged dry green beans
  • Edamame
  • Snap Pea Crisps
  • Apple Crushers
  • Veggie chips
  • Organic fruit wrap
  • Individual trail mix (Avoid the ones with chocolate chips or M&M’s. Or make your own with unsweetened dried cranberries, sunflower seed kernels, honey, and nut flavor checked cereal.)
  • Individually packaged organic Apple sauce (They come in a variety of flavors including plain, berry and cinnamon, and pear. Make sure they say “No Sugar Added”!)
  • Mini packages of hummus

And if you are looking for other healthy and satisfying pre-packaged snacks for your kids to enjoy between meals, here are a few guidelines to follow:

  1. If you can’t pronounce it, do not allow them to eat it! READ the ingredients on the package before giving it to your kids. Some ingredients to stay away from: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Corn Sugar, Natural Flavor, Partially Hydrogenated Oils, and Corn Starch.

  2. The best and most healthful snack bars have at least 6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and less than 15 grams of sugar. I always recommend Kind, Lara and . They’re perfect on-the-go snacks for adults AND kids!

  3. Any packaged snack that is over 150 calories is too much. Stick to around 150 calories or less.

  4. Don’t be fooled by the cute little 100 calorie packs such as Oreo’s, packaged peanut butter crackers,Teddy grams, or cheese nips. They are loaded with enriched flour, salt, sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other artificial ingredients. Don’t compromise their health… your kids deserve better than that!

  5. Stay away from prepackaged fruit cups that feature “flavored fruit chunks in 100% juice”. That is just tricky terminology for MORE SUGAR! Fresh cut fruits and vegetables are always your best option, and they only require a few minutes to prepare.

  6. Give them Bananas! This sweet, yummy, and versatile fruit has so many benefits. Bananas are super inexpensive (about 35-40 cents a pound) and are loaded with Potassium, which is a mineral that helps maintain normal blood pressure and heart function. 1 medium banana contains a whopping 467 mg of Potassium!

  7. Serve water in place of sugary juices. Juicy juice has 26 grams of sugar in an 8oz glass, which equals about 6 1/2 teaspoons in one serving! Water will help your kids avoid a sugar rush, unnecessary weight gain, and most importantly: drinking water will help them POOP!

  8. Apples are an excellent quick snack and are full of fiber. Try to buy organic though, since non-organic apples contain about 111 pesticides.

  9. Always add the most important ingredient to any food you provide your children: L-O-V-E. When I prepare my daughter’s food, I do it with smile on my face. And at the end, right before I wrap it, I say: now I’m adding love and more love and more love. I’ve been doing this with her since she was 3 years old. One day, I was rushing and forgot to do it. Well, she looked at me with her arms crossed and her big blue eyes and said, “Mommy, did you forget to add something?” It really makes my whole day to know that SHE KNOWS how much I LOVE her and your kids will know it too!

Peace and Snack Time!
Sima

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