I think every mom has at one time or another experienced the "picky eater", "snack queen", "I will only eat crackers all day", kind of child. Even if it"s just a phase (it usually is) it's still frustrating to find foods your kids will eat. Like most moms, it"s a life saver that have snacks on hand.
When your kid skipped lunch but crying uncontrollably that they are starving in the middle of the super market, queue: whip out a snack. Have a playdate? Great, better pack snacks. Although it"s definitely healthy for growing children to snack through out the day, it's just as important that those snacks are healthy and nutritious. Check out this list of kid friendly snacks to avoid.
Harmful Ingredients In Kid Friendly Snacks
Kellogg's Froot Loops
Most kids are drawn to fun characters and color looking foods. It's like they instantly know they shouldn't be eating it. Cereal of course is a commonly liked breakfast for most families. If you're thinking "Well duh, this isn't a good healthy cereal for breakfast, I only let my kid eat that as a snack." Sorry to disappoint, but don't do it! Some cereals contain way too much sugar, artificial sweeteners and food coloring. So much so it's harmful to kids.
Years ago it was said that Froot Loops contained weed killer. This "kid friendly" cereal had so much sugar, trans fats, soy. It was an actual concern to pediatricians around the world. Froot Loops also has 6 artificial and natural colors on the ingredients list.
Nature's Path is an organic brand that has some fun cereals your kids will surely like, and they will be getting wholesome ingredients.
A tricky snack that often gets passed off as a healthy alternative. Lots of granola bars are packed with high fructose corn syrup and sugar. They have minimal amounts of protein or fiber. Make sure you're reading ingredients to see what's in the bars you're buying.
Bars that have a yogurt or chocolate coating or drizzle are higher in sugar. Even fruit flavored bars have more sugar then those with chocolate chips. Mind blown? Dried fruit is filled with sugars and not pure cane sugar like you're thinking.
A few brands that contain non GMO ingredients are:
- MadeGood Mixed Berry Granola Minis (nut-free)
- Kashi Chocolate Almond Sea Salt with Chia Chewy Granola Bars
- Annie's Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Try and keep the sugar in check and look for granola bars that use organic ingredients with high protein and fiber.
Boxed Mac And Cheese
It's every mom's go-to. It's so easy and kids really do love it. However, boxed mac and cheese is loaded with salt and other kinds of preservatives. Have you ever read the ingredients yourself? Most of it is hard to pronounce.
The good news is there are so many other ways to make pasta fun for kids to eat. You can make homemade pasta. Although it might be a little time consuming you can make enough that'll last a few days. You can even use other vegetables to make a natural "dye" to color the pasta. Beet juice is great for that.
A cheese sauce is also a simple thing to make. You can make your own using more natural and wholesome ingredients.
You might think that yogurt is the perfect healthy snack for your child. You need to rethink which yogurts you're buying for your kids. Of course if they are shopping with you they will most likely want to go for their favorite cartoon character on the package. Be cautious. Most yogurts targeted towards kids contain sweeteners, preservatives, thickeners, coloring agents and other additives.
Your best bet is to buy organic yogurt. It matters when it comes to dairy products when trying to avoid non GMO ingredients as well as preservatives. Add in your own flavoring like homemade granola, honey (if your child is over 2) or even some chocolate chips and cinnamon. You're sure to get a positive response.
Who hasn't tried the whole "just dip your broccoli in the ketchup" routine. Although it's usually a go-to move, try to avoid it if possible. Condiments like ketchup are high in sugar and fats. You can try to make your own dipping sauces at home that have less sugar and use healthier alternatives like Greek yogurt.
What Can My Kid Eat?
It seems as though everything these days as too much sugar and not enough nutrients. Try to make your kids home made snacks if you can. Include them in the cooking process so they are excited to eat. Nevertheless, it is difficult when colorful treats and packaging catches the eye of our children. Just remember that fruits and veggies are very color and can also taste delicious. Like anything, moderation is key. Keep an eye on what's in the products your buying and how often you're allowing you kids to eat them.