A vast majority of the snacks that parents consider “healthy” for their toddlers and kids likely aren’t healthy at all. Go-to snacks like granola bars, yogurt, and applesauce are often loaded with sugar and lacking in nutrients.
Read on to find out why some commonly served snacks may not be as healthy as you think and discover some healthier options and alternatives!
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Granola bars are one of the most common snacks for toddlers. The problem is that the majority of parents give their toddlers traditional “adult” granola bars. These are typically filled with artificial ingredients and way too much sugar.
Look for organic bars targeted specifically for toddlers and kids. These will have cleaner ingredients and a lesser amount of added sugar.
I know what you’re thinking – what?! How on earth is applesauce unhealthy? It’s just apples! Unfortunately, most store-bought applesauce is full of added sugar. And don’t forget that apples are on the Dirty Dozen list. They are one of the most contaminated fruits when it comes to chemicals and pesticides.
The good news is that there are applesauce options that are both convenient and healthy!
Make sure that your store-bought applesauce is both organic and unsweetened. As an adult, you may think that unsweetened applesauce just doesn’t taste as good but that’s most likely because your taste buds have been trained to prefer sweeter options.
Train your toddlers tastebuds early to enjoy fruits and vegetables without added sugar and salt!
Cereals marketed to children tend to boast things like “whole grains” in an attempt to trick shoppers into believing they are healthy. In reality, the majority of these cereals only have a tiny bit of whole grains with a whole lot of refined yuckiness and a staggering amount of sugar. Not to mention all of the chemicals and pesticides.
In a recent study by the Environmental Working Group, several types of the ever-popular Cheerios contained more glyphosate than any other cereal in the study. Basically all cereals contain wheat which is a highly contaminated crop.
For this reason, always buy organic. And remember that young children should have no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day, so keep this in mind when purchasing cereals with added sugar.
While it’s best to get as much calcium as possible from plant-based sources, yogurt is a common source of calcium for young children. An issue with traditional yogurt is that most are full of added sugars. Choosing yogurts that are marketed to children are likely to have a lower sugar content. Or choose plain yogurt and add your own fruit!
While 100% fruit juice can dole out a healthy dose of nutrients, the amount of sugars in them mostly make it not worth it.
Due to the excessive amount of sugars in juice, the recommendation is no more than 4 ounces for little ones under 4. For children 4-6, juice intake should be restricted to no more than 4-6 ounces daily. In our house, our girls get a couple ounces as a treat to flavor their water.
If you are going to serve juice, opt for juices targeted at toddlers which contain lower amounts of added sugar, or better yet, no added sugars! There are also many flavored waters for kids on the market!
Crackers are generally unhealthy. They are high in carbohydrates and sodium with little nutritional value. However, it’s almost impossible to find a kid-friendly household without them!
Look for crackers or pretzels that are low in sodium or unsalted. Crackers marketed to kids will typically be lower in sodium than the traditional snacks. Always buy organic to minimize exposure to the many pesticides found in wheat crops. Or better yet, choose yummy alternatives like crunchy pea snacks!
Fruit snacks are basically glorified candy. They are loaded with sugar, have little to no nutritional value, and are one of the worst foods to expose your little ones teeth to. Chewy snacks can also be a choking hazard to little ones!
Fortunately, there are many fruity alternatives!
Peanut butter can be a healthy choice for kids, if you follow a few simple rules.
First of all, peanuts are one of the most contaminated food crops. It’s especially important to purchase organic peanut butter if your child eats it frequently.
Also, traditional peanut butters like JIF and Skippy contain a lot of sugar. Always look for peanut butter that has no added sugar. Like applesauce, as an adult you may think it doesn’t taste as good but that’s because your taste buds have been trained to want the “good” stuff! Train your kids taste buds early to not need it.
No matter your toddler’s snack preference there is sure to be an alternative on this list that will appease their taste buds and sneak in a healthy dose of nutrients!