As a parent or caregiver, you probably try to feed your kids healthy snacks. There are many products on the market these days that are packaged specifically with this in mind.
Many products will highlight their one or two "healthy" ingredients or try to give you the impression that they are beneficial for your child's health if they eat it.
Granola bars sound healthy, but they are not all created equal. There also seems to be a limitless variety of granola bars to choose from, so it can be difficult to choose a healthy brand.
Many granola bars are also geared towards children with novelty characters, but the ingredient list doesn't lie, so be sure to read it before making a decision. The problem with granola bars is that they are often loaded with sugar and sodium. A better option is to make your own with more wholesome ingredients such as oatmeal, dried fruit, and honey. If you choose to buy a box of granola bars, be sure that it is made with whole grains and does not contain high fructose corn syrup.
Convenient yogurt tubes are just that-convenient. But they are not going to be as healthy as a bowl of your favorite yogurt that comes in a tub. That's because they contain extra ingredients such as carrageenan, which helps the yogurt squeeze out of the tube with less mess. Yogurt tubes also contain many food dyes and sodium benzoate that have been linked to hyperactivity in children.
Crackers come in many shapes and sizes, but they often offer very little nutritional value, and the first ingredient is often flour, which gets turned into sugar once eaten and ingested. Because of this, they can be as bad as many sugary snacks on the market these days.
Muffins can be either very healthy or very unhealthy. They are typically healthier when prepared at home, but you can find healthier versions in the stores if you shop carefully. Avoid muffins that are basically a dessert and opt for healthier varieties such as bran or banana. Be sure to choose muffins that have been prepared with whole grains as well. Muffins can be more unhealthy than cupcakes and can have as much trans fat and saturated fat as a donut.
Cookies-even oatmeal raisin, are highly processed and tend to be high in calories. They also tend to be high in sodium, trans fats, and saturated fats. They also tend to lack healthy ingredients such as dietary fiber.
The best way to combat unhealthy snacks is to not even bring them home in the first place. Instead, fill your fridge with easy-to-grab treats like sliced apples and carrot sticks, and try to make your own as often as you can. Invest in a good cookbook of healthy snacks and meals and create a binder with your favorites so that they are easy to refer to often. Eating healthy may have to become a habit but can be learned by anyone. You just need to be aware of what is in the food that you eat.
Snacks are especially important to choose carefully because they are a part of your child's everyday diet, whether you send snacks to school with your children or they eat at home. Snacks should fill them up with healthy energy between meals rather than to give them a sugar crash. Snacks are supposed to fill in that hunger void until the next meal. Many convenient and pre-packaged snacks contain empty calories and sugar and are also very high in calories.
The truth of the matter is that many foods are misleading, and you need to carefully examine the packaging to get a better idea of just how healthy they are. You want to avoid foods that are high in sodium, fats, sugars, and sodium. A good rule of thumb is that the fewer ingredients, the better, but be sure to look at the quality of ingredients as well. You need to look for words that say 100%, such as in fruit juices, and steer clear of ingredients that you can't pronounce or artificially made.
Some of the most misleading snacks include granola bars, crackers, and muffins, but the list doesn't end there. Homemade snacks and prepared meals are usually a better choice than processed foods, but if you have to choose a processed or pre-packaged snack, there is always a healthier version.