When kids are hungry, they aren’t patient about waiting for a snack. Sometimes it’s easy to give them something quickly to appease them. Here are five snacks that are popular but unhealthy foods for kids:
1. Fruit on the bottom yogurt
Yogurt is great for breakfast or a snack throughout the day however some yogurts contain surprising amounts of sugar. The sugar in plain yogurt is natural and not added; however, yogurts with fruit on the bottom typically have sugar added into them and are higher in calories. For example, one cup of plain full-fat yogurt contains approximately 149 calories, while one cup of mixed berry fruit on the bottom yogurt has about 200 calories. To get the fruit taste without the sugar and calories consider adding fresh berries to plain nonfat yogurt. You can enjoy the yogurt and fruit mixture without all of the sugar. For added taste top with a tablespoon of honey.
2. Sweetened applesauce
It is important to read labels because the nutrients in applesauce varies. A serving of sweetened applesauce is approximately 100 calories, with 88 percent of those calories from sugar. A healthier option is grabbing a whole apple, they contain twice as much fiber as applesauce. If your child really wants applesauce, then opt for a sugar free or homemade recipe. Unsweetened applesauce contains about half of the calories as unsweetened applesauce. Or try homemade applesauce, different apples provide your little one different tastes.
3. Energy bars
There are tons of snack bars on the market but be careful when buying, some contain more than 500 calories and lots of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Look for ones containing less than 200 calories for a good snack. Some bars also contain a number of other ingredients you should look to avoid:
- Carrageenan: Often causes intestinal irritation in many people.
- Soy: A common allergen and contained in many bars.
- Casein and whey: An allergen associated with dairy. If you have a dairy allergy avoid bars with these ingredients.
One way to avoid the sugar in most energy bars is to make your own bars. Or consider mixing up some of your favorite ingredients such as granola, raisins and almonds into a mix to eat.
4. Fruit snacks
Fruit snacks are a quick and convenient snack for kids that are on the go. However, these little treats contain around five teaspoons of sugar per packet. The treats also contain no protein, healthy fat or fiber. These snacks get their coloring from yellow 40, red 5, and blue 1, which has been linked to behavioral problems and hyperactivity in children. Instead of grabbing a gummy fruit snack have real fruit on hand for the little ones.
5. Sugary cereals
The cartoon boxes and rainbow of colors inside are a hit with kids but sugary cereal are just that, all sugar. Some cereals are up to 46 percent sugar. Instead look for brands that are low in sugars and other unnecessary ingredients. A baggie of non sugary cereal can make a quick and healthy snack alternative.
Keeping an eye on labels will help you keep your little ones healthy.