Kids can be picky eaters and it can be hard to find healthy snacks that they like and parents approve of. So when we see something labeled “kid friendly” we want to believe that it’s also free from all those preservatives, trans fats and doesn’t have too much sugar. But according to some nutritionists, we’re wrong. Here’s which of those kid-friendly snacks the healthy eating experts say they won’t feed their own kids.
- Cereal – We love a big bowl of crunchy cereal as much as any kid, but it’s a “sneaky snack” according to registered dietitian Lara Feltonbecause both kids and adults tend to eat more than a single serving and there’s always sugar in it.
- Juice boxes – Juice boxes are really convenient, but Felton says most of those little pouches have the equivalent of four sugar cubes each! So do your kid a favor and stick to water as much as possible.
- Goldfish crackers – These are practically the official snack of toddlers, but that crunchy snack they love isn’t so healthy after all. “They’re made from processed flour, dyes, and chemicals,” explains holistic health coach AnnaLaura Brown. “I would never feed them to my kids.”
- Pudding cups – Felton points out that there’s nothing nutritious about these, they’re just sugar and fat. So save pudding cups for an occasional treat.
- White bread – There’s not much that’s more kid-friendly than white bread. But it doesn’t have the fiber, protein or healthy fats that are in whole wheat bread.
- Fruit snacks – “Even though ‘fruit’ and ‘snack’ are in the name, I consider fruit snacks a dessert because they’re high in sugar,” says Felton. If you want to give the kids something fruity, actualfruit is way better for them!
- Packaged lunches – These grab-and-go meat and cheese boxes are super easy and they do have some protein and carbs, but they’re also full of fat and sodium. If you make your own box of healthy snacks, you’re much better off.
- Cereal Bars – These are sneaky because they seem like a smart choice since they’re made with real fruit and whole grains. But they can be full of a bunch of stuff you don’t want too. “’Natural and artificial flavor’ can include just about anything but often is a codeword for MSG, which is known to cause headaches and other reactions in many people,” warns Integrative nutrition health coach Liza Baker.
- Sports Drinks – If you’ve got active kids, fantastic! Remind them to keep refilling their water bottles. “Despite how much they run around, kids don’t need a sports drink to refuel and hydrate,” says Felton. “Most sports drinks provide enough sugar to fuel the entire football team, not just one kid!” No wonder those kids are so active!
Shut it, shut it shut it, shut it – these “experts” do not know the pain this brings me.