Healthy snacks approved by kids and nutritionists
If your kids love to snack on cookies and chips, it can be difficult to get them to snack on a healthier option – but it doesn’t have to be a hair-raising experience. Snack bars are an easy choice to take out, especially when the kids are returning to school and the schedules are busy. But with a proliferation of possibilities (many of which aren’t healthy at all), it can be difficult to know which more nutritious options the little ones will enjoy and which ones will elicit a gagging reaction.
With that in mind, we asked nutritionists for their recommendations for delicious, healthy snack bars that kids will actually want to eat.
How to look for a balanced bar
To make sure your snack is filling and satisfying, start by looking for a combination of protein and healthy fats, according to a registered dietitian. Tracy Lockwood Beckerman. “Parents should pay less attention to the calories in the bar and more to the nutritional quality to make the best choice for their child, ”she said.
Another essential method of keeping hunger at bay is to make sure there is enough protein and fiber in your child’s snack. Dietitian nutritionist and consultant in culinary nutrition Sara haas recommends that parents always read the ingredient list when purchasing snack bars. “I recommend looking at fiber and protein – both should be at least 2 grams,” she said. “The nut, seed and dried fruit bars listed on the front are generally good options. “
For portion size, “try to stick to 250 calories or less”, RDN Barb Ruhs informed. “For a child, bars loaded with calories and fat are likely to interfere with their appetite for eating a meal. Depending on the age of the child, the youngest may need up to 1,200 calories per day if you plan three meals, [which breaks down to] 400 per meal. Some kids can’t eat as many calories at a meal, so breaking it down into smaller snacks that are about half the amount of a meal is a good measure.
Watch out for sugar
If you are looking for a tasty but also nutritious bar, you should be aware of the difference between natural sugar and added sugar. “If children eat too much added sugar, it can lead to obesity and little or no intake of the nutrients needed for good growth,” said RDN Kimberley Rose-Francis. “According to the American Heart Association, children should consume less than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day.”
His recommendation is to choose a snack bar with one or zero grams of added sugar and to choose naturally sweet bars.
Remember: it must taste good!
An obvious and potentially underestimated suggestion came from Ruhs: “My advice as a dietitian is pretty straightforward: finding a bar that your child will love to taste and enjoy eating is the first step. With so many options for healthier ingredients, new sources of protein, and sophisticated additives, at the end of the day none of it matters if your child can manage to swap it out with one. friend for Dunkaroos. “Food has to be enjoyable – yes, food is fuel, but it’s also part of our cultural and family ties,” she said.
This sentiment is echoed by Beckerman, who shared that mouthfeel can be critical for young people. “If the bar crumbles easily or is relatively hard on the outside, its texture may be a drag on your child, ”she said. “If they are more greedy, aim for a chocolate or date bar. If they’re a salty eater, go for a peanut butter or seed-based bar.
Beware of the latest “it” ingredients
As for bars with the latest buzzy ingredient like adaptogens, nootropics or CBD, RDN Amanda frankeny warns that few studies have been done on the impact of these supplements on children and that parents should proceed with caution, if at all.
“The Food and Drug Administration does not approve these items for safety or quality until they are sold,” she said. “More often than not, although these items can be found on store shelves, more human studies are needed to determine the right dosage of the active ingredients, the ideal preparation for the expected impact, their effect when combined with various ingredients, etc. “
Here are some brands that experts approve of.
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That’s all Fruit bars
Kind Snack Minis
Nature’s Bakery Gluten Free Fig Bars
Bobo’s oat bars
Skout Organic Bars
Blake’s Seed Bars
It Saves Lives Beehive Jive Honey Oatmeal Bar
It saves lives
Perfect bars for kids