Healthy snacks approved by kids and nutritionists

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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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Reception bars

Reception bars

Rx bars contain 12 grams of protein per bar and are gluten free. “Rx bars are not only delicious, they are also nutritious,” Rose-Francis told HuffPost. “They contain very few ingredients and are a great source of protein for growing children. sugar. ”Frankeny is also a fan:“ These get their sweetness from dates, and egg whites increase protein. Love the short and sweet list of ingredients. It’s a soft and chewy snack that will keep kids energized. ”

Get Rx Bars for $ 18.99 (10 pack).

That’s all Fruit bars

That’s it

These bars are free from wheat, nuts, and eggs, making them a great option for kids with allergies. “That’s It fruit bars are a tasty combination of fruit. With zero grams of added sugar and made entirely of fruit, this snack bar is a sure-fire way to add more fiber and vitamins to your child’s diet, ”said Rose-Francis. “They are an acceptable replacement for traditional fruit-flavored rolled snacks that have added sugars. ”

Get That’s It Fruit Bars for $ 17.99 (12 pack).

Kind Snack Minis

Type

“I like the Kind bars because you can visually see good nutrition – nuts, dried fruit – and with a little indulgence drizzling with caramel or chocolate,” Ruhs said. “I’m not a huge fan of chocolate living in Arizona, as they usually melt before I have a chance to eat them – and it’s messy. So I choose bars that can fit in the car or in a box. lunch for several hours without getting messy to eat.

Get Kind Snack Minis for $ 22.79 (pack of 32).

Nature’s Bakery Gluten Free Fig Bars

Nature bakery

“These are a good nut-free option that’s also gluten-free – a great allergy-free choice for kids because some schools have ‘nut-free’ policies,” Ruhs said. “These are slightly higher in calories and sugar (210 calories, 11 g of added sugar) and 3 g of fiber. They are chewy and delicious and come in other flavors suitable for children: strawberry, blueberry, raspberry. They also sell other oatmeal bars that don’t have a gooey fruit filling if your kid doesn’t like it – texture is a big deal for some kids. Talk to them, ask them what they like about certain foods / bars and you might learn to make easier choices by avoiding the things they don’t want (little seeds in their teeth) or the things they don’t want. ‘they really like (things that taste like a brownie!). ”

Get Nature’s Bakery Gluten Free Fig Bars for $ 20.13 (24 pack).

Bobo’s oat bars

Bobo’s

“These bars are delicious, simple, and not too sweet,” Frankeny said. “They can be eaten on the go, packed for lunch, or stored in a gym and baby bag. I live in the city where they were developed, so I am totally biased.

Get Bobo’s Oat Bars for $ 29.88 (12 pack).

Skout Organic Bars

Skout

“These plant-based organic protein bars are a great nutritious snack for kids,” Beckerman said. “They contain vegetable protein from peanut butter or sunflower seeds. These ingredients are great in a kids bar because they help deliver important nutrients like iron and calcium, which kids can tend to absorb. Bars are the perfect amount of sweetness thanks to organic dates, helping to increase the nutritional value of the bar with vitamins and minerals like calcium, folate and iron.

Get Skout Organic Kids Snack Bars for $ 35.99 (36-pack).

Blake’s Seed Bars

Blake

“These allergen-free, whole-food, seed-based treats combine indulgent flavors, like birthday cake and s’mores, with healthy ingredients like flaxseed, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, ”Beckerman said. “The seeds are packed with zinc, iron, omega-3s, and protein, which ticks a ton of key nutritional boxes for parents and kids. Plus, all products are free from the top eight allergens and are made in a certified nut and gluten-free facility, helping to relieve stress for parents whose children have severe allergies.

Get Blake’s Seed Bars for $ 17.99 (18-pack).

It Saves Lives Beehive Jive Honey Oatmeal Bar

It saves lives

Perfect bars for kids

Perfect

“These bars require refrigeration, but they get kids AND parents two inches in taste and strength (thanks to 7 grams of protein in each bar),” Haas said.

Get Perfect Bars Kids for $ 5.39 (pack of 5).

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