If there’s one task that makes parents groan about back-to-school, it’s packing lunches. We need quick get-us-out-the-door options that both taste good and are good for our kids’ growing bodies and brains.
With so many options on the shelves, how do we narrow down the best? Our contributor, Registered Dietitian Stefani Sassos, Director of the Good Housekeeping Nutrition Institute, says to look for ingredients you can pronounce, with no fillers or fake additives. Then, she says a great snack has:
* 300 calories or less per serving
* 10 g of added sugar or less per serving
* 300 mg sodium or less per serving
* Fiber-filled and protein-rich sources
* Free from trans fat and partially hydrogenated oils
* No artificial flavors and food dyes
Stefanie, a toddler mom herself, and her team recently reviewed thousands of snacks to create Good Housekeeping’s list of Top 100 Snacks.
Here are her Top 7:
- HIPPEAS Veggie Straws: crunchy and colorful like the originals, but tastier, with yellow peas, tomato, beet, spinach, and kale. They have 3 grams of protein per serving too.
- Sweet Nothings Strawberry Beet Squeezable Smoothie: This little pouch boasts unexpected ingredients like dates and ground chia seeds – with no added sugar.
- YUMI Organic Bar, Blueberry & Purple Carrot: These yummy toddler bars mix fruits and greens on the go! They nail it when it comes to the texture – soft without being overly crumbly.
- Brainiac Apple Cinnamon Brain Squeezers Applesauce: These pouches pack a punch! They’re fortified with as much omega-3 DHA/EPA as a serving of salmon and as much choline as 2 cups of broccoli.
- Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit: Ever seen kiwi with a hairless skin? These are it! Slice it or bite right in. Kids get 100% of their daily vitamin C needs in one fruit. Be sure your kiwi’s aren’t on the recent recall list.
- Lesser Evil Organic Interstellar Cheddar Space Balls: No neon-orange here! These air-puffed whole-grain corn balls are made with a vegan Cheddar seasoning – and the crunch doesn’t disappoint.
- Solely Organic Mango & Passion Fruit Gummies: Made with just three ingredients, these gummies skip the gross gelatins, gums, and added sugar.
BONUS: One more brand the moms of The Local Moms Network are loving right now? Kate’s Real Foods Mini Snack Bars, all organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and sweetened with honey!
For more, check out the entire Best Snack Awards list from Good Housekeeping!