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Friday, July 1, 2022

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Better Snacking

As a parent, searching for wholesome snack foods can be daunting. We want our children to eat healthfully without sacrificing the snack food satisfaction that we all crave. Food lingo static such as GMO, food dyes and high fructose syrups adds to the confusion of our already time-constrained parenting schedules. For simplicity and sanity we find ourselves reaching for the most popular snack items with the heftiest shelf space. In this article we will list some popular kid snack food items and offer smarter alternatives that can save you decision making time in the food aisles.

Cold Cereals

Cold cereals offer a crunch satisfaction and are great for a quick breakfast or snack that kids can make themselves. We may worry that cereals are high in sugar content, but many brands today contain less than 9 grams of sugar per serving.

There are other factors to watch out for, such as food dyes, hydrogenated oils and food packing chemicals like BHA/BHT to preserve freshness. However, many big brands are catching on to consumer demand for better products. General Mills is removing food dyes from popular brands such as Trix cereal. Additionally, major brands are shifting away from using BHA/BHT sprayed packaging so the wording on your ingredient list that once read: “BHT added to packaging for freshness” may change to: “Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) added to preserve freshness.”

In Your Pantry: Fruit Loops and Peanut Butter Cap’nCrunch
Our Alternative: Cascadian Farm Organic Fruitful-O’s and EnvrioKids Peanut Butter Panda Puffs

Chips, Popcorn, & Crackers

Recently I found myself buying Ritz crackers at my supermarket, a childhood favorite snack item of mine. When I got home I gave a tiny cupful to each of my kids. As we began to snack on them I read the label and the words came glaring back: “high fructose corn syrup.” Needless to say, we did not finish the box.

Orville Redenbacher has a new line of microwavable popcorn called “Naturals.” I found it on sale and decided to give it a try. After sharing 2 bags of popped popcorn amongst my two small children, my husband and myself, I noticed we were all furiously drinking water. I decided to look at the nutrition label for the popcorn and was shocked to find that I was fooled by the words “natural and sea salt” as each bag contains over 1000 mg of sodium. That’s almost half the recommended daily value of sodium for one grown adult.

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EnviroKids Peanut Butter Panda Puffs
A nutty take on the original puffed corn, these certified organic and gluten free puffs are packed with peanuty goodness. Delivering 9g of whole grains per serving, they’ve got the wholesome ingredients moms want and the flavor kids can’t resist!

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Simply 7 Quinoa Chips Cheddar
All of the Quinoa Chip flavors are designed to deliver all the flavor and nutrients of the ancient super grain quinoa. The sharp flavor and rich creaminess of these Cheddar chips will leave you thinking they’re fresh off the farm. With the nutty flavor of quinoa and rich, smoky cheddar you’ll find a delicious snack down to the very last bite. These Cheddar Quinoa Chips pack a hint of fresh, aged cheddar in a crisp, airy snack.

Tampa Bay Parenting 2015 Go Picnic

Go Picnic Peanut Butter Crackers
Craving a snack that takes you back? No problem. GoPicnic Peanut Butter and Crackers includes Peanut Butter & Co. Smooth Operator Natural Peanut Butter, Late July Organic Classic Rich Crackers, Sweet Perry Orchards Unsweetened Applesauce, Annie’s Homegrown Cheddar Bunnies, and Surf Sweets Organic Gummy Bears. Now how’s that for snacktime?

Tampa Bay PArenting Wafers

Back to Nature Madagascar Vanilla Wafers
Delicious vanilla wafers that are completely vegan! You can layer these crispy, naturally flavored wafers into a traditional banana pudding, crumble them up to make a tasty dessert topping, or just nibble straight from the box. Madagascar Vanilla Wafers are made with whole grain wheat flour, and rich Madagascar vanilla beans. A Whole Planet Foundation Supplier Alliance for Microcredit Partner! Visit www.wholeplanetfoundation.org for more info.

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365 Pretzel Nuggets
This pop-able snack food – sourdough pretzel nuggets–is made with aged wheat flour dough, and just the right amount of salt baked to a golden crisp. With no fat and only 110 calories per serving, they’re a perfect snack for lunch boxes, after school or late nights. Delicious plain or dipped in peanut butter, they have limitless snacking possibilities. www.wholefoodsmarket.com

CASHEW-EDITEDFlyJoy Quinoa Bars
Made with Superfood Ingredients: Quinoa + Oats + Flax + Chia. These Cashew Cookie Dough FLYJOY bars combines the subtle sweetness of creamy cashew butter with the smoothness of vanilla and dark richness of cacao. Top them all off with a pinch of sea salt and you have the perfect sweet and salty healthy snacks on the go! All Natural | Gluten Free | Non-GMO | Vegan | Kosher Certified Chewy, Crunchy Texture Balanced, Clean Flavor. Satisfies & Energizes! www.flyjoy.com

The Good News

There are brands that are being created to fill the snack aisles with more healthful alternatives. High protein snacks such as Simply 7 Quinoa Chips taste similar to Sunchips and offer 9 grams of protein for every one serving (1oz or 20 chips). The Good Bean roasted chickpea company offers a great gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free snack with 8 percent DV Iron and 5 grams of protein in every 1-oz serving.

In Your Pantry: Sunchips, Microwave Popping Corn, Ritz Crackers
Our Alternative: Simply 7 Quinoa Chips, Skinny Pop Popcorn, Late July Classic Rich Crackers

As time consuming as it can be perusing the snack aisle or scouring Internet reviews for alternative snacking options, you will eventually find it’s a worthwhile battle. Many companies are working hard to push through the mainstream production lines to offer us healthier snacking options and forcing current brands to change their formulas. In the meantime, read labels and understand your food sources. Knowledge is your best line of defense in the snack food jungle.

Final Tips

Ingredient list to avoid:

High fructose corn syrup
Modified cornstarch
Nitrites and Nitrates
Potassium Bromate
Propyl Paraben
Butylated Hydroxyanicole (BHA)
Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
Propyl Gallate
Theobromine
Artificial Colors
Diacetyl
Phosphate Food Additives
Aluminum Additives

Nutritional facts to adhere by:
Sodium: less than 250mg per serving
Fat: less than 6 grams per serving
Sugar: less than 10mg per serving

For more information visit www.ewg.org or Lisa Thompson’s Blog, Blissfully Homemade, www.blissfullyhomemade.com.

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