Figuring out healthy afterschool snacks can certainly be challenging. Especially when picking items for picky eaters. We all try to give the best to our kids, but there are some sneaky not-so-healthy foods that we have always thought were great. Added sugars, colors, and flavorings can take a snack into the nutritional red zone faster than you can say ‘high fructose corn syrup’- so be on the look out for these bombs.
- Yogurt- kids love tube yogurt and yogurts that taste like candy, but for the most part, those yogurts are just that- candy. They can be stuffed full of food coloring, hidden sugar, and ingredients that you can’t even pronounce. A better alternative is a naturally flavored yogurt with less than 5 grams of sugar. For younger children, try a whole milk yogurt. The additional fat will help keep little bellies more full and provide extra protein.
- Milk and non-dairy milk- Sweetened milks, both dairy and non-dairy can contain a ton of added sugar and even corn syrup! Treat flavored or sweetened milks as a special treat and consider them a sweetened beverage- just like soda or juice.
- Puffed veggie chips- While delicious, these really have little to no actual veggie in them. These chips are typically made of potato starches that are molded together with some veggie based coloring. Additionally, actual serving sizes are important to watch! A single serving can be only about 20-25 chips total, so keep that in mind!
- All-natural or cold-pressed juice- Juices can be a good way to get your child the vitamins they may lack in their diet, but it is always a better idea just to go with the real thing. Plus, a cold-pressed 16 oz container of juice can run $5 or more! Go with the real stuff whenever possible.
- Low fat, or fat free baked goods- When a manufacturer has to take out ingredients like fats or gluten, they are typically replaced with added sugar or other processed ingredients like chemicals. Gross. Go for a full fat version of baked goods but watch your portion size.