It’s back-to-school time, which means packing snacks for lunches and after-school practice. Unfortunately, most snacks packs are sugar-laden cookies, gummies, and candy, and even many of the “perceived as healthy” options like granola bars, cereals bars, and crackers are still mostly just sugary white carbs.
To help you get the most nutritional bang from kid-friendly snacks, we’re Getting the Skinny with Molly on which snacks actually provide nutrients like calcium, protein, and brain-boosting fats, and which snacks to just steer clear of!
Curious about which juice boxes are best? Check out Molly’s Love it, Like it, Hate segment with her top picks!
Snacks that provide a source of protein, fiber, healthy fats, calcium, and/or antioxidants/vitamins/minerals.
- Healthy fats: Hummus, nut butter (or SunButter packs), and guacamole snack packs
- Calcium: Snack-size cheese; Greek yogurt like Chobani Simply 100 or Siggi’s
- Edamame packs, nut packets, fresh fruit packs & fresh veggie packs
- Nature Valley PROTEIN bar or no-sugar-added fruit snacks like new Pressed by KIND – 100% fruits & veg
Some whole grains, yogurt, or real fruit/vegetable, but are either fried, or contain refined flours and/or sugar
- Sun Chips
- Crackers with some whole grain (e.g. Wheat Thins)
- Snack packs with at least some whole grain (e.g. Goldfish made with whole grain, Barbara’s Snackimals)
- Most squeezable yogurts like Yoplait’ Gogurt or Stonyfield Squeezers (a decent bit of added sugar)
The vast majority of the snack aisles: Snacks with little/no fiber, protein, fat – primarily white carbs & sugars
- Snack packs of crackers like Ritz, Cheeze-its, Cheese Nips, Baked Lays, Pretzels, etc.
- Gummy candies – even organic gummies
- Goldfish-style crackers – even most organic versions
- Most muffins, e.g. mini/snack-size blueberry muffins (half a day’s worth of added sugar per snack pack)
- Nutrigrain bars (11 grams of mostly-added sugar)
- Fruit snacks like Welch’s Fruit ‘n Yogurt Snacks with 14 grams of sugar and artificial food dye Red #40
- Fruit Roll-Ups: Corn syrup is first ingredient; 7 grams sugar (and 0 protein) per roll
Want more from Molly? Click here to sign up for Nutrition Bites, her weekly e-newsletter with links to her Get the Skinny TV segments here on WGNO, and her weekly column in NOLA.com|The Times-Picayune! And you can follow Molly on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram: @MollyKimballRD