Packing a lunch for your kids (or yourself) can be good for your budget, plus, you know exactly what you’re getting, and you can make it as healthy as you want. But those lunch box add-ins can make or break it, nutritionally speaking, so today we’re Getting the Skinny with Molly on the best and worst lunch box snack packs!
Snacks that provide a source of protein, fiber, healthy fats, calcium, and/or antioxidants/vitamins/minerals.
- Fresh fruit packs & fresh veggie packs
- Veggie-rich cracker snacks such aas
- Healthy fats: nuts, seeds, nut butter (or SunButter packs) + guacamole snack packs
- Calcium: Parmesan Cheese Crisp Snacks, Snack-size cheese; flavored Greek yogurt like Oikos Triple Zero
- Bars like KIND Protein bars, Nature Valley PROTEIN bars or Skout Organic Protein Bars
Snacks that provide some (but not 100%) whole grains or source of real fruit/vegetable, but are either fried, or contain refined flours and/or sugar
- Belvita Snack Packs (whole grain with added sugars), Nutrigrain bars (high in mostly-added sugar)
- Pirate’s Booty Puffs (cornmeal, rice flour, oil), Baked Lays (white potatoes, sugar), Pretzels (white flour)
- Fruit Rope & Fruit Leather (e.g. Clif’s Z-Fruit Rope and Stretch Island Fruit Co’s Fruit Strip)
- Graham cracker snack packs (e.g. Honey Maid, Teddy Grahams, Annie’s)
- Most Granola Bars
- Most squeezable yogurts like Yoplait Gogurt or Stonyfield Squeezers
Snacks with little/no fiber, protein, fat – primarily white carbs & sugars
- Gummy candies – even organic gummies
- Goldfish-style crackers – even organic versions
- Most muffins, e.g. mini/snack-size blueberry muffins (half a day’s worth of added sugar per snack pack)
- Cookies + sugary sweets – e.g. Oreo Crème Dips + Cookie Stick snack pack has more than half a day’s worth of added sugar!
- Veggie Fake Outs – e.g. “Zucchini” cookies with mostly white flour + sugar, with minimal veggies of any type
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! Follow Molly on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram: @MollyKimballRD – and check out her weekly podcast; just search ‘Molly Kimball’ on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app.