Healthier back-to-school snacks (from the supermarket!)

September 5, 2012

OHM Healthiest Back To School Snacks

I’m a from-scratch girl at heart, even when it comes to snacks. Granola bars, muffins (and more muffins!), even cheddar crackers—name a classic snack and I’ve made it. But as much as I’d love to only feed my kids homemade, it’s just not possible. At least not for me. So I rely on a pantry well stocked with healthier store-bought snacks.

Thankfully, healthier store-bought snacks have improved since I was little, when my mom proudly fed me cardboard wasa crackers slathered with the pastiest all-natural peanut butter ever made. That said, just because something’s organic or made by a company that generally puts out good-for-you foods doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for you.

I recently sifted through the many supermarket snack options to find the healthiest picks among the most popular kids’ snack foods. Cheese puffs, fruit snacks, veggie chips, popcorn, cheese crackers, peanut butter sandwich crackers, granola bars, graham crackers, squeezy snacks and yogurt—I covered them all!

I even researched tasty gluten-free and nut-free options.

Both of my lists are on Cool Mom Picks. And, because I can’t stop myself, I’ve added some new finds here. All together, I should have you covered. So get out your smartphone and start making a shopping list!

13 healthier versions of kids’ favorite lunchbox snacks

8 tasty nut-free and gluten-free lunchbox snacks

Some more of my favorite healthier store-bought snacks:

FRUITY SNACKS

Kopali Chocolate Covered Bananas
Kopali Organics makes a delicious line of chocolate covered treats (and plain dried fruit, too). All of their products are certified organic, free of chemicals and fair trade certified. I love them all, but always find myself choosing between the chocolate covered banana and chocolate covered mulberries. YUM!
(Products available through the Kopali Organics site)

Stretch Island Fruit Co.

Here’s the deal: fruit leather is full of sugar. It’s also a kid-fave and much better than the fruit gummies that are all the rage these days. (Even the organic, “made with real fruit” gummies are basically candy; check the label to make sure you’re happy with what you’re buying.) If you’re going to grab a rolled up fruit snack, make it one by Stretch Island Fruit Co. Their delicious, all natural fruit leather strips and FruitaBu Smoooshed Fruit Roll Ups are made from real fruit puree with no artificial additives or added sugar.
(Products available through the Stretch Island Fruit Co. site)

*For more healthier fruity snack products, check out my snack list on Cool Mom Picks*

GRANOLA BARS

Carman's Muesli Bars
Local, these are not. Carman’s Muesli Bars are made in Australia and, until I can find something comparable in the U.S. (any leads, folks?), I’m happy that they’ve found their way to the United States. These nutrient-rich bars are made with GM-free ingredients combined to provide a balance of carb and protein. But that’s not all: each 45 g bar (that’s 5 g more than a full-sized Kind bar) has only 5 grams of sugar, about half of that found in most popular nutrition/granola bars, even the ones made for kids. They’re totally delicious, too. Our favorite is the Apricot and Almond Muesli Bar, but every kind we’ve tried has been great.
(Locate a store near you on the Carman’s site. Products also available through Amazon)

*For more healthier granola bar products, check out my snack list on Cool Mom Picks. I even found some nut-free granola options!*

CHIPS

Beanitos bean chips
My sons inherited a total lack of control around chips and salsa from the hungry papa. (It’s really amazing to watch the three of them go at it.) I love classic tortilla chips—all thin, fried and crispy—but have been looking for a healthier alternative since they gobble them up in ridiculous portions. Enter Beanitos black bean chips. These babies may not have the same mouthfeel as those “restaurant style” bites, but they are way higher in fiber and protein, which is as much as you’re going to get from a chip! Plus, they are corn free, gluten free and soy free, making them great for allergy sensitive families.
(Find a store near you on the Beanitos site)

*For more healthier chip products, check out my snack list on Cool Mom Picks. I even found some other fab gluten-free options!*

PRETZELS

Utz Organic Seven Whole Grain Pretzels
I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you, but pretzels are pretty much a worthless food. Wait, you knew that already? I thought that maybe, like me, you were in denial. And still buying pretzels. Frequently. If you are, know that there’s really not much difference between the all-natural brands. Some, though, offer a small amount of whole grains, are higher fiber and made with organic ingredients, like Utz Organic Seven Whole Grains Pretzel Sticks. Despite their carefully worded name, they aren’t 100% whole grain, but a little something is better than nothing.
(Purchase product on the Utz site)

*For more healthier snack products, check out my snack list on Cool Mom Picks.*

*Note: This is not a sponsored post. I am not currently working with any of the companies listed in this guide. I have not been paid by anyone to write this, nor have I received any products related to this post for free.

One Response

  1. I agree that the best snacks are homemade ones, but I also heartily agree that having them on hand at all times is just not always possible. These are great lists–my kids love Stretch Island Fruit strips and I am thankful they sell them at Costco. I am going to have to look for Kopali Organics–those sound yummy. Do I have to share with the kids? 🙂

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