We can all agree that fresh, whole foods like veggies and fruits make the best snacks for our little ones. But this is real life, and sometimes we need to grab snacks on the go—whether to get to an appointment on time or because (let’s be honest) our toddler woke up five times during the night and we’re too exhausted for cooking, cutting or helping with utensils.
These three snack swaps offer healthier alternatives to typical packaged snacks, and they’re still easy to toss in the diaper bag.
Not only are fruit snacks and yogurt melts filled with added sugar, they are, ahem, not actually fruit. Luckily, most toddler aisles now offer healthier pre-packaged snacks in the form of freeze-dried fruit and veggies. (You could find them outside the baby food aisle, but the toddler brands are the right size to prevent choking.) Read the labels and look for varieties that list only vegetables or fruit as the ingredients.
Right now, your toddler is learning what a snack looks like. Even if the nutrition facts don’t look terrible for certain baby cheese puffs, cookies or other munchies, you are teaching your toddler what to expect when he hears the word “snack.”
Don’t be fooled: Even if a puff, chip or straw claims to be a veggie—it’s not. Adding dehydrated, powdered veggies to a prepackaged food is an example of deceptive food marketing. Instead, opt for simple crackers.
While we admit they make handy snacks on the go, cereal bars are loaded with sugar, and the filling is more like jelly than actual fruit. Instead of grabbing a cereal bar, throw some cereal in a baggie or container for an easy, portable snack. Choose cereals with less than 6 grams of sugar, like plain or multi-grain Cheerios or plain Chex.
Tip: Cereals with the WIC label on the grocery store shelf have less than 6 grams of sugar per serving.