10 Alternative to Processed School Snacks

Posted on by admin | in babysitting

The snack is often a child’s favorite part of her packed school lunch, but ready-made, store-bought snacks can be filled with preservatives, chemical additives, flavoring, coloring agents and sweeteners. To avoid the potential health risks associated with childhood obesity, poor eating habits and processed foods, many parents opt to pack healthy alternatives. These are ten of the options that both you and your child can feel good about, packed with kid-pleasing flavor but none of the byproducts of processing.

  1. Fruit Leathers – Fruit leathers are the all-natural alternative to processed, neon-colored gummy fruit snacks, and are usually a big hit with the smaller set. You can often find these treats in the organic section of your local grocery store, but they’re also relatively simple to make at home.
  2. Fresh Fruit – Few things compete with fresh fruit when it comes to providing kids with snacks that they’ll willingly eat and their parents can provide with no guilt. To avoid pesticides and other questionable commercial agricultural compounds, opt for organic. At the very least, wash fruit thoroughly before serving or packing it.
  3. Homemade Baked Goods – When you make muffins and other treats from scratch, you control everything that goes into them. While many of the more popular mixes do have preservatives and other chemicals in them to extend their shelf life or prevent caking, there are organic offerings that don’t. To avoid some of the fats in many baked items, simply replace cooking oils with applesauce.
  4. Roasted Soy Nuts – Roasting soy nuts is quick, simple and renders a healthier alternative to savory snacks. They pack quite a punch in the “crunch” category, with plenty of flavor that will please kids and adults alike. One-fourth of a cup of toasted soy nuts contains 11 grams of protein, 117 calories and 6 grams of fat.
  5. Apple Slices and Organic Peanut Butter – There’s something about the flavor of apples and peanut butter that complement one another beautifully. To ensure that your little one is snacking on wholesome, natural ingredients, opt for organic peanut butter. Sunbutter and soy nut butter can be substituted for kids that attend peanut-free schools or are sensitive to peanuts. Because kids can be finicky about eating fruit that’s discolored, swipe a slice of lemon over each apple section before packing it. This will prevent browning that can be unappetizing to youngsters.
  6. Ants On a Log – Celery, peanut butter and raisins are collectively known as Ants On a Log, and have been a favorite for generations of kids. As with other recipes containing peanut butter, it can be substituted with sunbutter or soy nut butter to comply with peanut-free school regulations or to ease hunger pangs in peanut-sensitive tummies
  7. Popcorn – Popcorn can be a very healthy snack, but the microwave variety has been linked to a shocking number of dangerous, potentially carcinogenic chemicals. For all of the convenience of microwaved popcorn with none of the oils, chemicals and additives, simply toss a ½ cup of regular popcorn kernels in a no-frills brown lunch bag, and microwave until popping slows to two seconds.
  8. Roasted Kale – Even kids that snub all forms of leafy green produce will flip for roasted kale, which gives potato chips a run for their flavorful money and contain none of the questionable ingredients. Just remove the veins from kale leaves, and toss them in a scant amount of olive oil. Roast at 400° for roughly five minutes, turn and continue roasting for another 7 to 10. Pull them out of the oven before they start to turn brown, and sprinkle with a little bit of sea salt. You’ll be surprised at how difficult it is to keep a supply of roasted kale when your little ones discover how tasty it is.
  9. Dried Fruit – Sulphur dioxide, a sulphite preservative, has been linked to health concerns and is often present in large amounts in commercially processed dried fruit. The World Health Organization recommends that sulphite preservatives be avoided or phased out whenever possible. To keep sulphite preservatives out of your kids’ dried fruit, it might be wise to invest in a relatively inexpensive food dehydrator. The investment is a sound one if your kids are big dried fruit fans, as it will allow you to dry a variety of fresh produce and serve it with no traces of sulphur dioxide.
  10. Homemade Trail Mix – Tossing your homemade dried fruit with a selection of organically harvested nuts and other goodies to make a healthy, additive-free trail mix is a great option for kids that have no known sensitivities to nuts, just be sure that your child’s school doesn’t restrict tree nuts as a matter of policy.

Keeping your kids healthy and their diet free of potentially dangerous chemicals can be easier than you realize, it simply requires an investment of time. Experiment with healthy, unprocessed snacks to find others that everyone in your family will love and kick the processed habit for good!

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