A Healthy Goody Bag
Every once in awhile, I become acutely aware of the fact that my choices, as a dietitian, may be more scrutinized by folks in my community. After all, the personal choices I make are–for better or worse– an implicit endorsement of their healthfulness.
What snacks do I send with my kids to the park?
What beverages sit on my desk while I’m consulting with patients?
And most recently, what are the contents of the goody bag I’m dispensing at Max & Stella’s 2nd birthday party this year?
I’m very aware of the messages my choices send out to others, whether intended or not. And so I put a LOT of thought into that goody bag! I settled on snacks that were healthy enough to make my ‘every day’ cut for the kids (low sugar, nutrient-rich, not empty calorie), but still tasty or fun enough to eat enough that my kids regard them as a treat. Here’s what I settled on:
- Veggie Go’s: These are the only fruit leather I’ve found that can truly be considered healthy. For starters, they contain a blend of fruits and vegetable purees– with some flavors including more veggie than fruit! There is zero sugar added– and that includes NO sneaky added sugar in the form of fruit juice concentrates, which is the standard practice of the natural fruit leather brands. As a result, these snacks are high in vitamins and low in calories. And my kiddos love them!
- Roasted Seaweed Snacks: My kids got turned on to these by a Korean mom in the playground, whose daughter was happily munching away on roasted seaweed sheets as a snack. When I commented to the mom how awesome I thought that was, she replied: “Well, you know… it’s seaweed. ALL kids love seaweed.” I smiled, and chastised myself inside for assuming my kids wouldn’t like it before I even tried offering it to them. Rookie mom mistake! Of course, one of my kids turned out to LOVE it! Roasted seaweed is very low calorie, is a good source of Vitamin A and it has some Vitamin C as well.
- Mini LARA bars: These fabulous little bars contain dried fruit, nuts and spices and contain about 100 calories a pop. They’re super soft and the nut pieces are very small, making them a great texture for even younger toddlers (and a convenient way to introduce tree nuts to a toddler if you haven’t yet). Their brightly colored wrappers also have great kid appeal. Note: if you’re hosting a nut-free birthday party, then this is obviously not an appropriate choice.
- Freeze Dried Fruit Chips*: While traditionally dried fruit can be a bit tough and chewy for little kiddos, freeze-dried fruit chips have a crispier, chip-like texture that can be easier for them to handle. And I’m sure the bright, crinkly bag only adds to the appeal. No added sugar or preservatives, either.
- And a few non-edibles as well, like stickers and kazoos. Not all treats have to be caloric!
*FTC disclosure: I was provided with free samples of fruit crisps by the nice people at Brothers All Natural after they read an article I wrote for U.S. News about healthy snacking for kids that mentioned freeze dried fruit. Once the samples arrived and I saw how small and thin the packets were, I decided they’d be the perfect addition to my goody bag!
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