Already anxious about packing up school snacks, mama? Check out these six easy, wholesome swaps for kid faves like chips, cereal, crackers and cookies!
I’m well known for always having snacks in my bag and for good reason…my little guy has a smallish appetite and so we’ve always had to carry snacks on the go when out and about, as hunger will invariably strike right after we’ve left the house and especially when there aren’t any decent or even remotely healthy snack options in sight! And that’s the key word really –healthy – because of course It’s not that hard to find a packet of chips at a 7-11 here in Singapore (which is okay on occasion, no judgment at all!) but for the little (or big) perpetual snacker in your life, here are some smart (and easy) snack substitutes to consider.
Potato chips are crunchy and delicious, and always easy to find, but unfortunately most commercial brands have several nasties in them such as Butylhydroxytoluene, commonly known as BHT and frequently used by the food industry to prevent rancidity in packaged goods. Plus of course you have those awful trans fats and way too much salt!
Instead, swap in Edamame: you could pack some from home (frozen are easy to steam and pack into a snack box) but luckily here in Singapore – there’s a Japanese restaurant in practically every mall, so grab a box of these superfood beans that are highly nutritious, naturally gluten free, high in iron and protein.
While many muffins feel healthy because they have the word blueberry, banana or oat in them, muffins are basically cake – yummy, but not the healthiest choice on a routine basis. There’s too much sugar and insignificant nutrition.
Swap in fruit skewers or cut fruit: not just reserved for kids’ birthday parties, skewer up some berries, watermelon and bananas and chill them (frozen grapes and blueberries are also a real treat) for a sweet and cooling treat on the go. Forgotten your pre-packaged “fruit snack” most food courts here offer fresh fruit!
While flavoured yogurt can feel healthy, and many are marketed to kids, most yogurt brands are loaded with sugars and sugar alternatives that are just plain bad for you!
Instead, get your kids used to plain Greek yogurt or plain yogurt with honey or fresh fruit puree mixed in (by you!).
Look, you may spot my kid with Goldfish crackers sometimes because we all lose some battles mama… and I really don’t know why children are attracted to fish-shaped crackers like moths to light, but ultimately keep it to a ‘once in a while’ situation because Goldfish crackers are a processed food with several non-ideal ingredients and too much sodium. Don’t even get me started on the colourful ones – artificial colours are so bad for our kids!
Instead, substitute real cheese! There are so many attractively packed small chunks of cheese nowadays (Babybel, moon cheese, the mini cheddars at M&S Wheelock), or you can feel free to bring out those mini cookie cutters that you never use, or how about that melon baller you seriously don’t know why you own, to whip up some fun cheese shapes? And if your kid loves the crunch, then grab some plain water crackers to go with the cheese as well. Never too early to start them on those cheeseboards!
I get it: little ones can be kept quite busy with cereal, picking out one at a time and crunching away! While great finger food, unfortunately most cereals tend to be sugary and may contain controversial ingredients such as glyphosate.
Homemade popcorn, meanwhile, still allows little ones to practice their dexterity skills, homemade and freshly popped stovetop popcorn (not the microwave packs which contain trans fats and other nasties) is a great snack for kids and super easy to make. Just buy some organic corn kernels for popping, and pop on the stovetop with organic grass-fed butter, ghee or coconut oil.
And last but not least…
Oh which child (or adult for that matter!) doesn’t love cookies?! The issue is that most commercially prepared cookies are filled with way too much sugar and trans fats.
There really isn’t a healthy substitute for a good cookie but, try and make your own cookies at home, or if you’re really not up for that, then please read the label carefully or buy bakery-made (or small business-made) cookies with the fewest ingredients possible. For example, we have a small business in my hometown in India that sells gluten-free cookies made with just three ingredients, red millet, butter and sugar! A few of our fave spots in Singapore for more wholesome cookies include Baker & Cook, or Carrotsticks & Cravings.
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