10 'Kid-Friendly' Snacks Nutritionists Won't Feed Their Own Kids

Stephanie Booth | Apr 11, 2016 Food & Party
10 'Kid-Friendly' Snacks Nutritionists Won't Feed Their Own Kids

woman is skeptical about cereal bar

We see "kid friendly" on a snack food and we think it hits all the nutritional sweet spots: not too much sugar or trans fats or garbage-y preservatives. Alas, we cannot believe everything we read. Although God knows, we keep trying!

The Stir asked nutritionists to fess up: What kid-friendly snacks will they NEVER feed their own kids?

You'll never view snack time the same way again.


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  • Soda


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    Guzzling a soda -- even a non-caffeinated one -- doesn't do your body any favors, so imagine what it's doing to your kiddo's. "Soda is loaded with sugar, has no redeeming nutritional value, and can lead to tooth decay," explains Torey Armul, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

  • Cereal


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    Hey, don't get us wrong. We love a bowl of Cap'n Crunch as much as the next guy. But "cereal is a sneaky snack because kids -- and adults, too -- rarely eat a single serving and there's always sugar added to it," says Lara Felton, a registered dietitian and head of the nutrition team at ShopWell, a mobile nutrition app. Tasty? Hell, yeah. Good for you? Uh, no.

  • Juice Boxes


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    True, staying hydrated is important, but that's why there are water fountains. And sinks. And cups to get water from the aforementioned sinks. "We avoid juice boxes completely," Felton says of her family. "They're so sugary. Most have the equivalent of four sugar cubes per pouch!"

  • Goldfish Crackers


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    Nothing says "baby kibble" like goldfish crackers. But to get that salty, crunchy taste every toddler loves, "they're made from processed flour, dyes, and chemicals," points out AnnaLaura Brown, a holistic health coach. "I would never feed them to my kids."

    More from The Stir: 10 Processed Foods You Can Feed Kids -- Guilt-Free

  • Pudding Cups


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    "Have you ever read the nutrition facts on a pudding cup?" asks Felton. "There's nothing nutritious about it -- just sugar and fat." As an occasional treat or dessert? Fine. But they'll fail to fill up anyone as a snack. "Your kid will be hungry again an hour later," Felton says.

  • White Bread


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    Few things are kid-friendlier than white bread. It's basically like biting into a heavy cloud. But therein lies the problem. "White bread lacks the fiber, protein, and healthy fats of whole wheat bread," Armul says. In other words, it is like eating a cloud.

  • Fruit Snacks


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    "Even though 'fruit' and 'snack' are in the name, I consider fruit snacks a dessert because they're high in sugar," says Felton. Craving something with a fruity taste? You're better off eating a piece of actual FRUIT.

  • Packaged Lunches


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    Packaged meat and cheese boxes don't pass muster in Felton's eyes. While they do offer some protein and carbs, which is a plus, "they're loaded with fat and sodium," she says. You're better assembling your own box of snack foods to take to the park.

    More from The Stir: 10 Snack-Packing Hacks to Save Your Sanity

  • Cereal Bars


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    Cereal bars made with whole grains and real fruit seem like a healthy choice, but in some brands, that's not all you're getting, cautions Liza Baker, an integrative nutrition health coach and kitchen coach. "'Natural and artificial flavor' can include just about anything but often is a code word for MSG, which is known to cause headaches and other reactions in many people," she says. And don't even get us started on artificial dyes and their link to cancer.

  • Sports Drinks


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    Active kids? Awesome. Make sure they remember to refill their water bottles. "Despite how much they run around, kids don't need a sports drink to refuel and hydrate," says Felton. "Most sports drinks provide enough sugar to fuel the entire football team, not just one kid!"

    More from The Stir: 5 Beverages That Are Hurting Your Workout (and What to Drink Instead)

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