Snacks: the good and the bad

229740434_ef811b3496_zHaving three growing kids in the house means we go through a lot of snacks. We’re also trying to eat reasonably healthy these days — if for no other reason than that we don’t want to feel guilty about consuming ridiculous milkshakes and funnel cake at the Reading Fair on the weekends. Of course, we don’t always succeed. Here’s what we’re snacking on, with the benefits and caveats for each.

Frozen grapes. Frozen purple grapes taste shockingly similar to popsicles. But it’s fruit! Downside: not portable. As soon as the grapes thaw, they go mushy.

Cheese sticks and Babybels (“circle cheese”). High protein, and an easy way to transport cheese. I like combining circle cheese with Thin Addictives cranberry and almond crackers/cookies. Downside: Cheese doesn’t survive the hot car test.

Applesauce pouches. We’ve been buying Go Go SqueeZ applesauce, which is the brand sold at Costco. It’s sweet enough to satisfy kids, but it’s still fruit. Very portable. Downside: This is a pricey way to consume applesauce. Even at Costco, they’re still about 45 cents each (in packs of 20).

Pretzels. We like Utz honey wheat braided twists, and the Snack Factory’s Pretzel Crips. Pretzels are pretty much indestructible, and satisfy a snacking need for something crunchy and salty. Downside: is there a downside? 

Popcorn. It turns out that Orville Redenbacher’s butter-flavor Smart Pop microwave popcorn has only 110 calories per bag. Even if our family splits two bags while watching Shark Week programming, that’s still a pretty light snack. Downside: Must be near a microwave.

And in the “not so healthy” category: Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle. My husband brought a bag of these home from Costco the other day (he also brought home a giant stuffed panda, but that’s a subject for a different post). It’s like a brownie with the crunch of a potato chip. And about as nutritious as a cross between the two would be. At least the bag is being consumed quickly. Otherwise, it’s dangerous to have in the kitchen next to my home office.

What are you snacking on these days?

Photo courtesy flickr user trekkyandy

20 thoughts on “Snacks: the good and the bad

  1. I recently purchased refillable squeeze pouches. Although I mostly use them for homemade concoctions, my big one takes jarred applesauce in them. She has the convenience and I don’t have the price of an individual squeeze tube (yes, you have to pay for the pouches, but they pay for themselves rather quickly if you would otherwise buy squeeze pouches anyway…)

    We go through A LOT of protein bars.

  2. Saw that brownie brittle advertised at the mall on billboards in Boston this summer, but no place at the mall to BUY it. Who DOES that? Just another example of how Boston likes to torture tourists.
    We mostly do trail mix and (dried or fresh) fruit for snacks. DH and DC1 like pretzels, but DC2 and I shouldn’t have them. I eat a lot of Larabars. DC1 has switched to cereal bars for breakfast– he likes them more than other breakfasts and we suspect would dawdle on purpose just to get to have the bar in the car rather than something else at home. So we gave up and said he could have one for breakfast even if we’re not running late.

  3. Ugh, the Internet ate my first comment.

    On Amazon subscription for us:

    Peter Rabbit Organics squeeze pouches – they have veggies in some of the flavors, which is great for our veggie-averse kid. Very $$$ though.

    Santa Cruz Applesauce cups


    Trader Joe’s:

    Seaweed snacks – 5 of these sheets is one serving of veggies, and T loves them, as do I.

    TJ’s cereal bars – I love these the best of all the ones I’ve tried. In fall, they have a pumpkin one. mmm.

    Kale chips and coconut chips – for me, not T.

    Coconut milk yogurt.

    Aebleskivers – they’re in the frozen section and super quick to heat up in the microwave. Sweet enough to eat plain. Non-dairy, too.

    1. I think I need to try these Larabars, sounds like lots of people like them! I also never manage to make it to Trader Joe’s, but we’ll have a new grocery system in the fall.

  4. It’s dawning on me why I find cooking and grocery shopping a chore- we snack on fresh fruits and vegetables or bread and butter or peanut butter sandwiches. None of these are difficult, but all require some preparation.

    1. @TG – yeah, I’m big into the one-step snack. I make peanut butter sandwiches for trips, but sandwiches for 5 people, even if very simple, is not an instantaneous thing. An apple or banana is pretty straightforward though (bananas don’t travel well, though).

  5. Not a one-step snack, but pink lady apple slices in a Gladware container travel very well. They don’t discolor (but they’re more expensive than North American apples). Our boys’ favorite snack in winter has always been clementines. They get to do all the “prep” of peeling.

    Funny about the panda; I saw one floating through our Costco this weekend to, with a little boy staggering underneath it.

    1. @nother Barb – maybe you were at our Costco! (King of Prussia). He insists it was on sale. It did have a ripped seam, which I repaired. My 3-year-old was utterly fascinated by the sewing process.

      1. Nope, Midwest. Apropos your recent “what did you do this weekend”, we were in the Costco bulk-buying necessities for our college sophomore’s dorm…such as printer ink and a case of SnackPack puddings–there’s a one-step snack! When you said you were at the Reading Fair, I thought you meant a book or story fair. As I read on I was a little confused, then I remembered “Reading Railroad” from Monopoly. Gotta flex my geography chops a little more.

  6. Cheese sticks. Raisins. In the summer, lots & lots of fruit. My littler guy likes berries the best. My older one will open the fridge and grab a stone fruit and eat the whole thing. We realized we spend more on fruit for a week than some others spend on their entire grocery bill. Pretzels, popcorn (though its hard for us to finish more than 20% of a microwave pack) and the ubiquitous cheese-y bunny/fish-shaped crackers. Home-made popsicles. Larabars or cereal bars and fruit leather. Oh and the little guy likes those TJs freeze-dried bananas. That’s all obviously for the kids. I like a mix of nuts and rice crackers (so crunchy!!) or cheese and crackers or cereal.

  7. I read quite a few American blogs and sites and really enjoy hearing about all the different foods you have there that aren’t available in the UK. As far as snacking goes, it’s just easier not to buy junk food in the first place – if it’s there, it’ll get hoovered up far too quickly! If we want cakes or biscuits then I make them – at least we then know exactly what’s in them.

  8. Like others, lots of fruit. Carrots. Nuts. Pretzels. Regular corn chips (no flavorings etc.). My kid will eat straight bread or a straight flour tortilla (no prep, no additions, whole wheat) if offered. And I also sometimes pack peanut butter sandwiches (with or without honey, he will eat either way), which travel well. On the more “prepared” front, bagels (again, with or without additions such as butter, but mainstream brands with more not-so-wholesome ingredients as the other stuff listed) and those cheap peanut butter crackers that come in packets.

    DS loves the seaweed, but we can’t find it locally (maybe TJ’s? The one place that used to carry it, quit).

    DH is far more blase about the additives than I am and buys DS Doritos, cookies, etc. So I try mostly to stick with the healthy/unaltered stuff and hope that it balances out.

    My kid’s thin as a rail and active as a … freight locomotive? No, a border collie. So I pay no attention whatsoever to the calorie count of his food.

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