Snack to the Future: Healthy treats for our growing kids

Trae Bodge

Snacking not only staves off hunger until the next meal, but it provides much-needed energy for kids. The only problem is that most snacks for kids aren’t very healthy. So what’s a parent to do?

Micki Sannar, a world-renowned chef and author of the cookbook Olive Oil Desserts, says that when his kids wanted a snack, they often asked for something sweet. Sannar created Sweet Denial cookies, which are vegan, preservative-free and made with fresh California extra-virgin olive oil.

“I enjoy knowing that when I give my children a cookie, it actually contains ingredients that are good for their growing bodies.”

With flavors like Triple Lemon Insanity and Soft Molasses Ginger Roo, these cookies are out of this world. At $24.95 a dozen, though, they are definitely a treat for a special occasion.

Studies have shown that children with access to unhealthy snacks in the home consume more sugar and fat. Certified personal trainer Steve Ettinger says that it’s important to not only make healthy food available for your children, but also to lead by example: “Model healthy eating behavior so your child will adopt healthy attitudes towards food as well.”

Knowing that there were other healthy snacks out there that would appeal to kids, I started doing some research. Over the course of several days, I ventured onto the playground of my daughter’s school with armloads of snacks and found some clear winners:

— TastyBrand ($2.89–$4.99) makes organic fruit snacks and organic cereal bars. Every flavor of the fruit snacks and both flavors of cereal bars (pumpkin pie and carrot cake) were gobbled up immediately.

— Nature’z Candyz ($4.99) is a gourmet dried-fruit company recently featured on the Cooking Channel’s FoodCrafters. The big hit with kids: Cinnamon Applez. (The big hit with adults: the Coconut Bananaz).

We tested these at home and found them to be a delicious dessert:

— Del Monte’s Fruit Chillers Freeze and Eat Tubes are a tasty frozen treat made with fruit puree (no artificial flavors or corn syrup). Both flavors we tried, Strawberry Snow Storm and Grape Berry Blizzard, were a success.