Metro Mama & Metro Baby

By Patricia Wersinger

No one can ignore the fact that child obesity is a major crisis in this country. Even for children, food is often used as a tranquilizer and mood booster with little care for what’s in it. Snacks are particularly mischievous, as their point is to distract from hunger by providing a fix until the next meal. Often picked at random on the way back from school, snacks provide only empty fillers and sweets. As you build the best diet possible for your child, think ahead, plan and store snacks in your bag that are fruit or vegetable based and naturally sweetened, nutritious, and without preservatives.

Why not Mann’s Healthy Snacks On The Go? Packed in a convenient mini tray containing a variety of fresh cut, washed vegetables and a creamy delicious ranch dip, the trays come in different combinations of Celery, Carrots, Stringless Sugar Snap Peas, Broccoli, Grape Tomatoes and Raisins. The vegetables are flavorful and crisp with no chemical aftertaste. Mann’s Vegetable products contain no genetically modified ingredients. Nutrition-rich and calorie lean, these Vegetable Snacks provide tasty snacks for hungry kids; available at http://www.mannpacking.com.

Soy Joy snack bars use real fruit and nuts to create a nutrient-rich, light biscuit with a buttery taste. Great for lunch boxes or after school bites, they contain whole soybeans, which is a source of highly nutritious protein. Keep all the flavorful varieties such as peanut chocolate chip, berry, strawberry, blueberry and my favorite mango coconut in your back pocket for spurt of the moment inspiration. Available in health food stores and http://www.soyjoy.com

You’ve surely heard of the Pirate’s Booty brand, but have you tasted their latest flavor: New York Pizza Pirate’s Booty blended with tomato, real mozzarella and Italian spices? Gluten and trans fat free, it has only 130 calories per serving making it much less dangerous than chips. Keep it at hand and render every day a Pizza Friday. Available in health food stores, grocery stores and at http://www.piratebrands.com

Funky Monkey snacks are not your typical, overly-sweetened dried fruit snack. Crisp, with genuine taste and no added sugar, they feel raw and crunchy. Funky Monkey snacks are freeze-dried, a process that preserves all the fruit flavor. The apple pack has the wholesome taste of dried apples, and the Carnival mix, which includes bananas, papaya, and pineapples, has a tangy flavor. Other flavors include mango-orange juice and Purple Funk made of bananas with aà§ai for an earthier, less fruity bite. Carry them anywhere as a great fruit snack; they’re 70% organic and gluten free. Available in health stores and at http://www.funkymonkeysnacks.com.

The organic Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter blend by Sunland Valencia is the nectar of peanut butters. It contains no stabilizers, no emulsifiers and no fillers– only naturally sweet Valencia peanuts and salt. Spread on fresh whole wheat bread, pretzels or fresh fruit for a delicious snack. Try Organic Vanilla Cranberry, Organic Cinnamon Currant, Sweet Molasses or other natural flavors such as Raspberry, Banana Caramel, Almond Butter, and Mixed Nut Butter Creamy. Your child will detect the difference right away between the smooth, rich, full flavored taste of Sunland Valencia Peanut Butter and the blander brands mixed with fillers. This brand also offers small single cups, which are great for dipping or to take to school. Check all the savory flavors at http://www.sunlandinc.com.

Please keep your kids away from sodas or anything containing high fructose corn syrup. Corn syrup is difficult to eliminate from the body and greatly contributes to the problem of obesity among the young. There are plenty of alternatives such as fresh water and some organic sodas like Honest Kids’ Appley Ever After Thirst Quenchers, which will kill thirst with only half the sugar of sodas; also, while providing your child’s daily requirements of vitamin C Honest Kids will help develop a healthy taste not dependent on artificial sweets and empty calories. Comes in a pouch with a straw to be easily packed away in a lunch box, and available at health and groceries stores.

Biotta is a line of minimally processed organic juices made of whole fruits and vegetables with no additives to ensure a smooth, pleasing, natural taste. Train your daughter to discern the difference between drinks where sugar is used to hide the lack of flavor and naturally sweetened real juice which allows the full bite of the fruit to come through. Be bold and introduce her to other flavors such as beet, celery and root juices that are so delicate and smooth they taste as sweet as freshly pressed fruit. It’s available in health stores and at http://www.biottajuices.com.

For those days when your child can’t seem to keep any food down, Organic B.R.A.T. provides “tummy ” comfort for her sensitive stomach. Based on organic brown rice, organic banana purée, sea salt, vitamins and minerals – but no sugar or preservatives – Organic B.R.A.T promotes gastro-intestinal health and natural electrolyte balance. Your child ‘s snack can spell Bananas, Rice, Apple Sauce and Tummy-Soother. All the flavors are delicious: Original, Chocolate Honey, Vanilla and Cinnamon Toast.

Keep these tasty, smart snacks and nutritious foods on hand at home, and carry them in your purse too, so you’ll never have to give your children fake food again.

Originally published March 2010
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