What’s the verdict on healthy snacks for kids?
The nutritional panel on kids snacks can be a minefield to navigate for parents, and most of us are pretty dubious about how accurate those sneaky little health star ratings at the bottom of the products we’re buying even are!
With this in mind, we’ve asked Karina Savage from Smartbite to review a selection of everyday kids snacks that you’ll find on the supermarket shelves; they might be regulars in your kids lunchboxes or at afternoon tea time, and we want to find out how nutritionally valuable they really are!
Uncle Toby’s Chewy Apricot Muesli Bar
Not bad for a nut free school option
✅ high in fibre (50% whole grains)
✅ under 5g sugar per serve ( 15.6g per 100g)
✅ low salt (sodium)
✅ contains mainly good fats
✅ no palm oil
Smartbite verdict: A homemade muesli bar is always going to win nutritionally, but for a nut free school option these aren’t too bad. I don’t necessarily always trust the health star rating, but this time it’s not far off. A muesli bar containing nuts would be far more nutritious but you can’t send those to school!
Nice & Natural Roasted Nut Bars
Pretty good compared to many others
✅ 60% peanuts- loaded with nutrition
✅ over 3g dietary fibre per bar (high fibre)
✅ Only 6g sugar per serve
✅ incredibly low salt
✅ gluten free for those that need
✅ contains good fats and protein
❌ only major downside is that they contain 15 % added sugar. However the protein and fat content will actually help to slow down the Glycemic Index or GI (rate at which sugar goes into the blood stream).
Smartbite verdict: These are a pretty good muesli bar compared to many others. They do contain some added sugar, but they also offer a fair amount of nutrition for a muesli bar. Of course home baked is always going to trump any shop bought, but if you are time poor then grab these as an after school snack on the way to the next kids activity!
Thinkfood Pumpkin seed Munch
Nutrient dense healthy snack
✅ high in fibre
✅ high in good fats
✅ low in salt
✅ good source of iron, zinc and antioxidants
✅ gluten and dairy free for those that need it.
❌ only down side is 10% refined sugar, but that’s still not that high, so still a great snack option!
Smartbite verdict: This is a nutrient dense healthy snack.
Peckish Garden Veg Rice crackers
Not great when eaten alone; add something healthy!
✅ Low in added sugar (but super refined/processed)
✅ Gluten free (if you need it)
✅ Free from palm oil
❌ highly processed (looks nothing like a grain of brown rice!)
❌ high GI (bad for blood sugar levels)
❌ very very low in fibre (so low they don’t even declare it!)
❌ only 4% vegetables, which have then been highly processed.
❌ salt (sodium) is getting a bit too high (445mg per 100g)
Smartbite verdict: Use these either dipped in hummus, or on a platter of chopped raw veg, cheese and other healthy food! They don’t have much going for them when eaten alone!
Table of Plenty Mini Rice Cakes – triple berry yoghurt
Loaded with sugar
✅ Not genetically modified
✅ Low in salt
❌ Loaded with added sugar (30%)
❌ High in saturated fat
❌ Processed refined carbs (even if it says brown rice)
❌ Low in fibre
❌ Low in nutrients
Smartbite verdict: thumbs down! Perhaps consider a different snack!
Beats most other packaged carbohydrate kids snacks
✅ high in whole grains
✅ reasonable source of fibre
✅ reasonable salt content
✅ contains other nutrients (in smaller quantities) such as B group vitamins, magnesium, zinc and iron
✅ basically no trans fat
✅ low in sugar
Smartbite verdict: Whilst it doesn’t compete with whole foods such as fruit, veggies and nuts as snacks, it beats most other packaged carbohydrate kids snacks on the shelves! It’s a reasonable kids snack for some days of the week.
Not amazing, not terrible
✅low in sugar
❌relatively low in whole grains at 36% and quite processed
❌salt is a little too high (usually use cut off around 300mg per 100g)
❌not a great source of fibre
Smartbite verdict: as they would say in Italy “cosi’ cosi”, meaning these are a “so so” snack. Not amazing and not terrible!
Roasted Fava Beans
King of kids healthy snacks!
✅ they are dried legumes – high in fibre, good for gut health
✅ reasonable salt content for a kids snack
✅ natural flavourings
✅ nut free for school
✅ gluten free for people with Coeliac
✅ made in australia
✅ GMO free
Smartbite verdict: These healthy snacks get five stars for a reason!
About Smartbite Nutrition
The team at Smartbite work every day to improve the quality of life and health of children with tummy troubles and reduce parental stress when feeding fussy kids, helping to bring back a sense of calm and wellbeing for families. Giving families back their head space and freedom when it comes to nutrition and allowing them to focus on all the other things their busy lives throw at them!
If you’re struggling with a fussy eater or have a child with gut issues such as constipation, IBS, allergies or food intolerance, Smartbite truly understands how stressful, exhausting and overwhelming it is to manage day in day out. You just want what’s best for your child, but sometimes that can be super confusing! Making confident nutrition decisions for your family, that don’t take hours of preparation or research, just isn’t an option for many modern families.