Here are a few tips to keep in mind when buying healthy store bought snacks for kids (and also for yourself!)
Choose whole grain products when possible.
Look at the serving size so you’re sure that you’re understanding the context of the nutrition label.
Look at the protein and fat content, which will give staying power to the snack so it helps keeps kids fuller longer.
Look for a minimal amount of added sugars. Many labels now have this separated out and lower is better. For a snack like a bar, I aim for no more than 5-8 grams (and try to stay closer to the lower range).
Look at the first three ingredients. If they’re things like whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, or another source of protein, that is a good sign. If it’s sugar, cane sugar, honey, sucralose, or something related to sugar, I’d probably pass them over.
Look for reduced sodium options, especially with foods that aren’t specifically for kids such as Triscuits. Many snack foods are high in sodium, which can add up quickly. (It’s okay to have some sodium but if you have the option, choose the “reduced-sodium” option.)
Combine foods if the main snack doesn’t have protein or fat. Add a drink like milk, drinkable yogurt, kefir, or a smoothie or another food such as avocado cubes, nut butter, or hard cooked egg that has protein and/or fat to ensure long lasting energy.
TIP: There’s not really a “perfect” snack for kids, so do your best with the options you have!