Snacks Exposed

SavvyMom April 8, 2016
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Having an arsenal of snacks in your back pocket is essential for busy, on-the-go families.
We checked in with our ‘Friend in Food’€™, nutrition expert Theresa Albert (DHN & RNCP), to tell us what we need to know about the top snack picks’€”so we can stick to the grow-up-big-and-strong plan.

There is nothing that upsets us more in the grocery store than poor nutrition masquerading as health food. Here’€™s The Skinny on 6 Snack Picks.

Sounds Fishy
Fish crackers are a staple kid food (which may, in fact, be their downfall). It isn’€™t that there is anything particularly bad in them’€”there’€™s no food colouring or trans fats, as well as little sugar, but could you do better? Yes. Consider that 55 crackers holds 140 calories’€”about one third of them from processed fat, and the rest from white flour. There is less than one gram of fibre for all of that ‘€˜snack.’€™ And although some brands now have a ‘€˜whole-grain’€™ version, keep in mind that it is still highly processed. When you think about what wheat is supposed to provide (roughage, carbohydrates and nutrients), this isn’€™t the place to get it. Instead, find crackers with as few ingredients as possible that start with ‘€˜whole grain’€™. Woven wheats are a better bet.

Not So Sweet
You probably know all about how yogurt and probiotics are good for digestion and immunity. That part is true, but there is more to the yogurt story. The probiotics, or ‘€˜good bacteria’€™, do actually help break down food as well as line the intestine to prevent stomach bugs. The bad news is that most yogurts are made with so much sugar they are working against you. Sugar actually feeds the bad bacteria to effectively keep them alive to do harm for one more day. You do want probiotics from your food, but you want to be careful of the vehicle. Choose plain Greek yogurt that’€™s sweet and creamy all on its own. To add flavour, try a drop of pure vanilla extract and/or cinnamon, or find some jam or compote that has little sugar added and stir it in. Another option’€”find other fermented foods to feed your kids (and yourself) like miso soup and sauerkraut’€”they are great boosters.

Uncover more nutrition secrets about your favourite snack in The Skinny on 6 Snack Picks.

Remember, snacks are intended to keep the blood sugar (and therefore energy and behaviour) stable between meals. Anything that works against that goal (or that comes at too much of a nutritional cost) might need to go. Tested by Theresa A., Toronto

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