You've seen them. You've probably even given them to your babies at some point. (I have too). They are convenient, and made from real fruits and veggies, what snack could be better?! The truth is, these are NOT the nutritious snack they are marketed to be. They can even create picky eaters! Read on to find out how, and why they are not the best option.
In my training to become a Health Coach, I was shocked to learn that these snacks (that I previously believed were a healthier option) are not what they seem! I mean, they're organic, and they contain fruits and veggies...How could they be bad?
The Shocking Statistic: A 2010 survey found that children ages 2 to 18 get nearly 40% of their calories from junk food. Yikes!
More parents than ever before are dealing with picky eaters. You know, kids that won't eat their veggies, and want to snack on "the good stuff" like goldfish, pretzels, chips, cookies, crackers, etc. Not only is this super frustrating for the parent, but it is also nutritionally destructive to the child. The good news is, you can shape a child's taste from infancy. The bad news is, many well-meaning parents think they are doing it right, but in reality, they are teaching their children to crave these junk foods.
When you feed a baby a snack like this, regardless of it being organic or containing "veggies", you are actually teaching them that food (and snacks) should be dry, crunchy, and taste like chips; instead of being fresh and juicy and real. So if babies grow up snacking on these, they will automatically think of snack foods as crackers, chips, pretzels, etc. instead of fruits and veggies. (Even if you do give children fruits and veggies as well, they will know these "snacks" are an option and will likely end up preferring them and giving their parents a harder time about eating their veggies).
The Good News
If you've already turned your kid into a picky eater, you CAN fix it, although it will take some effort (and possibly some tantrums as well). Basically, you can program your child's body to actually like and crave veggies, just by getting them to eat more of them (and less of the bad stuff!). I know, it's easier said than done; but there are tricks to make it easier on you (and your kids!).
The even better news is you can prevent this (given your baby hasn't started eating food yet) by only allowing your baby to snack on real foods. By doing this, you are teaching them from infancy what food should taste and feel like. If they never have the bad stuff, they won't ask for it. Plus, it sets them up to actually prefer healthier foods as they get older.
Real fruits and veggies are the best snacks for your baby!
The Bottom Line Is:
These highly processed snacks are not real food, and they are teaching your baby bad habits that will follow them throughout life unless they make a conscious effort to change in adulthood (which is easier said than done!).
So do your kids (and yourself!) a favor, and ditch these unhealthy snacks. Give your kids real fruit and veggies (also nuts, cheese or yogurt) as a snack. Remember, if you don't keep it in the house, they can't eat it. This is truly the easiest way to give your kids the best start in life!