The return of the school year means the return of busy mornings trying to throw lunches together, as well as busy weekend days fitting in all of your planned activities for you and the family. With these hectic schedules, it can be tough to find the best on-the-go snacks for your kids that are delicious and also use high-quality ingredients.
A great way to give your kids a boost of fiber and antioxidants on busy school days is by packing fruit snacks in their lunch. There's just one problem: some brands of fruit snacks are full of added sugars and concerning additives.
Thankfully, there are plenty of brands dedicated to making healthy fruit snacks that still have a ton of flavor. Read on for a list of the best fruit snacks that you AND your kids will love. Then check out 9 Healthy Snacks to Pack in Your Kid's School Lunches.
Yes! Bear Yoyos Fruit Rolls
"These healthy fruit snacks are made with real fruits and veggies, which help to boost the fiber content to 2 grams for each roll," says Rachel Fine, RDN registered dietitian and founder of To The Pointe Nutrition.
You can also rest assured that these fruit snacks have zero sodium, as well as no added sugar or cholesterol.
Bare Apple Chips
"These crispy apples are simple in regard to ingredients, which makes them more versatile in snack recipes (like trail mix and yogurt parfaits). The skin is left on during processing, which helps to keep the fiber intact," says Fine. "Fiber further promotes steadier blood sugar levels (and ultimately, longer-lasting energy)."
It's also nice to know you can consume this snack without any fat or sodium added. However, there isn't any protein in this one so you may want to pair with a protein source like Greek yogurt.
Annie's Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks
"These organic fruit snacks are ideal for little snackers because they are void of synthetic colors and flavors," says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements. "They are also made with organic ingredients, use real fruit juice, and are both gluten-free and vegan, making them options for a wider variety of kids."
One pouch is also low in calories, so parents who want a sweet treat can enjoy this as a low-calorie snack.
Black Forest Organic Fruit Flavored Snacks
"Black Forest makes their fruit snacks without high fructose corn syrup or synthetic colors and flavors, and these snacks are also made with real fruit juice, are non-GMO, and fair trade certified," says Best. "Because of this, Black Forest's fruit snacks can give parents and caregivers confidence that they are providing their little ones with a snack that benefits them and others."
Pure Organic Layered Fruit Bars
"These fruit bars are triple-layered, organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, and kosher," says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, author of The First Time Mom's Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility. "They are also made with fruit and vegetable juices and purees instead of artificial ingredients."
These fruit bars are so delicious that you'll want to snack on one with your kids.
That's It Bars
"That's It bars are made with only fruit, meaning there are no added sugars, preservatives, or artificial ingredients," says Manaker. "These bars are an easy way to enjoy fruit when on-the-go that is totally delicious too."
This is an easy way to get your kids to eat their recommended servings of fruit, but if you need some tricks on how to give them enough veggies, try these 6 Ways to Introduce Your Kids to Vegetables.
"RIND snacks are made with real fruit-including the peel! These snacks are a fun way to sneak in some extra fiber and flavonoids in a chewy and convenient way," says Manaker.
Flavonoids are extremely rich in antioxidants and can help you fight off chronic illnesses as you get older, so it's never too early to start introducing more to your diet.
Bare Banana Chips
Just like the Bare Apple Chips, these banana chips are delicious and a great healthier alternative to other types of sweet treats or chips.
"Bare crunchy banana chips are like fruit snacks made from real fruit. Baked to perfection and with nothing artificial, these fruit snacks are always a winner when something sweet and crunchy is needed," says Manaker.
Trader Joe's Freeze-Dried Strawberries
These freeze dried snacks from Trader Joe's are healthier than many types of dried fruit that add in tons of sugar or sodium.
"Freeze dried fruit can be just as nutritious as frozen or fresh, and it has a pretty long shelf life," says Manaker. "We love adding these into my daughter's lunchbox instead of fresh berries to avoid the risk of her getting a pile of mush once she opens up her meal."
Jell-O Simply Good Strawberry Gelatin
This Jell-O Simply Good option offers you the same sweet treat but with only real fruit juice and no weird dyes or artificial flavors.
This one is still fairly high in sugars, so it may not be a daily snack. But for a healthier alternative to regular Jell-O, this Simply Good line is a helpful option.