Smart Tarts: The New, Smarter Tart
Are you trying to teach your child the importance of making healthier food choices? We know it's not an easy task, and with junk food lurking in vending machines, the lunchroom, and lining supermarket shelves, it's almost impossible to avoid unhealthy snacks at every turn (for you and them). Thankfully, several companies are getting on board with making healthier snacks that both kids and adults can enjoy. One such company is The Smart Food Co., the makers of Smart Tart, the healthier ready-to-eat toaster pastry.
Did you know American children are at risk of developing chronic health ailments such as type 2 diabetes and obesity more than ever before? Diet largely plays a factor in this, so it's important to know exactly what ingredients are hiding in the snacks that we are giving to our children, in addition to consuming ourselves. Sugar is just one of the larger culprits residing in children's snacks, and thankfully Smart Tarts offer much less than the competing snack companies you and your kids are probably familiar with.
How many grams of sugar do most kids' snacks have? Why is this a problem?
"According to the American Heart Association, kids over the age of 2 should not have more than 25 grams of added sugar a day," says Sydney Greene MS, RDN. "To put this in perspective, 25 grams equals about six packets of sugar."
For example, Pop-Tarts are chock-full of added sugar. One frosted, whole grain, strawberry Pop-Tart pastry includes 15 grams of added sugar, and one packet contains two Pop-Tarts. If a child was eating both pastries for breakfast, they would already have consumed more than their day's worth of added sugar.
"The problem with added sugar is the more we eat it, the more we crave it, and unfortunately, snack options that are marketed as healthy can contain sneaky hidden added sugars," says Greene. "When sugar is added to food, this changes our taste perception, making our threshold for sweet [flavors] much higher, which can exacerbate picky eating when it comes to whole foods like fruits and veggies."
The Strawberry Chia Smart Tart contains a fraction of the sweet stuff at just 9 grams of sugar per tart, not to mention the portion sizes are more sensible—only one comes in each packet.
RELATED: The easy guide to cutting back on sugar is finally here.
How does Smart Tart compare to Pop-Tart?
There are notable differences in nutrition between the two pastries. Aside from a slash in sugar, Smart Tart offers 8 grams of protein per serving, which helps to curb hunger and promote satiety. Conversely, one Pop-Tart only contains 2 grams of protein, and for an equivalent amount of calories. While both treats clock in at 180 calories per serving, the ingredients in each are widely different.
The second ingredient listed in the whole grain frosted Strawberry Pop-Tart is sugar, meaning that's the second most abundant ingredient in the pastry. Sugar is followed by corn syrup—another name for sugar—enriched flour, dextrose, soybean and palm oil, and bleached wheat flour.
The first two ingredients in a Smart Tart, on the other hand, are enriched flour and water. The pastry also packs chia seeds, a natural source of healthful omega-3 fatty acids, which Greene says supports hormone production, immune function, and heart and lung support. Smart Tarts are also void of any artificial colors and flavors, so what you see is what you get—there are no hidden ingredients pretending to be other fruit flavors in here.
Why Smart Tart is the smarter choice.
Unlike a frosted Pop-Tart, which is already caked in a layer of icing, a Smart Tart doesn't have anything on its surface. This gives you the option to add even more protein and healthful fats to it. Consider spreading one tablespoon of almond butter on top of the tart and cutting up a few strawberries to place on top for a quick on-the-go breakfast for yourself. Or, if it's an after-school snack for your child, pair it with a glass of unsweetened oat milk.
Aside from strawberry chia, you and your child can enjoy two other flavors: blueberry acai and cinnamon twist. Put an end to eating sugar-laden snacks, and opt for a healthier alternative like Smart Tart.