Finding Healthy Snacks for Babies

Once my baby reached the finger food stage, I was on the hunt for healthy snacks.  There are definitely snacks that I would give her at home such as peas, blueberries (cut up if they were not small enough), little bits of orange, shredded cheese, etc.  However, I wanted to find something that I could take on-the-go and that I could easily just throw in a bag or snack container.  As dedicated as I am to my children's health, even I sometimes just need the quick pre-packaged food.  Knowing that I would probably be disappointed, I made a valiant effort to find something.  The first three were a bust.

Cheerios:  I could see why this is a mom favorite.  They are low on sugar and made from whole grains.  The problem I have with cheerios is that it has GMOs-- genetically modified organisms.  Since GMOs are a big no-no for me, Cheerios was off the list.

Grain Puff Products:  I liked the idea behind the Gerber Graduates Puffs, but I wasn't too happy with the ingredient list so I looked into Plum Organic Puffs instead.  Those were not much better, either.  One of the main problems I have with "puffed" products in general is that rice flour is the main ingredient.  Because of the high level of arsenic in rice in this country (and it doesn't matter if it is organic or not), I tend to stay away from any product that contains rice.

Yogurt Melts:  There is the Gerber brand and there are also the Happy Yogi's.  Although on occasion, I would give my baby one or two Happy Yogis as a very special treat, because of the high sugar content, I was never comfortable having it as an every day snack.

Just when I thought all was lost, I came across Nature's Path Organic Kamut Puffs Cereal. The Kamut Puffs have no sugar and kamut is a nutrient-rich grain--much better than regular whole-wheat.  The Kamut Puffs cereal has no added ingredients, it is organic, and it is super cheap:  $1.69 for a cereal bag at Wegman's.  This quickly became my go-to snack when I needed something quick and easy.  You will not find these in the baby aisle but in the cereal aisle.  My baby loved these and they made for a great finger food.  This also makes a great cereal for kids with bananas and milk (you seriously cut down on the added sugar).

I was also able to find another great snack, Barbara's Honest O's.  I  have to order these online because I can't find them at my local Wegman's.  They are low in  sugar, no GMOs, they are organic, and they have a simplified ingredient list: Organic Whole Oat Flour, Organic Corn Flour, Organic Oat Bran, Organic Apple Juice Concentrate, Sea Salt, Baking Soda.  Note that is sweetend with apple juice instead of sugar.  

As a rule of thumb, shoot for snacks that are made from real food without the added sugar such as ut up fruit, steamed veggies, plain yogurt, etc.  However, for those days when you just need something quick or need to have something in the diaper bag that isn't going to go bad too quickly---Kamut Puffs and Barbara's Honest O's are a great alternative.  

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