Providing healthy portable snacks for kids seems like an exhausting challenge for parents and caregivers. Our eyes often seek the mess-free prepackaged snack foods such as granola or energy bars. These snack bars are an ideal snack for kids on the go--whether it is for their lunches, afterschool, or on vacation. However, when we walk down the snack aisles at our local grocery stores, we are bombarded by a multitude of brands, flavors, and labels on these snack bars. Each of these various snack bars provides its own benefits, yet we want the most beneficial snack bar for our active and growing kids--and adults! In any bar we select for our kids or even ourselves, we seek that 'right-now' energy with filling power and protein to make these convenient and nutritious snacks last.
Looking at the ingredient labels on the box of energy and granola bars provides the information to help make this health-conscious decision. The ingredients list should be short and sweet, with as many natural ingredients as possible-- think sunflower seeds, nuts of any kind, whole grains, honey, brown rice, and heart healthy olive and canola oils. Bars combining whole grains with nuts or seeds and dried fruits provide the quick yet filling and long-lasting energy we demand from our snack bars. The good news is that the sweet taste from a nutritious granola bar doesn't come from refined sugars like other processed snacks, rather it comes from natural sugars found in nut/seed butters, honey, and fruits. Granola bars such as KIND Bars, Nature Valley Bars, and Perfect Bars are a few nutritious examples of snack bars perfect for that on-the-go snack and are well suited to our busy schedules and our kid's nutrition.
And if you're tired of looking for the perfect snack bar at the grocery store, we suggest making your own at home! Here is a simple and versatile recipe for our Energy Bars where ingredients can be swapped out according to preference or even season!
- Mary Barber