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Best Healthy Snacks For Kids In Los Angeles

August 26, 2010 9:58 AM

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A customer shops for produce at a Whole Foods Market in California

(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A customer shops for produce at a Whole Foods Market in California

A customer shops for produce at a Whole Foods Market (photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The kids are heading back to school and that means it’s time to make lunches. It would be great if we had the time everyday to cut up a fruit salad or whip up our own granola to accompany a sandwich for lunch, but that’s not always realistic. If you’re looking for something healthy to toss into your child’s lunch or snack bag, here is a list of my favorite healthy snacks from five different stores plus one homemade tip.

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's (photo credit: http://www.traderjoes.com)

Trader Joe’s

Multiple locations
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My kids’ favorite snack and one that I put in their lunch boxes when we’re out of fruit is Trader Joe’s Apple Fruit Sauce Crushers. They come in a pack of four in either apple or apple/carrot. They don’t have any added flavors, colors or sugar and are fortified with Vitamin C. My one problem with them is the amount of packaging, but they are handy in a pinch.

Costco

Costco (photo credit: http://www.costco.com)

Costco

Multiple locations
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I’m morally opposed to juice boxes for two reasons. First, why put juice in a carton that will be thrown away (only some cities recycle them and the city and county of Los Angeles does not); and second, if my kids know we have them they ask for them constantly. Sometimes it’s a nice treat to have a juice box and it makes them very happy. When I do buy them, I get Kirkland’s Hansen’s Natural Multivitamin Juice Blast. I know, it’s still juice in a box, but it has vitamins and is 100 percent juice.

Target

Target (photo credit: http://www.target.com)

Target

Multiple locations
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Kashi’s TLC bars are a great snack for school. The blackberry graham bars have 110 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Compare that to Trader Joe’s Blueberry bars that have 140 calories, less than 1 gram of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and the same amount of protein. The best thing about the Kashi bars is that they taste good, but aren’t overly sweet. If you’re looking for extra protein, slather on some almond butter and it’s delightful after school snack.

Why buy them at Target and not the grocery store or Whole Foods? Because they cost at least $1 less a box at Target and I’ve found that they are often on sale.

Whole Foods

Whole Foods (photo credit: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com)

Whole Foods

Multiple locations
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If you are willing to splurge a bit and do some shopping at Whole Foods, my favorite fruit leather (and we’ve tried them all) is the 365 Everyday Value Organic Fruit Strips. They aren’t glossy with high fructose corn syrup and they don’t come on a strip of plastic, but they still taste good and look like real dried fruit.

Ralphs

Ralphs (photo credit: http://www.ralphs.com)

Ralph’s

Multiple locations
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I stick mostly to Trader Joe’s, but I will make a special trip to Ralph’s to buy Sara Lee’s Whole Grain mini bagels when my kids go through a phase where they refuse to eat. They love these soft bagels and I love that they’re whole grain and don’t contain any high fructose corn syrup. I’ll spread cream cheese, peanut butter and jelly, or almond butter and honey on the soft bagel and it’s sure to put an end to a hunger strike.

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Homemade Tip

One way to spruce up your young child’s lunch is to cut their sandwich into their favorite shape with a cookie cutter. It takes just a minute, but when they open up their lunchbox and see a heart, rocket ship, or even a circle-shaped sandwich it will make their day.

- Yvonne Condes is the creator of YvonneInLA.

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