We all want our kids to eat healthy, but kids only want to eat what tastes good. So we rounded up a bunch of snacks and drinks marketed to kids that claim to be healthy and tried them out. There are snacks we think your kids will love and ones that you should definitely avoid. Hopefully you’ll find one you want to try with your family.
CapriSun Roarin’ Waters
Variety: Strawberry Kiwi
Serving size: 1 pouch
Total fat: 0g
Health claims: Low calorie, helps hydrate kids
Note: Contains no fruit juice and includes Splenda
How it tastes: Although this version of flavored water tastes more like sugar water than juice, our kid testers loved the sweet taste. You won’t find any vitamins, minerals or other healthy stuff in here, but it could get kids to drink more water, even if it is flavored with Splenda, high fructose corn syrup and other "natural flavors." At 35 calories per pouch, it’s still better than pop and doesn’t have any caffeine.
Clif Kid Splashers drink mix
Varieties: Tropical Punch, Lemonade and Orange Tangerine
Serving size: 1 packet (makes 8 fl. oz.)
Health claims: 80 percent organic, half the sugar of apple juice, excellent source of vitamin C, good source of calcium and B vitamins
How it tastes: Consider this an organic, kid-version of Gatorade. Each variety contains electrolytes to help hydrate active kids. The kids who tried the mix loved the taste and unlike Gatorade, this thirst quencher contains vitamins your kids need, too.
Variety: Chocolate shake
Serving size: 1 packet
Calories: 80, 200 with 8 fl. oz. 2 percent reduced fat milk
Health claims: Designed to be part of a healthy meal or as a snack, each shake has 17 essential vitamins and minerals, 15g of protein, calcium, fiber and a blend of herbs and botanicals designed for children
How it tastes: On first taste this shake tastes a lot like a Slim Fast shake (for those adults who have tried them in the past). The chocolate flavor isn’t very strong, but it’s not bad. What is bad is the medicine aftertaste. Only some of our testers noticed the aftertaste, but if your kids are picky eaters and drinkers, it’s probably best to avoid this product.
Nesquik with 25% less sugar
Variety: Chocolate flavor
Serving size: 2 Tbsp, makes 1 cup (8 fl. oz.) prepared
Calories: 60, 180 with 1 cup reduced fat milk
Total fat: 0.5g (before milk)
Health claims: 25 percent less sugar than other powder and syrup brands, 33 percent more calcium than milk alone
How it tastes: Everyone knows kids love chocolate milk (well, most kids anyway) and for kids who don’t like drinking plain milk it can be a great way for them to get the calcium they need. Odds are your kids won’t miss the extra sugar in the newest version of Nesquik—the adults and kids we had test this mix liked the taste. And there aren’t any artificial sweeteners to make up for the lack of real sugar. We don’t think it needs to be any sweeter anyway.
Nui Kid Water
Varieties: Purple Power, Outrageous Orange and Raging Red
Serving size: 1 bottle (10 fl. oz.)
Health claims: Sweetened by fruit juice, low in sugar, no high fructose corn syrup, calcium of ½ cup of milk, vitamin D of 1 cup of milk
Note: 40 percent juice
How it tastes: Although the stats on this kid water are great—40 percent juice, naturally sweetened, a good source of calcium and vitamin D—the taste isn’t very kid friendly. All the flavors got a big thumbs down from our kid testers and they didn’t fare much better with the adults. Your kid is more likely to drink plain water than these fruit-flavored versions.
Clif Kid OrganicZBar
Varieties: Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Brownie, Honey Graham and Peanut Butter
Serving size: One bar
Total fat: 2g-5g
Health claims: No trans fat, 12 vitamins and minerals, no high fructose corn syrup, 95 percent organic
How it tastes: You might be familiar with the Clif and Luna bars from this company already—now they have a kid version. Although our kid testers didn’t really like the Chocolate Chip variety, they loved the other three. They said the organic chocolate in the chocolate chip was too bland (these testers read labels, too). The kids already have their mom looking for the other three flavors, though. With 3g of protein per bar, the ZBar will likely satisfy your kids more than the typical sugary kid snack.
Clif Kid Organic Twisted Fruit
Varieties: Strawberry, Sour Apple, Tropical Twist and Mixed Berry
Serving size: One piece
Health claims: Each piece equals one serving of organic fruit, no added sugars, preservatives, artificial flavors or colors, good source of vitamins C and B
How it tastes: Fruit Roll-Ups are a classic kid favorite and with Twisted Fruit kids can get a whole serving of organic fruit per twist. Our kid testers were definitely fans and didn’t miss the artificial colors and additional sweeteners. We bet your kids won’t miss them either.
100% Whole Grain Fig Newtons
Serving size: 2 cookies
Total fat: 2g
Health claims: Made with whole grain wheat flour, no saturated fat, no cholesterol, made with 100 percent more real fruit than a Nutri-Grain Bar
How it tastes: The whole grain versions don’t really taste all that different from the originals and that’s probably a good thing. If your kids like regular Fig Newtons, they likely won’t notice much difference in the whole grain ones. They are a little drier than the originals, though, so keep water or milk handy.
Nabisco 100 Calorie Packs
Varieties: Barnum’s Animals Choco Crackers, Mini Teddy Grahams (cinnamon), Alpha-Bits Mini Cookies
Serving size: 1 package
Total fat: 3g
Health claims: No trans fat, no cholesterol (Alpha-Bits and Barnum’s Animals Choco Crackers), 5g whole grain and good source of calcium (Teddy Grahams)
How it tastes: As with most of the 100 calorie packs on the market, these three from Nabisco are just mini-sized portions of the regular snacks. That means no skimping on taste. We weren’t familiar with the Alpha-Bits Mini Cookies before, but they came out as the clear favorite of the three (they taste like shortbread cookies). The sizes are just right for little fingers, but watch out for choking with very little ones since they are so small.
Welch’s Fruit ‘n Yogurt Snacks
Varieties: Blueberry and Strawberry
Total fat: 2.5g
Health claims: Yogurt contains live and active cultures, low fat, 100 percent vitamin C, 25 percent vitamins A&D, 10 percent calcium
How it tastes: These yogurt-covered fruit snacks were surprisingly addictive. The burst of fruit at the center made our mouths water. The strawberry snacks definitely went faster than the blueberry, but that’s largely up to your fruit preference. Although the pouches don’t hold a ton of snacks, they should be enough to tide your little one over until dinner.
Uncle Wally’s Smart Portion Muffins
Varieties: Blueberry, Chocolate Fudge (brownie cups), Cranberry Apple and Banana
Serving size: 2 brownies/muffins
Calories: 140 muffins, 160 brownies
Total fat: 1g muffins, 3g brownies
Sugars: 16g-17g muffins, 24g brownies
Health claims: Whole grain, low fat, good source of fiber
How it tastes: These muffins looked so promising—two mini muffins for 140 calories—but something is a little off with the taste. While no one could put their finger on exactly what tasted funny, the best way to describe it is to say the muffins tasted kind of fake. The brownies didn’t have the same "fake" taste as the muffins, but they definitely left something to be desired. Even popping the muffins and brownies in the microwave as per the box’s instructions didn’t make them taste much better. If your kids are used to full fat and calorie muffins and brownies, odds are they won’t be fans of Uncle Wally’s healthy versions.
Yoplait Go-GURT Fizzix
Varieties: Strawberry Lemonade Jolt and Wild Cherry Zing
Serving size: 1 tube
Health claims: Good source of calcium, contains live and active cultures
How it tastes: Everyone who heard the description of Fizzix, yogurt with added fizz, was skeptical. After all, fizzy yogurt doesn’t sound too appetizing. Adults tended to shy away from the snack, but every kid who tried a Fizzix tube loved it. So what does fizzy yogurt taste like? Imagine adding the "pop" of Pop Rocks to yogurt. Unlike some of the other snacks in our taste test, these are likely "for kids only," but they’re a great way to get kids to eat yogurt.
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