Keeping your kids fueled with healthy snacks they like is important. Like is the optimal word. If you’ve ever found stale granola bars or moldy fruit in a backpack, you know you’re missing the mark. The average kid beelines from school to marathon afterschool activities. And even if they make a pit stop at home, they’re hungry and want food fast. Bring some excitement to your child’s snack lineup this fall. We reviewed nine fun brands to get your students psyched about snacks again. They range from protein bars and applesauce cups in fun flavors and packaging to spoonable smoothies and healthy gummy bears. (Yes, there is such a thing!) Most are allergen-free and contain either vitamins, protein or fiber you wouldn’t get in a bag of classic potato chips. So, without further ado, our favorite snacks to send the kids back to school.
9 Snack-to-school favorites
Cost: $30 for 12-bar boxes
With flavors like dark chocolate peanut butter, dark chocolate cherry, coconut cashew crisp, Zing bars sound more like candy than protein bars. But each bar packs a nutritional punch. The Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar, for instance, comes with 10 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and only 6 grams of sugar.
These plant-based bars were created by dietitians so that tells you they have the right mix of ingredients. They are also vegan, soy-free, gluten free and non-GMO. And they are very tasty. We also appreciate the Minis—same as the original, half the size, so only 100 calories. It’s perfect for a power boost without ruining a small one’s appetite before dinner.
Spoonable Smoothies from Sweet Nothings
Cost: $46.99 for 12 pack of 3.5 oz cups
Sweet Nothings’s Spoonable Smoothies are frozen so think of them as a good substitute for artificially flavored ice cream cups. They contain clean ingredients such as organic fruit, nuts and seeds. And they’re not going to blow anyone’s diet; calories range from 90 to 120 per serving. Flavors are appealing as well: strawberry, blueberry, chocolate, peanut butter, tropical greens and mango. They are certified organic, no-sugar added and plant-based. Sweet Nothings also makes Superfood Nut Butter Bites and Kids Squeezable Smoothies, which look just as tasty. And there’s a definite cross-over audience appeal. Mom and Dad might be guilty of eating all of these before the kids can get to them!
Crispy Green’s Crispy Fruit – Freeze-dried fruit
Cost: $8.99 for a Single-Serve, Apple, 0.53 Ounce (Pack of 4)
Crispy Green’s Freeze-dried Crispy Fruit is a perennial favorite. Not only is it no-sugar added, it’s also vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO and allergen free. It’s comes in seven flavors: apple, mango, pear, strawberry, banana, pineapple and tangerine. The All Apple Crispy Fruit has 35 calories per serving and contains no additives. The freeze-dried part makes it perfect for throwing in the backpack for any temperature. It can last years in your pantry so stock up.
Cost: $29.94 for six 4.2 oz. bags of Crackers
FreeYumm Crackers are designed as the ultimate allergy-free baked good. Sarah, the Mom behind FreeYumm, was inspired to start the company because she was frustrated with the lack of allergy-free products on grocery store shelves. FreeYumm cookies and crackers are free of the nine top allergens: dairy, peanuts, eggs, wheat/gluten, soy, tree nuts, sesame, seafood and sulfites. A dedicated bakery in Vancouver, Canada, bakes all the products.
FreeYumm Crackers are non-GMO and come in three flavors. Herb & Seed, Himalayan Salt and Zesty Cheeze (which has cheese flavoring with a little heat). The crackers are crunchy and savory, and not too salty. They are perfect for dipping and just munching by themselves.
ZeeZee’s Apple Sauce Cups
Cost: $32.99 for a 4 oz. 24-pack.
The flavors and packaging on the ZeeZee’s Apple Sauce Cups bring a new excitement to a well-established snack. Each has a kid-friendly name to match the inventive flavors: Rock’n Blue Raspberry goes by Ozzy; Cinnamon Unsweetened goes by Larz; and Strawberry Banana Applesauce is Tizmo. Three of the five flavors are unsweetened and they are all gluten-free, nut-free, non-GMO and fat-free.
Yum Earth – Assorted Flavor Gummy Bears
Cost: $8.29 for 10 (0.7 oz) servings
Think of Yum Earth’s candy as classic Gummy Bears re-invented with healthy ingredients. These gluten free candies contain a mix of pomegranate, mango, peach and strawberry so you’ll taste the real fruit flavors. Its ingredient list is recognizable, too. They include: apple juice concentrate, and colorings from organic concentrates such as carrot, apple, blackcurrant, pumpkin, radish, lemon, paprika.These gummies are also allergen safe: free of peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, and sesame. And you can feel good about them because they contain no high fructose corn syrup or artificial dyes.
Crunchy Tiny Pops from Chasin’ Dreams Farm
Cost: $29.99 for 12 (0.6 oz) pack
This is truly novel—popped sorghum snacks! Crunchy Tiny Pops from Chasin’ Dreams Farm are Sorghum, which is a ancient grain that pops up like tiny popcorn. These flavorful snacks come in Cinnamon, Sweet & Salty and Cocoa. True to their name, they retain their crunchiness and have a pleasant taste. Each bag is only 66 calories. Chasin’ Dreams keep the snack healthy by using unprocessed ingredients such as Organic Cane Sugar, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Natural Flavor, Sunflower Oil, Pink Himalayan Salt, Sunflower Lecithin, Rosemary Extract. The snacks are also regeneratively farmed in the U.S. and non-GMO.
Cost: $45 for 10 (2.5 oz) Bars
We would be remiss if we didn’t include chocolate! These aren’t your regular candy bar variety. Taza chocolate bars are stone ground chocolate bars that are minimally processed with color flavor combos like raspberry, ginger and toasted coconut. They are also USDA Organic, vegan, non-GMO and free of gluten, dairy and soy. These also fit your low-sugar goals: These are for true dark chocolate lovers—not for poseurs. They are 70 percent chocolate and climb up to 95 percent with the Wicked Dark varieties. If that’s too intense dark chocolate for you, try their almond milk varieties.
For even more options check out: Tasty New Snacks for the School Year. If you’re tempted to reach for junk food, know you have nutritious AND delicious snacks at your disposal. Your kids (and everyone else in the household) will thank you for stocking up on the good stuff!
— Gabriella Costantini and Patty Yeager