This post is sponsored by Bitsy’s Brainfood
When navigating the grocery store it’s pretty clear that the wall of produce is as wholesome as it gets. But what about everything else on the shelves? There are some people who choose to eat ONLY fresh produce, meats, grains, legumes and 100% pure whole foods, but I would find a diet like that a bit too restricting. I want to be able to use bottled sauces, minimally processed dairy and tofu products, jams, nut butters, crackers and more to season my life and complement the whole foods I hope fill up the majority of my diet.
The food pyramid is the shape that it is because certain foods are better than others. That’s not to say that there isn’t room to eat everything in a healthy diet, but the more nutrients a food contains, the healthier it is. Quality and quantity are very important in nutrition.
It is best to turn to fresh food for meals and snacks and make everything you can from scratch, but as I said in my quote above, I don’t find that very realistic for everyone. You are going to need to find a favorite prepackaged granola bar or serve crackers at a party from time to time. Kids are sometimes going to eat cookies and cereal and packaged snacks, so why not find the healthiest ones you can? If we agree that fresh/homemade food is best, what are the best choices in the ready-made snack category?
Yogurt // Sweetened yogurt –> Plain yogurt with mixins
Some of the ingredient lists on yogurts out there are downright scary. Between thickeners, added fibers and artificial sweeteners, you almost wouldn’t recognize yogurt as the base. I tend to stick with a few sweetened brands that have simple ingredient lists and low sugar content (Siggi’s is my fav) and eat lots of plain yogurt. Making your own yogurt flavor with mix ins is much more fun anyways: add a few nuts, a swirl of PB, a spoonful of granola, a teaspoon of your favorite local jam, pumpkin, etc.
Fruit snacks // Fruit roll ups and fruit chews –> Dried fruit with nuts
Just like I do for myself, when I’m packing snacks for Mazen I try to think about the balance of protein, carbs and fat. While there are natural fruit roll up and chew brands, I don’t think they do much for hunger, as they are usually 100% fruit/sugar with no fat or protein to help with satiety and keep blood sugars steady. Trail mix and raisins is a great alternative with a good mix of protein/fat/carbs. Or dried apricots, dates, and figs with some salted almonds.
Cookies // Refined flour cookies –> Whole grain cookies with recognizable ingredients
Whenever you have the choice of whole grain, take it! Typical refined flour cookies in a box (like animal crackers) will likely be digested in minutes and provide little nutritional value. I hadn’t heard of Bitsy’s Brainfood, who is sponsoring this post, before, but I’m glad I found them! Their cookies are whole grain, made with organic ingredients and are baked with fruits and veggies. While I don’t feed Mazen cookies for snack regularly, they have a time and place and these are my new favorite.
Bars // Processed protein –> Real Food protein
Protein isolates make me nervous, and I don’t consider them to be real food. The proteins are too far from their original structure intended by nature, so their behaviors in the body can be very different from the original whole proteins. So before you reach for a Luna or Clif bar packed with soy protein isolate, think about choosing something with whole protein instead: nuts, seeds, whole food bars made with whole pea protein or simple ingredients, like Larabars, KIND bars or Speedy B’s.
Crackers // Plain jane –> Seed Happy
We all eat crackers from time to time – whether it’s as a snack or during a party with cheese. Similar to cookies, the more whole grains, nuts, and seeds you can pack onto your cracker the better. The key is to bring more nutrients along for the ride. I like Mary’s Gone crackers as well as Dr. Krackers for their whole grains and nuts/seeds.
Bitsy’s Brainfood was created by two moms on a mission to make the food their kids eat healthier. Bitsy’s makes three different flavors of smart cookies – Sweet Potato Oatmeal Raisin, Orange Chocolate Beet, and Zucchini Gingerbread Carrot. First off, they taste amazing – vegetables and all! I’m also really happy that they are made in a nut-free facility so they are safe for taking to the gym and preschool. The cookies are baked with fruits and veggies, have extra nutrients added to them for a big nutritional punch, and they are GMO free. Both Mazen and I are
nuts nut-free over them!
Their cereals also include fruits and vegetables, GMO-free, whole grain, low in sugar and are organic.
To celebrate their recent release in selected Target stores (check here to see if they are in yours!), Bitsy’s Brainfood is giving one lucky reader a $50 giftcard to Target and a box of some of their products – so you can go taste the brand for yourself! Enter in Rafflecopter below.
This post was sponsored by Bitsy’s Brainfood