09 April 2008

A slightly healthier "fruit snack"

Rednexmama read the labels on so-called "fruit snacks" -- those little packages of gummy fruit candies -- and found quite a difference between brands:

I actually found super-yummy fruit snacks that aren't just sugar under the guise of "made with real fruit." (Seriously? Have you read the nutrional info on those? They're candy. Pure and simple, whether they're made with fruit or not.) But Florida's Natural Fruit Juice Nuggets have only 50cal/pack compared to usually 140 or so, 10g of sugar compared to usually at least twice that, AND they contain 40% of your vitamin C! And even all of my non-mommy friends are hooked, they're so tasty! Oh, and they're nut and gluten free!

Related: Make healthy snacks easiest to grab

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It's very likely that your kids get plenty of vitamin C. It's one of the easier vitamin to get and kids need pretty low levels (about 25 mg - you'll find that in 2 oz of OJ) Don't let the added vitamin C in products like these affect your decision to buy them.

I never buy these anymore, as we purchase in bulk dried apples, dried apricots, dried cranberries (these really are like candy as they are soaked in sugar to make them palatable) and the like. These are omnipresent in a ziploc container in the pantry right at eye level, along with microwave popcorn and roasted peanuts, although we keep the wasabi soybeans up on top so keep the toddlers out of them. The refrigerator also has all the "good" snacks on their level: string cheese, yogurt, SF jello/pudding and our dining room table has the requisite fruit bowl with apples, bananas and oranges.

Fruit leather is even better than either of those. It's nothing but pulverized fruit dehydrated into a yummy little bar. Delish!

Don't worry, I use these simply as an alternative to other "treats". They are by no means replacing fruits and vegetables, which are the go-to snacks in our house. We're also big fans of the dried cranberries, but I realized that one serving of dried cranberries, while it did have slightly more fibre, also had quite a bit more sugar. I'm not saying that you should get suckered in by claims of extra vitamin C (in the same way, "made with real fruit" shouldn't get to you), but in comparing fruit snacks, including fruit leathers/bars, these were the best compromised I could find.

costco has packs of freeze dried apples...my kids think they are fruit snacks, but they have NOTHING added to them, just purely apples.

I'm all for real dried fruit. Minimal processing, very little confusion about what we're eating...except for the pears. They DO look like ears. :)

For fruit "treats" like this Fruitabu (don't know how to type the 2 dots over the U) is popular at our house. No added sugar at all, just organic fruit. But agreed...they are all an occasional treat and no substitute for the real thing!

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