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Back-to-School Snack Ideas

Kid-friendly treats great for after school, lunch boxes or just because

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Need some new back-to-school snack ideas? Whether you are looking for a healthy treat for after school or some nibbles to stick in a lunchbox, it's always a good idea to serve your little one snacks that are both nutritious and taste good -- they aren't hard to find!

While picky eaters may balk at something new, if you are persistent and keep offering it up, they may have a change of heart. Especially in the case where the snacks look friendly -- the ones with the Sesame Street characters for instance -- they be more eager to try than usual.

I tested all of these products (see ethics policy below) with my own personal tester, my 3-year-old son, S. His thoughts are listed after every product summary.

Earth's Best Organic Sesame Street Crunchin' Crackers

Earth's Best Organic Sesame Street Crunchin' Crackers
Earth's Best
Having trouble getting kids to eat their vegetables? How about serving them in cracker form? Earth's Best has a variety of kid-friendly crackers on the market and the latest, veggie, is made from organic dried vegetables including sweet potato, broccoli and carrots. Besides having two grams of protein, each serving also contains iron, zinc and six B vitamins. Still not sure your little one will give them a try? With friendly Sesame Street faces on the box and the crackers themselves, I'm guessing this won't be a problem. Even better, Earth’s Best is a sponsor of Sesame Workshop's Healthy Habits for Life initiative, a program that is dedicated to encouraging healthy habits in children.

A preschooler's opinion: My son declared these snacks to be very crunchy and good. At first he didn't want to "eat Elmo" (Big Bird he had no problem with!) but once he acquiesced, he couldn't stop!

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Happy Tot Plus

Happy Tot Plus
Happy Family
If you are looking for a snack that packs a nutritious wallop, Happy Tot Plus Pouches are a good choice. Available in three varieties each with a host of fruit and veggies, every pouch contains salba and choline as well as all-natural ingredients.

A preschooler's opinion: Before he even took a taste, I knew my preschooler would like these -- he was totally sold on the pouch. The shape sure, but he was actually quite a fan of the packaging. I think he also liked identifying the fruit on the outside and knowing that it was on the inside. He enjoyed the taste too, asking for more as soon as he had finished the first one. Of the three he tried, he liked the Strawberry, Kiwi, Beet & Pear variety best.

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Honey Maid Grahamfuls

Honey Maid Grahamfuls
Nabisco
The purpose of a snack isn't just to taste good, but to carry your child from one meal to the next without making them feel overly full. That's why I like Honey Maid Grahamfuls. It's basically a graham cracker sandwich made with 100 percent whole grain (10 grams per serving) and real honey. Flavors include Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter & Chocolate and Banana Vanilla Créme. There is no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors.

A preschooler's opinion: These were by far S.'s favorite snack of all the ones we tested. One filled him up nicely and held him from about an hour after lunch all the way until dinner. He wasn't crazy about the banana créme one (the slightly tangy taste is why I liked it!), but he could not get enough of the peanut butter and peanut butter and chocolate ones. (I've bought four boxes since our taste test!)

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G.H. Cretors Premium Popped Corn

G.H. Cretors Premium Popped Corn
G.H. Cretors
One of my family's favorite snacks is popcorn, especially when it is flavored. G.H. Cretors premium popped corn is popped with local corn in copper kettles by hand with all-natural ingredients free of GMO's, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Flavors include (among others) Chicago Mix (sweet and salty), Just the Cheese and Just the Caramel.

Note: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, popcorn should not be given to a child under age four.

A preschooler's opinion: S. wasn't crazy about the Chicago Mix -- he didn't like the sweet and salty combination (although my older two children loved it) -- but he did like the flavors when they were separated out. He liked the cheese flavor and the kettle corn the best. He was also very enthusiastic about this snack in general -- he doesn't get popcorn often so he was happy to try it. (Because he is three, I broke up the popcorn pieces as best I could while he ate them. In the bags we reviewed, we didn't find one unpopped kernel, which is definitely helpful.)

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Pirate's Booty

Pirate Booty
Pirate Brands
Aargh! Looking for an alternative to chips? Pirate's Booty is a baked, is gluten and tree-nut free snack that has all natural ingredients and no trans-fats. Kids will love the Aged White Cheddar flavor, and honestly, you will too.

A preschooler's opinion: Even before our little taste test, my preschooler has eaten Pirate's Booty and loves it -- he asks for it every time we hit the grocery store. Still, in the interest of a fair test, I purchased some solely for this little experiment. He was not disappointed. His favorite part is the taste -- "cheesy popcorn!" but he also likes the bag that it comes in and the pirate that adorns the cover.

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Archer Farms Simply Balanced Organic Fruit Strips

Archer Farms Simply Balanced Organic Fruit Strips
Target
When is fruit flat? When you are eating it in "leather" form like the ones from Archer Farms, available at Target. Their Simply Balanced Organic Fruit Strips are all natural with no sugar added and no artificial colors or flavors and no preservatives. Available in a host of flavors including strawberry, wildberry and apricot, they are great to tuck into a purse or backpack for a quick recharge.

A preschooler's opinion: Another snack that we regularly purchase, S. calls these "Fruit in That Drawer" because of where we keep them in our kitchen (to get the full effect, you need to be watching him as he points). Still, this is another one of his favorites. Depending on the flavor they are both sweet and tart and nicely sticky.

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Plum Kids Organic Jammy Sammy

Plum Kids Organic Jammy Sammy
Plum Organics
This on-the-go sandwich bar is made with 100 percent whole grains and filled with an organic fruit spread. Available in four varieties -- apple cinnamon & oatmeal, blueberry & oatmeal, grape jelly & peanut butter and strawberry jam & peanut butter -- it is certified organic with non-GMO ingredients no high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, artificial flavors or preservatives.

A preschooler's opinion: "Suspiciously" is the word I'd use to describe the way my preschooler eyed these sandwich bars -- it didn't look like a snack to him apparently. But once he had a taste he was sold. We had the blueberry & oatmeal and he really liked it. In fact, he wanted to know if he could have it for his lunch, rather than as a snack, and that was a good thing.

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Earth's Best Organic Greek Yogurt Smoothie

Earth's Best Organic Greek Yogurt Smoothie
Earth's Best
If your child likes yogurt (or even if he doesn't) give Greek Yogurt Smoothies from Earth's Best a try. Packaged in a pouch, the yogurts are rich and creamy and come in three kid-friendly fruity flavors -- cherry, apple and banana. There are 3 grams of protein per serving and each pouch provides at least 20 percent of the daily value of vitamins C and D.

A preschooler's opinion: S. doesn't like yogurt so I didn't know how he was going to react to these, but I was able to coax him to try them. Once again, he didn't like the banana flavor at all but he was a good sport about eating the cherry and the apple. I ended up freezing the cherry flavor and giving it to him and he loved it as an icy cold treat.

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Happy Munchies Carrot Rice Cakes

Happy Munchies Carrot Rice Cakes
Happy Family
Snacks don't get simpler than Happy Munchies Carrot Rice Cakes. Made whole grain brown rice and lightly sweetened with carrot juice, they are USDA certified organic and gluten free. Also available in apple flavor. Good for kids ages 7 months and up, so if you have a younger sibling in the house, your preschooler can easily share.

A preschooler's opinion: S.'s favorite part of this snack was the large crunch that they made. He also found it funny that he was eating "carrots that don't look like carrots but are the same color." The cakes have a nice sweet taste and did a good job of keeping him full until his next meal.

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Ethics Policy

Disclosure: In some cases, a review product was provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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