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8 alarmingly unhealthy snacks for kids

Posted by on May. 14, 2012 at 10:41 AM
  • 13 Replies


Pop-Secret Homestyle Popcorn

Popcorn should be a great snack. It is a whole grain, naturally low in calories, and recent research has found that popped kernels are surprisingly high in antioxidants, even higher than many fruits and vegetables. So where did this super-snack go super-wrong? In the hands of food manufacturers, that's where. How does this version compare to an order of McDonald's Kids Fries ? A serving of Pop-Secret has 70 more calories, 7 grams more total fat, 2 grams more saturated fat, 4.5 grams more trans fat, and 310 milligrams more sodium than the fried spuds.

Serving size: 2 tablespoons unpopped
Calories: 170
Total fat: 12 grams
Saturated fat: 2.5 grams
Trans fat: 4.5 grams

Yoplait Original 99% Fat Free (various fruit flavors)

Yogurt is another should-be healthy snack that has been hijacked by the food industry. Many yogurts are made to be low- or non-fat but are loaded with added sugar and other ingredients that are completely superfluous.

Whereas a product like Fage 0% is made of only "Grade A Pasteurized Skimmed Milk, and Live Active Yogurt Cultures," Yoplait Original includes sugar, modified corn starch, high fructose corn syrup , kosher gelatin, and tricalcium phosphate - yet no live and active cultures, which is one of the main reasons to be eating yogurt in the first place!

Serving Size: 1 container (170 grams)
Calories: 170
Total fat: 1.5 grams
Saturated fat: 1 gram
Sodium: 85 milligrams
Sugars: 26 grams

Photo by: ProArtWork

What has the same amount of calories as 10 Winchell's Chocolate Cake Iced Doughnuts and nearly the same amount of fat as three hot dogs? One Winchell's Cranberry Nut Muffin! To its credit, this muffin is not nutritionally void (5 grams of fiber and 14 grams of protein) but just beware: the calories, fat and sugar lodge this item more in the cupcake category than healthy snack family.

Serving size: 1 muffin
Calories: 670
Total fat: 37 grams
Saturated fat: 6 grams
Sodium: 640 milligrams
Sugars: 43 grams

Cheetos Puffs

Nobody ever said that oddly textured cheese snacks were exactly healthy, but something about the non-greasiness and airy quality of Cheetos Puffs (vibrant hue aside) seems like this product might more benign than, let's say, super salty fried potato chips. But … look at that total fat! That sodium! That's half the daily fat and sodium limit for many children, right there in 2 ounces of snack.

Serving size: 2 ounces (56 grams)
Calories: 320
Total fat: 20 grams
Saturated fat: 4 grams
Sodium: 700 milligrams

Ritz Bits Cracker Sandwiches

Cheese and crackers sounds innocuous enough, but a single serving of these guys has more sodium and more than twice the saturated fat, as a small order of Chicken McNuggets - and more sugar than two Hershey's Kisses.

Serving size: 1 single serve package (42 grams)
Calories: 220
Total fat: 13 grams
Saturated fat 4.5 grams
Sodium: 480 milligrams
Sugars: 6 grams

Hostess Chocolate Pudding Pie

With the right spin, some could argue that a piece of pie isn't the worst snack in the world. A small homemade slice filled with fruit and a light crust has some redeeming qualities. But the Hostess Chocolate Pudding Pie may, in fact, be the worst snack in the world! Why? In addition to its high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, beef fat and artificial colors, it has almost twice the sugar and fat of a similarly sized slice of homemade blueberry pie. And with its cheap price and easy portability, it's all too easy to scarf down much of your daily calorie requirement in a few bites before you've even left the store.

Serving size: 1 pie (128g)
Calories: 520
Total fat: 24 grams
Saturated fat 12 grams
Sugars: 40 grams

Mott's Original Apple Sauce

This applesauce might just as well be called "high fructose corn syrup sauce," given that HFCS is the second ingredient after apples. Why do that to perfectly good apples? Apples aren't sweet enough? Instead, opt for the Mott's Natural Apple Sauce (No Sugar Added) version, which has only 50 calories and 12 grams of sugar.

Serving size: 1/2 cup (128g)
Calories: 110
Total fat: 0
Sugars: 25 grams

Auntie Anne's Pepperoni Pretzel Pocket

Whole-wheat low-sodium pretzels are a good snack, even plain soft pretzels like the one pictured here are okay. But Pepperoni Pretzel Pockets are a disaster. With more sodium, saturated fat and calories than a Big Mac, this one snack comes close to serving up the daily sodium and total fat limits for a child, not to mention the equivalent of nearly 3 teaspoons of granulated sugar.

Serving size: 1 pocket
Calories: 650
Total fat: 27 grams
Saturated fat 12 grams
Sodium: 1,120 milligrams
Sugars: 11 grams

by on May. 14, 2012 at 10:41 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by on May. 14, 2012 at 10:43 AM

 wow. ouch.

by Silver Member on May. 14, 2012 at 6:22 PM
Luckily we don't eat any of these
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by on May. 14, 2012 at 6:48 PM

Wow. Some of those were kind of surprise to me.

by Danelle on May. 14, 2012 at 7:05 PM

Good to know

by New Member on May. 14, 2012 at 7:07 PM

We don't eat any of these, except the yoplait yogurt. I do buy plain yogurt as well, but I really like yoplait so we eat it.

by on May. 14, 2012 at 7:10 PM

I will be reading more labels. Good info


by New Member on May. 14, 2012 at 8:32 PM

I'm sorry, but who on earth regularly gives these things to their kids or thinks they're healthy?? The only thing I sympathize with is the apple sauce, because I search far and wide for lower sugar options that taste . . . well, good and can't find much.

by on May. 14, 2012 at 11:01 PM


by on May. 15, 2012 at 12:06 PM
interesting lol... never knew this
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by Amanda on May. 15, 2012 at 8:11 PM
The applesauce is frustrating! I always have to double check & search the shelf before I buy
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