If you are looking for some small changes to make for yourself or your kids, here are some you may want to try:
Switch from fruit roll ups and fruit gushers which have zero nutritional value to all organic Fruitabu or the Stretch Island Fruit Leathers. Both companies are one and the same. You can buy the big variety packs of Fruit Leathers at Costco - the Mango one is the only one with "natural flavors", all the others list a specific flavoring that has been added, or just use fruit juices. I just avoid the mango ones. The Fruitabu can be found at places like Wal-Mart and are all organic with just fruit and juice, pretty easy.
Switch from the bagged microwave popcorn to the Whirlypop popcorn. You cook it the old fashioned way, with a hand crank, use coconut oil for even more healthy goodness. Popcorn is a whole grain and kids LOVE it anyways. The coconut oil adds a hint of buttery yumminess without the butter and coconut oil is SOOOO good for you! And, per Sparkpeople, one cup of oil popped popcorn has only 55 calories!!! Add in 1/2 cup of popping corn with 3 tablespoons oil, crank handle until popping slows and viola, enough popcorn to fill a huge bowl and the whole family can enjoy. Unless you have a husband and son like I do and then you are lucky to get a snack sized bowl full for you and your toddler to share! Oh well, I can always make more! We found ours at Cost Plus but I have seen them at Target too! I send this as a snack for school often.
Healthier beans....I found this off brand of refriend beans at Fry's today. I cannot remember the brand exactly but it has beans, salt, water, cottonseed oil. No soy, no lard, no trans fats, no MSG. I could not believe it, and they were CHEAP. So, look at labels, read what is in there and stay away from the "natural flavors" and other hidden forms of MSG.
Healthier salsa.....I have always been a HUGE fan of Herdez salsa, that is when I don't have time to make my own. It has tomatoes, peppers, onions, cilatro, salt. NOTHING bad and it does NOT taste like ketchup!! You can find it anywhere, grocery stores or Target/Wal-mart. Sometimes they have it in the mexican food section and not with all the other salsas but usually that is just at Target.
Most tortilla chips are OK but avoid the ones made with canola or soybean oil.
Speaking of oil - hot tip for this week, if you are local and shop at Fry's, run don't walk to their sale! They have the spectrum organic coconut oil on sale for $4.99!! You save $3.30 per 16 ounce container. That is a screaming deal. I snagged their last 2 bottles (Val Vista and Baseline) and got a raincheck for 15 more!!
Fruit cups, packed in pear juice. I have been sending these as snacks for school or just for around the house. The kids love them and they are handy! I make so many things from scratch it IS nice to have something already prepared that I did not have to chop, cook or bake. We all need SOME conveniences. Same thing goes for the UNSWEETENED apple sauce. Even most stores have their own brands that are about $1.50 for a 6 pack or so.
And one of our all time favorites...LARA Bars. Our favorite farmer's market, Guadalupe Farmer's Market on Power just south of Elliot brought those in for us (they also sell them at Sprouts and Fry's). If you haven't been down and met T.J. & Julie, the owners of the Farmer's Market, you need to. In addition to being amazing people, they have always been so nice at bringing in items I request. They have awesome produce, most local (and therefore organic) but very economical and fresh. They carry most of the LARA Bar line. What are these? Dense (and I mean dense) bars that are all natural, non-GMO, no dairy, no wheat, no junk whatsoever!! They are even raw and vegan!! My favorite is chocolate coconut chew, yum! Matthew loves the banana cookie and my friend Amie loves the one with Pistachios. Their base is usually dates, then nuts. The chocolate coconut chew has date, almonds, walnuts, cocoa powder, period. I love these for my purse, in the "emergency" bag in the car for snacks on the go and at home too. It is packed with heart healthy omegas with the nuts and great protein. My kids love them. They cost just over $1 per bar and have about 200 calories, and all the right calories too. If you haven't tried these, you need to!
Another "ready made" snack, especially for those with allergies or intolerances is the Enjoy Life brand. Again, T.J. & Julie brought these in for us, Sprouts also carries them. They have a whole line of cookies and "granola bar" type things. The sugar content is a little high (12 g per 2 cookies) and our rule is generally 10 per serving MAX and then only 1 serving total per day (unless it is a raw food like the Lara Bar which has higher sugar content because of the raw fruit/nuts so your body breaks those down slowly, without the major insulin crisis caused by processed sugars). But, the forms of sugars in the Enjoy Life products are usually things like raisin paste, date paste, fruit juices, etc., it just varies based on the product. But, no soy, no dairy, no wheat, no MSG. The kids love them.
So there you go, some alternative snacks for kids, you, your spouse, whoever. Now you can eat healthy, even on the run or for those school lunchboxes!