What to Pack for Lunch: Crunchy Foods
Snyder's Multi Grain Pretzel Sticks
Serving size: 30 grams (7 sticks)
Pluses: Each serving delivers 3 grams of fiber (2 grams more than regular pretzels) and Snyder's uses canola oil (which is rich in the preferred monounsaturated fats, and a good source of healthy plant omega-3 fatty acids). Molasses is the added sweetener. And if you're going to add a sweetener, molasses is one of the best choices because it contributes lots of flavor along with vitamins and minerals.
Minuses: Unbleached wheat flour (not 100% whole wheat or whole grain) is still the first ingredient.
Nutritional information per serving: 130 calories, 3 g protein, 22 g carbohydrate, 2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 3 g fiber, 180 mg sodium.
Pepperidge Farm Goldfish -- Made with Whole Grain
Serving size: 30 grams (about 55 pieces)
Pluses: Whole-grain wheat flour is the first ingredient. Each serving has 2 grams of fiber.
Minuses: Each serving also contains 5 grams of total fat, and 1 gram of saturated fat. But the fat mainly comes from cheddar cheese and vegetable oils (canola, sunflower and/or soybean).
Nutritional information per serving: 140 calories, 4 g protein, 19 g carbohydrate, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 2 g fiber, 250 mg sodium.
Nature Valley Fruit Crisps (Cinnamon Apple)
(General Mills also makes a similar product, Fruit Crisps, in Cinnamon flavor)
Serving size: 14-gram individual pouch
Pluses: Most of this product is simply dried apples. Apple juice concentrate is added as the sweetener, but the product contains 2% or less of it.
Minuses: Sodium sulfite is used as a preservative; some people may be sensitive to this. And one pouch probably isn't going to be satisfying enough. Most kids will probably want 2 pouches.
Nutritional information per serving:50 calories, 0 g protein, 13 g carbohydrate (10 g sugar), 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 1 g fiber, 75 mg sodium
100-Calorie Sun Chips Mini Bites
Serving size: 100-calorie pouch
Pluses: This product lists whole-wheat and whole-oat flour among its first five ingredients. It contains less fat than most "light" potato chip options. And of the 4.5 grams of total fat it contains per serving, 2.5 grams are the preferable monounsaturated fat.
Minuses: This product doesn't contain enough whole grains to give it more than 1 gram of fiber per serving.
Nutrition information per serving: 100 calories, 2 g protein, 12 g carbohydrate, 4.5 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 1 g fiber, 110 mg sodium.