Our staffers' kids, their friends, and an entire preschool have been nibbling their way through the newest and most nutritious supermarket munchies. We asked 200 helpers, ages 11 months to 11 years, to tell us whether the snacks tasted good, and polled parents on which were convenient and easy on the go. We had four nutrition experts who are parents themselves look over the ingredients and amount of calories, fat, sugar, salt, and vitamins to make sure all our choices were healthy. From the 50 snacks the kids and parents tried, they picked these 25 as their absolute faves.
120 cal, 5g fat for 13
Made in a nut-free facility with whole grains like quinoa and amaranth, these chips pack omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Some profits go to summer-camp scholarships.(latejuly.com)
70 cal, 3g fat for 28
These cheesy crackers reel in vibrant hues from juices rather than artificial dyes. Raves a 5-year-old Goldfish fan: "They taste just like the kind we have at home, but some of them are purple -- my favorite color." (pepperidgefarm.com)
70 cal, 2g fat each
These small, fiber-rich granola bars are the ideal no-mess, stash-in-your purse snack for toddlers and preschoolers. "They're soft like a cookie," says one 4-year-old taster. (cascadianfarm.com)
120 cal, 3g fat for 16
Made with potato and rice flours, these pretzels are a thoughtful school snack -- even kids without food allergies thought they were yummy. Five percent of the profits go to Autism Speaks. (bachmanco.com)
80 cal, 4g fat each
Every kid and parent raved about Tate's treats, made with healthy whole-grain flour and dark-chocolate chips. At 2 inches, the cookie's size is just right. (tatesbakeshop.com)
110 cal, 1g fat each
About half as thick as a typical supermarket bagel, they're the perfect portion for kids and conveniently presliced. Their 5 grams of fiber will help fill kids up. Smear 'em with PB. (thomas englishmuffins.com)
70 cal, 0g fat per ? cup
Stash this flavorful medley in your freezer for when you unexpectedly run out of fresh fruit. Our tasters loved it whipped into a frothy smoothie or stirred into low-fat yogurt. (dole.com)
40 cal, 0g fat per pack
Although these mini bags of freeze-dried fruit pieces aren't sweetened, kids treated them like candy. Reports one mom: "My picky 3-year-old polished off the entire bag in less than five minutes."
50 cal, 0g fat each
Kids ate this vitamin C-rich pineapple just like a push-pop -- and there was no mess because the wrapper catches the juice. Ideal for soccer practice and other times your child can't (or won't!) sit down for a snack. (delmonte.com)
110 cal, 3g fat for 3
Kids didn't even notice that these were made from whole-wheat dough or stuffed with cabbage, scallions, and carrots. They were so popular that we had to quickly microwave a second batch. (twinmarquis.com)
50 cal, 0g fat each
Open, squeeze, and slurp -- that's how kids polished off these portable applesauce tubes. Of the five flavors, they preferred the two that aren't sweetened with juice or sugar -- Apple Apple and Apple Cinnamon.
115 cal, 7g fat per ? cup
French fries as a snack? You betcha if they're made from vitamin A-rich spuds. Kids raved about the checkerboard shape, while moms liked the slightly spicy kick. (alexiafoods.com)
90 cal, 8g fat for 15
Flavorful but not overpowering, these curry-seasoned sweet potatoes, Japanese squash, and taro chips count as
a serving of veggies. (terrachips.com)
140 cal, 1g fat each
For a snack with substance, try this yogurt-and-granola combo. It's got 11 grams of protein (about twice as much as regular yogurt) and whole grains that will help fill you up. (yogreekyogurt.com)
90 cal, 3g fat each
Microwave these single-serve packets for three minutes, and you have a hot snack loaded with protein, iron, and zinc. (seapointfarms.com)
100 cal, 8g fat each
This creamy, delicious guac comes in a single-serve squeeze packet for freshness and portion control. Go for the original or spicy flavor. (eatwholly.com)
65 cal, 0g fat for 8
This low-calorie, diet-friendly choice with a slightly cheesy flavor "totally rocks," says one mom. (34-degrees.com)
60-70 cal, 3-5g fat each
Let your child choose which high-calcium, reduced-fat string cheese she wants from this pack: the white mozzarella or the speckled Colby Jack. (frigocheese.com)
80-90 cal, 1-2g fat each
Sold in supermarkets by smoothie chain Jamba Juice, the pops have probiotics to help aid digestion. Says one mom: "I tried to get a lick, and my 2-year-old shouted, 'Don't eat my ice cream!'" (jambajuice.com)
90 cal, 1g fat each You can stick this tri-layered yogurt in the fridge or freezer; our tasters were split on which way they preferred. It's naturally colored and gives 4- to 8-year-olds one fifth of the vitamin D and calcium they need daily. (yoplait.com)
100 cal, 1g fat each
Thanks to low-fat milk and a smidge of sugar, this kid version is 40 calories lighter than some packaged puddings. All three flavors (chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry) are fortified with vitamins A and D and pack 3 grams of fiber. (kozyshack.com)
80 cal, 8g fat for 1 Tbs.
If your kid thinks it's gross when natural PB separates, try this trans-fat-free spread.
It contains a small amount of palm oil, so you never need to stir. Both the creamy and crunchy versions (5 calories extra) were hits. (jif.com)
120 cal, 3g fat for 8
The coating is whole grain, the chicken breast is antibiotic-free, and "they're fun to pop in your mouth," according to one 8-year-old snacker. Tasty from the oven or the microwave. (earthsbest.com)
70 cal, 4g fat for 4 Tbs.
Besides the berries, it's packed with raisins, walnuts, oats, almonds, and seeds. One-quarter cup provides 4- to 8-year-olds with 20 percent of the iron they need for the day. (bearnaked.com)
70 cal, 6g fat for 2 Tbs. We accidentally had this flavor -- packed with dried bell peppers and carrots -- sent to our preschool tasters rather than the plain version. But much to our surprise, they loved dipping pretzels in it. (tribehummus.com)
Originally published in the February 2011 issue of Parents magazine.