Snacks for children, do they pass the test?

Snacks for children, do they pass the test?

Since mid-August, the aisles of grocery stores have filled with brightly colored and attractive packaging featuring characters known to children. Are the products that aim to capture the eyes of young people healthy? Not often, in fact, as evidenced by my analysis of products with attractive marketing (bright colors, characters, childish font, etc.).

Category 1: Cookies and brownies

We analyzed nine choices of cookies / brownies sold in individual pouches (25 to 47 g).

Each sachet provides:

  • 110 to 210 calories
  • 5 to 12 g of sugar
  • 4 to 11 g of fat (0.4 to 3 g of saturated fat)
  • 1 to 2 g of fiber
  • 1 to 3 g of protein


Sara Lee's Little Bites Brownies are hardly a good choice with 12g of sugar (the equivalent of 3 teaspoons) and 11g of fat per 47g packet, the fatest bites of the choices analyzed. It is also the most salty choice (190 mg). Added to the disappointment is reading the list of ingredients with the presence of several additives.

You won't be surprised to learn that Christie's Oreo mini contain too much sugar (12g) and lack fiber (1g). What particularly displeases is the presence of palm oil and additives.

Dare's Molasses Bear Paws are also quite sweet (11g) and contain palm oil. Rest assured, some flavors from the same brand are better choices.

Some alternatives

My first bear paws with oatmeal from Dare do better with the presence of whole grains (and therefore fiber) and the amount of very reasonable sugar (5g per 25g serving). As a bonus, no trace of palm oil, we like! We would have liked to give so many points to the paws of bear granola with chocolate chips, but the presence of palm oil downgrades them, despite the tantalizing nutritional information table.

Christie's honey cookies (minions) also do quite well with 7g of sugar, little saturated fat and 2g of fiber per 30g sachet.

Category 2: Crackers

Five choices of crackers (20 to 26 g) were the subject of our analysis.

Each portion provides:

  • 90 to 110 calories
  • 0 to 1 g of sugar
  • From 125 to 170 mg of sodium
  • 3 to 5 g of fat (0.4 to 2 g of saturated fat)
  • From 0 to 1 g of fiber
  • 1 to 3 g of protein


Christie Original RITZ Biscuits contain 5g of fat and 0g of fiber per 20g serving. They also contain modified palm oil shortening, and sugar is 3rd in the ingredient list.

Some alternatives

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish are now available in several varieties. Those made from vegetables and fruits with cheddar are attractive because of their salt content (125 mg), the absence of sugar, low fat (3 g) and the absence of palm oil. As for Goldfish made from whole grains, which we like first, they are more salty (170 mg) than the other flavors, but still do not contain palm oil. With the varieties mentioned, we gain 1 g of fiber over the original version. We would have appreciated 2 g of fiber, but all in all, they offer added value.

Dare's Bear Paws Cheddar Cracker Mix contains 0 g of sugar, 150 mg of sodium, and contains vegetables and fruits. We must be careful when we praise the presence of fruits and vegetables, we are far from the nutritional value of a real serving of vegetables or fruit. The portion of crackers also provides only one gram of fiber.

Category 3: Puddings

Four choices of puddings (99 to 125 g) were the subject of our analysis.

Each portion provides:

  • 110 to 130 calories
  • From 14 to 18 g of sugar
  • 2 to 3.5 g of fat (1 to 2 g of saturated fat)
  • 1 to 2 g of fiber
  • 1 to 4 g of protein

Good to know: The Unnamed, the HERSHEY'S and the Snack Pack all have skim milk or skimmed milk from concentrate as the first ingredient, which in part contributes to the amount of sugar in the product. As for Belsoy, the fortified soy beverage replaces skim milk and also provides some of the sugar present in the pudding.


Unnamed brand chocolate pudding contains 17 g of sugar for a 99 g serving. This is the 2nd sweetest product.

HERSHEY'S Chocolate Pudding contains 18g of sugar per 110g serving.

Some alternatives

Among the less sweet choices, we find the Snack Pack chocolate pudding which provides 14 g of sugar and the Belsoy (with soy) which provides 15 g. On the other hand, the puddings analyzed are all sweeter than yogurt.

► Next week, we continue our analysis of children's snacks with the analysis of tender bars and fruity snacks. Thank you to my interns Asma Hassan Abiddalameer and Marie-Noël Marsan for their precious collaboration on this article.

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