In a perfect world, we as parents would pack only nutritious, wholesome food for our kids that had minimal packaging and be a hit with our kids. But in reality, many of us are not only time poor but can also get discouraged easily when we struggle to find recipes that hit the mark and are of course gluten free.
So , I thought it would be handy to put together some of my fave packaged snacks that my son loves, and I also enjoy too.
In our house we have 3 children ranging in age from almost 3 through a teenager. We keep a variety of snacks on hand and keep them in labeled tubs so that they are easily identifiable for our son with the gluten free options. As our 2 girls are able to eat gluten, they have other packaged snacks that they can also enjoy.
We find that this system works, and as our kids eat loads and loads of fresh fruit and vegetables, we are happy to let them have some packaged snack also.
Some of the original options were already gluten free, whereas some weren't. As with all kids, they all have different tastes in what they do and don't like. These are what have worked well in our family and I hope you find some great swaps for yours kids below.
Here are my fave snack swaps that we have found.
1. Messy Monkeys Burger Whole Grain Bites
I probably eat these just as much as my kids :) They are actually full of great ingredients and much, much healthier than the Burger Rings.
They come in individual bags within a big package and I find they are a really generous serve that often my 2 little ones will just share a bag between them
Excellent value for money and really tasty too. I loved Burger Rings as a kid so the Messy Monkeys swap hit the mark for me.
Messy Monkeys are made with Wholegrains and haven't got any nasty, fake ingredients in them. You can also find these in a number of other flavours.
I also love that they are an part of Freedom Foods, which is an Australian company dedicated to making allergy friendly foods.
2. Yoodles Instant Noodles
I have fond memories of eating 2 Minute Noodles as a kid. My brother and I used to challenge my little sister to make us different meals up for lunch on weekends, adding all sorts of different ingredients.
My fave was when she would mix an egg through the noodles. Yum!
But now, myself nor my son can eat gluten so these aren't an option (and now that I know more about the ingredients) we needed a healthier swap.
Introducing Yoodles Brown Rice Instant Noodles.
Made from whole grains with no artificial colours or flavours, and no MSG, I really like these noodles and they are great for an easy snack or lazy lunch. I find they are handy to have in the car for an impromptu day out also. As all you need is hot water to prepare them, they are great for a gluten free back up plan when unable to find a meal out and about or if you stay at friends a little longer than expected.
3. True Fruit Straps
Even though Roll-Ups are already free from gluten, they are far from the best choice for kids. There are so many unnecessary ingredients in a Roll-Up compared to True Fruit Straps which are simply 100% Fruit!. Obviously real fruit is always going to be a better option but when it comes to a treat or a packaged snack, at least these are only fruit and don't have added sugars, unlike the Roll-Ups.
As a kid I loved having a Roll-Up as a treat, and my kids understand that Fruit Straps aren't something they get to eat all the time either.
4. Messy Monkeys Rice Puff Bars
With much less sugar and salt than an LCM bar, Messy Monkey Rice Puff Bars get my vote. My son absolutely loves these and gets very excited when I buy them for him.
These bars have a decent amount of fibre and really hit that sweet treat mark but with added goodness. Winner winner I say.
5. Juicies Icy Poles
Ugh Zooper Doopers. Such an iconic icy-pole that most Aussie kids have probably eaten. But unfortunately, there are absolutely no nutiritonal benefit to these at all. They are a cocktail of toxic artificial flavours, colours and preservatives. I can only imagine how hyper many kids would go after eating these.
My kids still ask me to buy these for them, even though I have explained time and time again why I refuse to.
The best packaged alternative I've found to a Zooper Dooper is Juicies. They are packaged similarly but actually have health benefits and no nasties added to them.
Obviously if you have the time to make your own, you could easily do so, but this article is more about helping you find packaged alternatives to make life easier.
And of course if you are after delicious, healthy snack ideas that you can make from scratch, be sure to check out my Gluten Free program Meal Plans Made Easy. Over 500 delicious and healthy recipes with a heap of snack options. You can learn more here.