• Tue, Dec 17 - 4:00 pm ET

You’re Not A Sucker For Buying ‘Healthy’ Kids’ Foods – They Really Are Better

81B6qPlDizL._SL1500_Huffpost‘s Unreal Eats section pitted classic kids’ snacks against snacks that are marketed as “healthier.” Guess what – you’re not a sucker for buying the organic or healthier versions of snacks for your child.

I know I’m not the only one who has Annie’s Organic Mac & Cheese stocked in my cupboards as a go-to meal for my toddler. I know it’s not a balanced meal, but something about the cute bunny and the word “organic” just makes me feel better about relying on it way too much. It turns out it fares better than Kraft original Mac & Cheese in calorie count (280 calories to Kraft’s 400), fat content (3.5 grams to Kraft’s 4) and sodium content (510mg to Kraft’s 580).

Another go-to on the list is Applegate Farms “naturals” chicken nuggets. Okay, obviously I know there is nothing “natural” about chicken nuggets. But all kids like them and they are good to fall back on when your toddler is going through one of those I refuse to eat anything you cook for me stagesThese are actually really worth the extra money. When compared to Tyson chicken nuggets, they had way less calories (180 to Tyson’s 270) and fat (9 grams to Tyson’s 17).

Annie’s Organic Bunnies and Goldfish crackers had almost identical profiles – Goldfish has one more gram of fat per serving. This is awesome because Goldfish are the best. This small exercise illustrated that things labeled “organic” or “natural” really do tend to have no high fructose corn syrup and less sodium and fat. Obviously, you should still always look at labels when you are purchasing these things so you don’t get suckered into paying more for no reason. If anything – this video reminds us all how helpful it is to to stack the “originals” against the “naturals” while we shop to really see how they measure up.

(photo: Amazon)

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  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    I actually prefer the taste of Annie’s bunny crackers to the goldfish.

    Er, I mean my kid does. That’s it. I’m definitely not a 33 year old grown-ass woman who loves bunny crackers.

    • CMJ

      Me too! God I love those Cheddar Bunnies.

      Oh wait, my nieces do….

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      I’m so addicted to Goldfish – it’s ridiculous.

  • Rachel Sea

    Annie’s Mac & Cheese with garlic Tobasco sauce is my favorite quick dinner.

  • Andie

    Uhm, I just looked up Annie’s Bunny Pasta Shapes and saw 270 calories for 1 serving (71 grams). I also looked up Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and saw 259 calories for 1 serving (70 grams). The sodium profile was dramatically better for the Annie’s, however. For me, easier to just make macaroni and add some cheese.

    • Natasha B

      That’s what I do! Boil the trip color rotini noodles for 7 min, dump, stir in olive oil and shredded cheese. Takes less time, cheaper, and my kids go nuts for it. I do buy Annie’s when it’s on sale at target cuz I love the white cheddar lol

    • Kim

      And you get to pick which type of cheese. Gouda makes amazing mac and cheese.

    • AP

      I favor colby jack. Delicious.

    • pontificatrix

      Really? It isn’t lumpy and weird if you don’t do the whole milk/butter/cheese/separate pot thing?

  • Kelly

    Eat whatever you want, but if you think macaroni and cheese is healthy you are indeed a sucker.

    Just enjoy it because you like it or because it’s easy and stop trying to pat yourself on the back for eating junk food. That’s just as obnoxious as the asshats who post photos of their gross spinach protein shakes on facebook.

  • NYCNanny

    I know it’s not a balanced meal, but something about the cute bunny and the word “organic” just makes me feel better about relying on it way too much.

    Glad “organic” labels are making you feel better about feeding your kids crap. Ignorance is bliss, mommyish.

    • rrlo

      Here is the thing, Children are picky eaters – that don’t always like “healthy” foods (whatever that means).

      Also, not all parents prioritize food as the number one thing – as opposed to playing, visiting relatives, running around with their kids, making snowmen, taking time for themselves – and a billion other activities. Life with kids is ABSOLUTELY a trade off – and for every minute you spend cooking in the kitchen is one less minute you get to do other things. So, waging a battle of”healthy” food as defined by a set of changing guidelines and picky eating habits, EVERY single meal is not everyone’s idea of a productive time.

      Our food habits and health are built over a lifetime.

      And here is my problem – and this is a long rant. Why do YOU or “Kelly” get to define what is “crap”. What is your definition of crap food? Is it Mac and Cheese that bothers you? Or boxed Mac and Cheese? What if one made it at home? What if it was whole wheat macaroni? What if the home made one was made with heavy cream? Do kids need more fat for brain development than adults and if they did – is Mac and cheese a better dinner for a toddler than an arugula salad? What if your kid would rather “starve to death” than eat something other than mac and cheese – should you feed them the M&C or see how long they go without throwing a hunger fit? What if the kids are growing properly, and are healthy and fit? Does it matter what they eat? What if the Mac & cheese is supplemented by other food groups? How harmful is it exactly? What if preparing a quick Mac & cheese frees up an extra half an hour of play? Is it worth it? What if by ensuring children eat food that they enjoy – you are establishing a life long positive relationship with food – then is it worth it? How is Mac and Cheese compare to home made roast beef for example – which one is “worse”? Is it okay to force a child to consistently eat meals he or she does not enjoy and deprive them of meals that they do enjoy?

      Food is a VERY complex topic. What is good and what is crap changes literally everyday. So don’t throw around “ignorance is bliss” – just because a toddler likes Mac & Cheese or chicken nuggets doesn’t mean their parents care less about their well being than you or they know less about food than you. Believe it or not, you’re not the only one thinking of the children.

    • NYCNanny

      I’m not saying every meal you feed your kids has to be a 3 hour gourmet process. There are thousands upon thousands of healthy meals you can make under 15 minutes. (That’s about as long as it takes to make mac&cheese, btw.)
      OF COURSE, some meals are going to be semi premade and quick and simple. I’m all for that.

      Not going to get into your middle paragraph because, woah. I’m not an expert…I’m not claiming my way=best. I’m just saying that pretending “organic” chicken nuggets is healthy is silly. That’s it.

      As for kids being picky eaters. NOPE! Kids aren’t born picky eaters…PARENTS (and caregivers and society and blah blah blah) allow them to be choosy and “picky.” American kids are TERRIBLe when it comes to eating an array of foods and I 100% blame adults. I guarantee if you refused to give your kid “crap” foods for a few days, they’d come around and start eating more variety.

      Finally, I never said, or would ever say, parents who feed their kids mac&cheese are bad parents. No way. But yeah…ignorance is correct. And I think the OP knows that, hence the blog post.

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