Most fruit snacks are loaded with artificial colors and flavors to make them look like fruit (or your favorite cartoon character…). Most cannot count fruit among their actual ingredients, though.
Kids love fruit snacks because they are sweet -- which is no surprise when you consider their high levels of sugar, high-fructose corn syrup or both. Some packages contain a whopping 19g sugar per serving. The carbohydrates in fruit snacks are typically of the sugar variety.
Many fruit snacks claim to be fat free. Read the labels and steer clear of those that contain unhealthy partially hydrogenated oil and trans fats.
Usually, the more ingredients a product has, the unhealthier it is… especially if you can't pronounce them. Say no to fruit snacks with a long laundry list of ingredients.
Fruit snacks should be treated as snacks (as the name implies) or as treats -- not as a replacement for actual fruit. Experts suggest fruit leather (such as that found in health food stores) as a healthier alternative to sugary, artificially colored and flavored fruit snacks. Check the label to ensure they contain 100-percent dried fruit and juices.
While fruit snack packages scream that they are fat free, gluten free and contain vitamin C, don't be fooled. Look at the label and consider only fruit snacks that contain -- drum roll, please -- real fruit.
If you are feeling inspired to ban the packaged fruit snacks from your home, consider making your own fruit leather. Bonus: If you get your kids in on the fun, they'll love the leather even more than those processed, packaged fruit snacks.
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