Tips for decoding the ingredients list of a snack label

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As our children grow into busy preschoolers and enter the next exciting chapter of their food journey, gone are the days of ‘here comes the aeroplane’ and spoon-feeding them. They now have more independence around the foods and snacks they are eating. Because in what seems like the blink of an eye, that precious newborn who was attached to you 24/7 is suddenly reaching into the snack draw or opening the fridge all by themselves. How did that happen?! 

And you realise pretty quickly that making sure your fridge and pantry are stocked full of healthy options is even more important – because you’re no longer there to spoon-feed it into their mouth for them. 

In partnership with Mighty Bellies we’re sharing all our best tips to help parents understand snack labels and how to make better & more wholesome choices when it comes to buying snacks for your children.

Making better choices

As parents we all want to do the best we can for our children, but the reality is that we lead busy lives and feeding hungry little ones is a full-time job in itself. When we were on maternity leave, we might have had time to make healthy homemade meals and snacks from scratch – or you might have never had the time because you know #parentingishard. 

In a perfect world, we’d strive for all organic, homemade, additive-free, sugar-free, salt-free etc etc. But this isn’t realistic so we need to take the pressure off ourselves and instead of thinking we have to be perfect when it comes to feeding our families, we just need to make better choices. And this starts with understanding what’s in the food we’re buying and the good old saying, ‘everything in moderation’.

The Mighty Bellies range of no-nonsense preschooler snacks combines whole grains with new tastes and flavours and limits any added sugar or salt. Every ingredient they use plays a necessary role – otherwise, they don’t use it. No hidden ingredients or nasties, what you see on the label, is what you get.

Flip the packet over and read the ingredients list

Store-bought snacks are convenient and can be a great way to ensure your kiddo is getting some goodness into them on the go. Ditch those “junk food” options like chips and biscuits that are packed full of salt, sugar and other nasties in favour of better options. We love the Mighty Bellies BBQ Puffcorn which has no added sugar or salt! 

Tips for decoding the ingredients list:

  • Ingredients are listed in order of most to least – so if something is starting with sugar, salt or a name you don’t know chances are it’s not a good choice
  • The smaller the ingredients list the better
  • If there are names of things you don’t recognise – these are usually best avoided
  • Look for little to no added sugar or salt
  • Numbers are usually best avoided
  • Check for real fruit and veg ingredients – not juice concentrates or powders as there is no nutritional value in these
  • Some ingredients and additives can often be disguised under other names so if you’re not sure what something is on an ingredients list, look it up (or put it back)

It’s important to note that some preservatives are essential and considered safe, but others are classified as unsafe and should be avoided, especially in children.

Supermarket Swap is an amazing resource for parents to use to help decode ingredient labels and help you understand what additives and preservatives used in foods are considered safe. 

Growing independence  

Preschoolers are constantly looking for more and more independence – and food is one major way they show it. Hopefully, they’re (mostly) out of that dreaded toddler fussiness phase (phew!), but they’re now at an age where they can have a little more independence when it comes to food. They can express themselves more; their likes and dislikes, and they love to get involved in shopping and cooking and serving themselves up. As parents, we want to encourage them to understand and listen to their bodies and have a healthy relationship with food. We want them to learn when they’re full to stop eating and to embrace and enjoy different tastes and textures.

The Mighty Bellies Pre-Schooler Portions range has been specially designed for this next stage of little kids on their way to becoming big kids, supporting their transition from baby to toddler and beyond.

Our children rely on us as parents to care for them and make sure the food you give them has the fuel they need to learn, concentrate and play all day. Because when they’re eating well, they’re able to learn, laugh and explore the world with no inhibitions or sugar-crash meltdowns.

This is a paid partnership between Kiindred x Mighty Bellies.

Related Articles
6 tips for getting your kids to try new foods
5 simple tips to boost your child’s immunity through nutrition
Mighty Bellies preschool snacks that kids will love (and you can trust)

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