Fruit snacks are an ideal way to give your kids nutrition throughout the school day. Kids love them because they taste great, and parents love them because many are healthier than other sweets. Most fruit snacks contain gelatin, which is made from animal products, to give fruit snacks the sticky texture that kids love. While there are few health risks associated with gelatin, there are many alternative fruit snacks if you don't want your child to eat it.
Commercial Fruit Snacks
Many of the brand-name fruit snacks on the market contain gelatin. If gelatin is a concern for you and your kids, make sure to read the ingredients carefully before you buy a packaged fruit snack. The gelatin in these products is usually beef or pork-based. While there are few health risks associated with gelatin, your child might have an allergy, or you might want your child to follow a vegan diet. If kosher food is a concern, look for kosher certification on the package. There are many gelatin-free fruit snacks available in stores and online.
Fruit and Yogurt
If you can't find a gelatin-free fruit snack that your kids like, there are many alternatives that you can put together quickly. Fruit and yogurt make a healthy snack that delivers nutrients. Use plain yogurt and add raspberries, blueberries or blackberries for a delicious snack. This one is easier to serve at home, but you can also put it in a plastic resealable container for your child to bring to school.
Make fresh fruit fun to eat, just like a fruit snack, by putting it on skewers for your kids. Strawberries and grapes, as well as slices of pear, banana and apple, all go great on a delicious fruit kabob, perfect for the summer. Get your kids to help you make them by choosing the fruit and deciding on what order they should go onto the skewers. If you are using skewer sticks with sharp points, it's best to make it a stay-at-home snack rather than one your kids bring it to school.
Packaged fruit snacks are a less natural form of dried fruits. Go back to the basics and give your kids the fruit injection they crave with dried fruits that can be taken anywhere. Apricots, dates, apples, cranberries and raisins all make a great snack. Combine them in a baggy or plastic container and send them to school with your kids. Mix it up by adding or substituting a different dried fruit each week.
Make your own fresh fruit salads and separate into single-serving resealable containers for your kids to take to school. Chop strawberries, apples, pineapple and melon for a treat they can enjoy with or without a spoon. Make it tropical with mango, pineapple, grapes and kiwi, stir in a bit of light ranch dressing to hold it together and sprinkle with shredded coconut. Chop the grapes in half for younger children to reduce the choking hazard.
David Coodin began working as a writer in 2005, and has been published in "The Walrus." He contributes to various websites, writing primarily in the areas of education and art. Coodin holds a Ph.D. in English literature from York University in Toronto.