Life is busy. Schedules are nuts. Sometimes at the end of the day, I'll reflect back and realize I forgot to eat lunch or that my dinner consisted of that handful of french fries that I ate over my daughter's shoulder at the her brother's hockey game. That feels bad. Sometimes I'll realize that my kid forgot to eat lunch or that her dinner was the slushy she washed the french fries down with.
I try my hardest to provide healthy meal and snacks for my kids, and do a good job most of the time, but as well all know, not one of us is perfect. So I search for snacks that can do double duty; get my kids through the gaps between their regular meals, and provide some nutritional benefits. Now that my older two are often home alone, they're making their own snacking decisions, so it's critical to me to have food on hand that they'll want to choose that will do this.
I've kind of fallen in love with Clif Bars for this reason.
From their own website (which is pretty fabulous and consumer-friendly, by the way),
"Athletes and active people have high energy demands. With a mix of carbohydrates, protein and fiber, CLIF BARs supply working muscles with the energy they need for extended periods of activity. Wholesome and nutrient-dense, CLIF BARs steadily increase blood sugar levels without creating a precipitous "sugar crash."
I did my due diligence; I looked at the food labels and compared them to some of the other granola and energy bars that I've had in my cupboards. I love how easy I can compare thanks to the information on the website, and found that Clif The Coconut Chocolate Chip Clif Bar has 20% of recommended daily fibre and no trans fat. The new Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars offer protein and a full serving of organic grains.
But the real test is the taste test...and Clif Bars pass with flying colours. My notoriously picky middle son says they test delicious. My older son has been packing them for before his after-school basketball practice (instead of the cookies he used to buy in the school cafeteria). They've asked me to buy more!!!
I purchased my Clif Bars at Costco, but I've seen them in grocery stores and drugstores, too. They're not as cheap as the generic chocolate chip granola bars, but they offer much better nutritional value (and seem to fill my kids up a little more too).
Two caveats; Clif Bars aren't aimed at young kids. They suggest on the website that they're really only appropriate for kids whose appetites are about the same as an adult's, so not until they're between 9-13 years old. Second, most of the flavours do have nuts, so don't be throwing these in your child's lunchbox if your school has a nut-free policy.