Who doesn’t love a big pack of fruit snacks filled with berries, mangoes, apples, peaches, and whatnot? Sprinkle some chocolate chips on top, and there you have it, a piece of heaven in your hands.
Fruit snacks are loved by many as they are considered healthy and taste delicious. However, have you ever wondered, are fruit snacks healthy, and should they be consumed daily? Read on to find out are fruit snacks healthy or if you should stick to packaged chips and cookies, etc.
Are Fruit Snacks Healthy?
Fruit snacks are marketed to be healthy. However, did you know that most fruit snacks on the market include approximately five teaspoons of sugar per pouch? Many fruit snacks also have minor levels of partly hydrogenated oils in them (artery-clogging trans-fat).
Food dyes like Yellow 5 and Red 40 are other potentially dangerous ingredients in most packaged fruit snacks. The dye Red 40 is commonly used in fruit snacks, and unfortunately, it has the potential to produce allergic reactions and hyperactive behavior in children.
Yellow 5 has also been linked to allergy reactions and can make children hyperactive. Benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl, related to cancer in studies, are present in Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Red 40. Hence, it’s good to avoid foods containing these food dyes.
Fruit snacks also lack the necessary protein, healthy fat, and fiber to be considered a nutritious or satisfying snack. This implies that fruit snacks don’t add to your body’s nutritional needs, and soon after eating a pack or two of fruit snacks, you or your children will become hungry and need more.
Fruit snacks are available in many flavors, shapes, and sizes, but as previously said, most of them are high in corn syrup, sugar, and modified corn starch. They can raise your blood glucose level, which can be life-threatening for people with diabetes.
These ingredients offer too many calories with little nutritious value, and if consumed daily, they can cause obesity and put you at risk for metabolic syndrome. Intra-abdominal obesity is associated with metabolic syndrome, which can result in the following health concerns:
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
- increased risk of cardiovascular events
- elevated blood lipids
The trick is to check the sugar content of fruit snacks before you buy them. According to the American Heart Association, women should consume no more than 24 grams of added sugar per day, and men should consume no more than 36 grams per day. However, some of these fruit snacks are loaded with 20 grams of sugar.
Are Our Homemade Fruit Snacks A Good Alternative To Packaged Fruit Snacks?
You will come across a multitude of recipes for homemade fruit snacks online. But the question is, are these fruit snack recipes a healthier alternative, or are they equally bad for your health.
If homemade fruit snack recipes are healthy or not depends entirely on you.
The ingredients you choose play a vital role in determining this. For example, if you add multiple spoons of sugar and corn syrup to your homemade fruit snacks, they will be equally harmful compared to packaged fruit snacks.
Thus, if you want to make healthy homemade fruit snacks, you need to find recipes that require healthy ingredients. So, if you’re going to try making homemade fruit snacks, check out the recipe below.
However, note that homemade fruit snacks are still not the same as real fruit, even if manufactured from the actual fruit. They will still stick to your teeth like packaged fruit snacks do and may cause dental issues if consumed significantly. So, while occasional homemade fruit snacks are fine, you should prefer eating cut-up fruit freshly instead.
Homemade Fruit Snack Recipe
- 1 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 cup frozen fruit, such as mangoes, berries, pineapples, etc
- 4 tbsp gelatin (grass-fed)
- 1-2 tbsp organic raw honey
- Heat orange juice, frozen fruit, and raw honey or maple syrup in a saucepan over low heat.
- When the liquid is hot, add one spoonful of gelatin at a time and combine with an immersion blender until the gelatin is completely absorbed (no lumps). Remember, the consistency will thicken as time goes on.
- Remove the pan from the heat.
- Pour into silicone molds and chill for 3-4 hours, or until the snacks solidify.
- Remove the molds from the oven when they’re done. They should be relatively simple to remove. (If the gummies don’t come out easily, put them in the freezer for a few more minutes.)
What Types Of Fruit Snacks Should I Buy For My Children?
We understand that not everyone has the time to make fruit snacks at home. So here are a few things that you need to remember when purchasing fruit snacks for your children to ensure that you choose the healthiest option.
- Choose one without any artificial dyes
- Read the ingredients and choose the one which has the least amount of sugar
- Mix fruit snacks with actual fruits to trick your kid into eating real fruits
- If packing them with your child’s lunch, skip the desert to ensure your kid does not get excess sugar intake
- Teach your child to rinse their mouth with water after consuming fruit snacks to ensure proper dental hygiene
Our Final Thoughts
Our research on are fruit snacks healthy led us to the conclusion that, while some fruit snacks have a low nutritional value, if they are prepared from real fruit, they are nutritious. However, no fruit snack on the market can compare to the health benefits of eating actual fruits.
When you’re craving a fruit snack, walk to the produce aisle and select some tasty fruits high in nutritional value.
Also, teach your children to eat real fruit; over time, they will come to appreciate fruit and will no longer request fruit snacks. You can also occasionally combine fruits with other tasty treats, such as bananas and peanut butter or Nutella.