KNWA and Your Family: Cheap, Healthy Snacks

NBC -- Finding healthy and affordable foods that kids actually like can be a battle for many parents.

"There's a stigma that eating healthy can cost more money but I think knowing which products to purchase that are more cost effectively, you can actually save a tremendous amount of money and make healthier choices at the same time," said registered dietitian Wendy Palmer.

Dietitians at children's healthcare of Atlanta compared five popular kid snacks with healthier alternatives and netted out the price difference over a year. "It's over $2,000 in cost savings that a family can achieve," Palmer said.

One common go-to snack: The granola bar. They cost at least two dollars a box and experts say if they have chocolate drizzled on them or coating on the bottom they're essentially candy. Nutritionally it's very similar to a candy bar. A better choice there for a snack would be an applesauce cup and a cheese stick.

Be sure to check the label of the ultra-convenient pouches of applesauce. "To get it in that pouch to get it in a form that you can squeeze out they add juice to it or sugar to it," Palmer suggests.

Many parents overlook the four dollar price tag of fruit smoothies for the apparent health benefits but those also can be packed with added sugar. "A much more economical and better choice is to buy your own yogurt and add into that fruit," she said.

Experts say many of those chewy fruit snacks are deceiving. Most are just food coloring and sugar. Other healthy and cheap switches: carrots and peanut butter instead of salty chips, and water instead of soda.

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