I Buy That- From the Store to the Dietitian's Kitchen

I have decided to start a segment called, "I Buy That," which is exactly what it sounds like. Whenever clients want ideas and suggestions, I pull from what I do and what I buy for myself and my family. I don't just shop at one store - perhaps a fault, I don't know - but I just can't find everything I like and want at one entire store. Plus, I like to find a sale! Who doesn't? Stores vary from city to city, and some chains are the same, but have a different name, depending on the region of the country, so I am not sure if my suggestions will be completely helpful to West Coast people, but it isn't that hard to find out who carries a product these days in the times of modern technology. I consistently purchase food items from Trader Joes, Giant, and a little market here called Green Valley (like a step-down from Whole Foods or Fresh Market). I like to also shop at Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Target (yes, we have some nice choices at our Target), and occasionally specialty or fine food markets when the mood or the budget is right. I am anxiously awaiting the opening of a new Harris Teeter in our area. PLEEZ HURRY! My point is that there are many stores to choose from, and most have good selections these days. 


This first installment of "I Buy That" is dedicated to snacks, especially snacks for children. As adults, we really don't need to snack that much because we are not typically as active as children, nor are we growing (IN HEIGHT). I always try to offer my kids healthy choices and NATURAL choices such as fresh fruit, chopped veggies with dip, cheese with crackers and yogurt, but I also keep packaged snack foods around the house. Let's face it, we need quick options! I don't advise letting kids have multiple packaged snack foods a day, the kind that are similar to those that come out of a vending machine, because they are mostly processed foods and often resemble dessert items. I don't believe most of us would offer our children 3 brownies a day, but some might not see the problem in offering 3 Fiber One "brownies" a day, because "they aren't as bad for you, and they have fiber." - That is an actual quote from a client, that I like to share, because I love looking for teaching points such as this to help parents and children make healthier choices. 


Most of the time, my children are given snacks of yogurt (tubes or cups), fruit, dry cereal, cheese, bars, apple sauce and simple snack foods such as snap pea crisps and pretzels. I am not going to lie - There are times at which they have Cheetohs, Cheez Its, etc., but they aren't in my house typically. They get those when we are out and about, and I have failed to pack snacks in my bag. Two of my daughter's favorite snacks are cooked greens (kale, mustard greens, etc.) or a fried egg- she gets that from me! I don't expect most children to be as turned on by greens as my daughter. I think it's genetic (I am a Southern girl, after all). My toddler loves a snack we call "cheese toast," which is very thinly sliced cheese melted on a slice of Pepperidge Farm Very Thin bread. I don't feel guilty giving him this desirable snack at all. 

Besides the obvious healthier versions of snacks, I keep packaged snacks around that I have scrutinized in the grocery store. This is not an extensive list, but it does provide a pretty good idea of some regular snacks that I buy: 

  • Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers (Saltine, Baby, Original, Pretzel, and Cheese varieties)
  • General Mills Cheerios or similar cereal- Honey Nut or Chocolate variety, eaten dry (this is one of my kids' favorite snacks and satisfies a sweet tooth)
  • Sunmaid Raisins (small boxes) - these are like candy
  • Good Health or Sensible Portions or Trader Joe's Veggie Chips/Straws
  • Harvest Snaps or Trader Joe's Snap Pea Crisps
  • XoChitl/Late July/Garden of Eatin/Tostitos Corn Chips 
  • Trader Joe's Lentil Crunchy Curls
  • Roasted Seaweed Snacks (multiple brands)
  • Snyders pretzel sticks or twists (regular, multigrain or gluten free for my daughter)
  • Bars: there are a few brands that I buy, and I try to limit sugar content and pick bars with all-natural ingredients, as well as avoiding "protein" or "meal replacement" bars. See picture below for several varieties that have less than 12 gm of sugars: BoBos, Kind, Go Nuts, Trader Joe's (not all bars), and Luna.  Not pictured are Quaker Chewy Granola Bars (Chocolate Chip), Cliff Z Bars (at the upper end with 12gm Sugars) and Trader Joe's PB&J bars (gluten free, NOT for school or daycare). My absolute favorite bars are Pamela's Whenever Bars (10gm sugar), and I personally use them as a sort of "muffin" for breakfast sometimes.