5 On Your Side

Avoid this arsenic-laced ingredient when buying snacks

Posted December 23, 2019 5:45 p.m. EST
Updated December 23, 2019 6:34 p.m. EST

Nutritional experts at Consumer Reports evaluated 12 snack bars for kids to determine the healthiest.

Those that contained whole food ingredients and no added sugars topped the list, bur many "healthy" bars contained harmful rice ingredients like brown rice flour or syrup. According to Consumer Reports, rice can contain arsenic and should be limited in a child’s diet.

One of the top-rated bars was the Kids Chocolate Chip Protein Bar from R-X Bar. It has no added sugars or rice ingredients, and the sugars, protein and fiber come from whole ingredients, like dates and nuts. The bars cost about $1.30 each.

Consumer Reports also recommends chocolate-flavored Quaker Kids Organic Whole Grain Bars. With organic whole grain oats, dates and chocolate chips, the Quaker bar has just 3 grams of added sugars. A box of five costs $5.

Experts say the difference between bars for kids and adults is minimal.

“Kids’ versions are smaller, and that’s about it," said Ellen Klosz, with Consumer Reports. "They have pretty much the same ingredients, and they’re not necessarily healthier.”

Parents shopping for healthy snacks should check labels before purchasing bars and remember that whole or dried fruit, nuts, popcorn and sliced veggies are also wholesome choices.

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