8 Alarmingly Unhealthy Snacks for Kids

Photo by: White93

Pop-Secret Homestyle Popcorn

Popcorn should be a great snack. It is a whole grain, naturally low in calories, and recent research has found that popped kernels are surprisingly high

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Photo by: White93

Pop-Secret Homestyle Popcorn

Popcorn should be a great snack. It is a whole grain, naturally low in calories, and recent research has found that popped kernels are surprisingly high in antioxidants, even higher than many fruits and vegetables. So where did this super-snack go super-wrong? In the hands of food manufacturers, that's where. How does this version compare to an order of McDonald's Kids Fries ? A serving of Pop-Secret has 70 more calories, 7 grams more total fat, 2 grams more saturated fat, 4.5 grams more trans fat, and 310 milligrams more sodium than the fried spuds.

Serving size: 2 tablespoons unpopped
Calories: 170
Total fat: 12 grams
Saturated fat: 2.5 grams
Trans fat: 4.5 grams

Related: 5 frugal super-food recipes

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Fri, May 4, 2012 4:00 PM EDT

By Melissa Breyer, Mother Nature Network

In a perfect world, everyone (kids included) would snack on carrots and kale chips. For those who do, hats off. But for everyone else, once you step away from the produce aisle, the choice of snacks can run the gamut from nutritionally vapid to downright deleterious. And sadly, consumers are often at the mercy of the processed food industry with its seductive yet unhealthy ingredients and powerful marketing machines. It's all too easy to be swayed by items marketed specifically to children and parents - with enticing prices, misleading labels and the promise of convenience.

But when consumers start to dig a bit, they'll get a better picture of what's going on inside the snacks they devour. Following is a snapshot of some of the worst offenders. The list is by no means exhaustive, but these examples provide some clues about what to look out for in the snack aisle.