Article at a Glance

  • You get more with fruits and vegetables—more water, more nutrients, and more fiber.
  • Filling up on unhealthy snacks that are high in sugar, fat, carbohydrates, and calories can prevent children from getting the nutrients they need.
  • Unlike juices, whole fruits and vegetables contain more fiber and will help your kids feel full longer.

It is snack time and it may be tempting to just hand the kids a bag of crackers. But seeing how many calories and how little nutrition is in those crackers is enough to make any parent think twice.

Instead, serve your kids fruits and vegetables. They pack more water, vitamins, and fiber, and they have fewer calories and fat. When you compare them to other foods, it is a real eye opener! And if children fill up on unhealthy foods that are high in sugar, fat, carbohydrates and calories, there won’t be any room for the nutrients that their growing bodies need.

Eating fruits and vegetables can be an acquired taste. Teaching children how to enjoy healthy choices now will help them develop good habits and preferences for when they are older.

Snack Comparison Chart
Each of these foods have about 100 calories when served in the below quantities.

Fresh Fruit
Apple1 medium
Cantaloupe1/2 melon
Banana1 medium
Cherries1 cup
Blueber0ies1 1/4 cup
Grapes30 grapes
Orange1 large
Peaches1 large
Pear1 large
Pineapple2 slices
Raspberries1 cup
Strawberries2 cups
Watermelon2 1/4 cups
Baby Carrots2 cups
Broccoli3 stalks
Celery6 cups
Cucumbers, sliced7 cups
Cheetos15 chips
Chocolate Chip Cookies2-2inch cookies
Donut3/8 whole
Ice Cream (not premium)3/8 cup
Muffin1 ounce (1 mini)
Potato Chips10 chips
Pretzels1 ounce
Ritz Crackers6 crackers
Tortilla Chips3/4 cup


It may seem like a good idea to let your kids drink their fruit instead of eating it. But there are some real downsides. Many “fruit juices” on the market have very little fruit and a lot of added sugar. While 100 percent fruit juices are better, they are missing out on all the fiber you get from the skin and flesh of the fruit. Fiber is what keeps you full and slows down the digestion process.

You have probably noticed the trend with your children. They fill up on juice during meals and leave the rest of their food untouched. The juice then metabolizes quickly and they are hungry shortly afterward. Eating whole fruit will help them feel full for longer.

When kids are thirsty, the best thing you can give to them is water. It has zero calories and zero fat no matter how much you drink. And it contains everything kids need to hydrate their bodies without all the added sugar. When you compare water to some of the alternatives, the choice is clear. (Pardon the pun!)

Drink Comparison Chart
Each of these beverages have about 100 calories when served in the below quantities.

100% Orange Juice1 cup
100% Apple Juice1 cup
Soda1 1/8 cup
Fruit Punch1 cup


Share this article:

Your Snack Time Wake Up Call

Stay connected to your children’s health:

Want pediatric news, kid-friendly recipes and parenting tips?
Sign up for our patient parent newsletter:

Other great ways to connect: