PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Summertime is here, and the snacking season is upon us.
Before we give out suggestions, how about a look at the unhealthiest junk foods in America, which come from Healthline.com.
Topping the list is the ultimate morning convenience food, Pop-Tarts.
Nutritionists say they are loaded with highly processed ingredients like soybean oil and refined flour, not to mention a generous amount of sugars and sweeteners, credited with leading to diabetes and heart disease.
No. 2 on the list is Arby's curly fries. Healthline says deep-fried foods lead to inflammation, heart disease, and impaired artery function.
No. 3 are the Popeyes chicken tenders for similar reasons to the curly fries.
Coming in at No. 4 is the Cinnabon Caramel PecanBon, which has 1,080 calories and 51 grams of fat and makes the classic cinnamon roll look tame at 880 calories.
And wrapping up the top five is the Starbucks white chocolate mocha frappuccino. Healthline calls it liquid junk food. A grande packs 520 calories and 65 grams of carbs, almost all from sugar.
Quick mentions for No. 6, Outback's Bloomin' Onion, at seven, is Burger King's Oreo milkshake, and No. 8 belongs to corn dogs.
If it is really good, it's probably really bad.
Some schools are out, and others will be out shortly, which means a constant snacking demand at home.
So many things are so bad for you, but you can answer the demand in a way that is fun, and healthy. Just don't tell the kids.
It's all about advance planning and getting the kids to buy into the plan.
Snacking comes as naturally to kids as breathing.
"In a perfect world, they would snack on apple slices and carrot sticks, but that's not going to be a reality," says parenting blogger and Uniontown native Amanda Mushro.
Mushro, a mother of three, says to put the snacks in baskets on a countertop.
"Everything is sitting right there; they can grab it and go."
And in the refrigerator, put the available snacks right in the front.
"Cutting up fruit that's already washed and ready to go into little individual bags," Mushro also recommended.
Or, she says, yogurt, but be careful.
"You don't want to just grab the first yogurt or the one that looks super kid friendly because those tend to have a lot of sugar in them. There are a lot of really great Greek yogurt options, whether it's in a pouch or a tube."
When it comes to countertop snacks, convenience packaging isn't always the best.
"Rely on just the little snack bags. They're going to come back in just a few minutes because it's not going to be filling for them, and it's not going to hold them over for their next meal."
Mushro leans toward cereal or protein bars.
"Just take that time, read some ingredients in the grocery store, and grab the ones that are healthier options for your kids," she said.
And remember, no matter what they get, the kids will always be back.
"They'll be back 10 minutes later for another snack. I'm sure."
You need to have well-specified limits as to what they can have per day.
Now, there may be some fights over the basket of snacks in families with multiple children.
Mushro says there's a popular trend on TikTok where you take her idea of a basket, but you put out a basket per child, and they know when theirs is empty, it's empty.
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