Tips for Keeping them Happy and Healthy at Lunchtime
Summer vacation is over and it’s back to school time! While some parents are looking forward to children heading off to school everyday, they may be anxious about what to pack for lunch. The Placerville Dental Group has some ideas for lunches that are low on sugar, cheaper than the school cafeteria and much healthier. What we eat affects our teeth, so wholesome eating habits are the best for oral health.
- Beware of pudding snacks. They’re easy and portable, but they have a lot of cavity potential, so make this a special lunchbox addition only every once in awhile. As pudding is full of sugar and additives, what’s a healthy alternative? Jazz up lunch with portable cottage cheese containers with blueberries or strawberries. Find applesauce without added sugar for another acceptable treat.
- Plain milk is better. Milk is a great source of calcium and a lunch box staple. But the flavored chocolate or strawberry milk is also full of extra sugar. To prevent tooth decay, pack plain milk or include cheese for protein. Plain water is also just fine and the best possible hydrator.
- Real fruit is best. Fruit snacks and fruit wraps are popular for kids, but not among dentists. Fruit snacks tend to be sticky, coating teeth with fructose and thus encouraging plaque. Plus, processed fruit snacks may have added sugar or syrups. Try real apples, berries, grapes or mandarins for a no-prep healthy alternative.
- Avoid the processed starches. Don’t be fooled — chips, pretzels and savory snack mixes might seem like a good choice because they’re salty right? Such starchy snacks also cause cavities by coating the crevices in teeth with food and promoting oral bacteria. Kids craving the crunch? How about sunflower seeds, nuts or baby carrots?
- Colorful veggies are good for the gums and teeth. When kids “eat the rainbow” they’re not only doing their body good, but they’re also supporting good gum health and strong teeth. Colorful vegetables have high amounts of vitamin C and calcium, along with other essential minerals.
While a lot of kids might not be thrilled with some changes in their lunch box, encourage them with a variety of healthy snacks and foods. Our Placerville dentists and hygienists understand that it’s a challenge to promote healthy snacking and meals, but it’s worth it! Kids who eat a variety of wholesome foods have more sustained energy, concentrate better and enjoy improved health. In addition to good eating habits, we also encourage our young patients to floss and brush daily and to keep their appointments for semi-annual exams and cleanings. Keep in mind that for all ages, a healthy mouth means a healthy body!