Top Fun Foods for your Child’s Teeth
Getting kids to eat healthy foods is a challenge for most parents. Even when parents are diligent about providing nourishing meals and snacks for their children, unhealthy or cavity-causing sweets and treats are everywhere!
The Grand Dental Group dentists and hygienists who are parents understand this dilemma and have some ideas for other families. Eliminating or reducing the amount of times your child is exposed to unhealthy snacks will help their oral health immensely. Once a child gets taste of juice or pop, water is no longer their drink of choice. Once kids taste fast food chicken nuggets or chips, grilled chicken and veggies are forgotten. But making food fun can change your child’s attitude about healthy snacks.
Today, Pinterest is a great social media site to visit for endless ideas on how to make your child a healthy, but fun snack. Cheese wedges become mice, apple slices become a giant turkey, and every dinner plate looks like a work of art. But for those of us who lack the time, energy, or creativity to make snack time a masterpiece, there are some basic and easy fun options for healthy, tooth-friendly foods:
- Raw veggies. Carrots, celery, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, etc. are all amazing for kids. Not only do veggies provide excellent nutrients for growing bodies, the crunchy vegetables help to naturally clean teeth. Most vegetables are low in sugar as well. And anytime you can dunk food into a little ranch dressing or a dip, it automatically becomes fun for kids.
- Cut up cheese and meats. Cheese and meat both have some fat content, but also contain protein for bones and muscle growth. As a low sugar snack, these are tooth-friendly as well. Little cut up blocks of cheese and meat can be easily make into kabobs or patterns on a plate to look visually appealing to toddlers and children. Just use caution when giving a child anything on a stick or toothpick, of course!
- Fruit salads and fruit cups. We love that many restaurants are offering fruit as an optional side item in kids’ meals. Although fruit does have sugar in the form of fructose, it is still generally much less sugar that what is found in candy, cookies, and other sweets. Fruit is a great way to get vitamins and minerals and for the anti-veggie child, fruit is almost as nutritionally-sound as many vegetables. A bowl of cut up fruit, even with a little whipped cream, is a snack that is both good for the body and healthy for teeth. For parents looking to go with fruits lower in sugar, pick berries. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries are delicious, but have less sugars than bananas and less acid than oranges. Similar to crunchy vegetables, crunchy fruits like apples are excellent at naturally cleaning teeth.
- Yogurt, especially the Greek varieties, can come in low sugar and low fat varieties. Yogurt provides a great source of protein and tastes almost as good as ice cream, but without the sugar and fat. If your child needs a boost to try yogurt, add some fruit or granola to it. This is a favorite snack among little ones. The popular tube yogurts are convenient, but may contain extra sugars, so be mindful of what type of yogurt you are purchasing at your grocery store.
There are some popular snacks that parents should know are not always the best for your child’s teeth. Dried fruits such as raisins are laden with sugar and can get stuck easily in teeth. Chips, pretzels, and even those cheese fish crackers taste great, but all contain carbohydrates and contribute to decay. Plain popcorn is pretty harmless, but beware of those pesky hulls that can wedge in between teeth and down into gums. When in doubt, ask your dentist or pediatrician what his or her recommendations are. And check online to get creative presentation ideas for your child. As most parents know, how a food looks is more important than taste for some kids!< Back to Blog