Sometimes getting your kids to eat healthy can feel like pulling teeth. as a father of three kids, I can relate to your struggle. Now that school is almost back in session in Ft. Myers, and all around Florida, it means packing a school lunch for many of us. I don’t know about you, but after the first week (or two) I get stuck for creative ideas. Not only creative ideas, but HEALTHY lunch ideas.
Food choices affect not only our body weight AND our dental health. Foods like raisins and fruit roll-ups, while seemingly healthy, get stuck in back teeth and their natural sugars attract bacteria – an ideal environment for cavity formation. Saliva in the mouth helps to combat cavities, so encouraging your child to drink water is a must. Milk is a good choice too due to the calcium, but be aware flavored milk has added sugars.
Here are my top healthy lunch (and snack) choices:
1. Raw Veggies – Carrots, celery, cucumbers etc. Have a high water content, are low in sugar and are crunchy providing a hard surface which is less likely to “stick” to teeth.
2. Grains – Whole grain breads, pretzels, unsweetened cereals (like Cheerios)
4. Cheese – mozzarella sticks, cheddar, colby jack, even cottage cheese.
4. Fresh Fruit – Apples, pears, berries. While fresh fruit contains sugar, it also contains fiber and is a better choice than dried fruit.
Remember, everything in moderation. Your kids do not have to be sugar-free. What’s the fun in that?! Your kids can still have healthy teeth and eat a cupcake or have an ice cream now and then. The overall nutrition of the diet is important, so if they eat healthy food most of the time the treats will not sabotage their teeth or overall health. Always encourage your kids to brush and floss regularly (download our free brushing chart ) and make sure they also have regular dental checkups. If you have concerns about your child’s teeth make sure to give us a call at Pediatric Dentistry of Ft. Myers 239.482.2722. We are always happy to answer questions or give you second opinion.