Packing a Tooth-Friendly Lunch for Kids
Lunchtime is a wonderful time to focus on helping children to make healthy choices. You can help them choose healthy foods to add to their lunchbox. Many of the best foods for a child’s overall health are also great for their teeth.
Give Children a Healthy Crunch Choice
Children often crave crunchy foods such as chips and crackers. These tend to be starchy and stick to the teeth. If the food particles sit on the enamel too long, it can lead to tooth cavities.
Try replacing chips with other foods that satisfy your children’s sensory needs. Veggie sticks are a great option that actually helps to brush away food particles. Celery has even been described as being nature’s toothbrush.
Make Lunches Visually Appealing
Some of the worst foods for children’s teeth are brightly colored. All it takes is a quick look at the candy aisle to see how companies know that a rainbow of colorful treats appeals to children.
Fortunately, nature also has an array of healthy foods that are visually interesting. Consider making a rainbow salad with a mixture of colorful vegetables, or you could arrange vegetables into a fun picture that entices your child to eat.
Add Some Cheese
Cheese helps to stimulate saliva production that washes away food debris. It also has calcium that helps to build up enamel. Children tend to love cheese in general, which makes this an easy addition. There are also many different types of cheese to choose from so lunches don’t get boring.
Limit Sugary Drinks
Those lovely juice boxes make for an easy drink to toss into a child’s lunchbox. Their convenience may come at a price. Many of these juice boxes are filled with ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup that eats away at enamel. Even 100% juice can be highly acidic.
Water is the best option for a tooth-friendly drink. Milk is another one that can help to reduce the amount of juice that goes into the lunchbox.
Make Adjustments for Loose or Missing Teeth
Apples are great for teeth. Nuts and other crunchy foods are as well, but they may not always be easy to eat. Children who are in the process of growing in their adult teeth may sometimes have trouble eating certain foods.
Try cutting up hard foods so that they are more manageable. Apple slices and applesauce are some ideas for helping your child enjoy their favorite food without being uncomfortable.
Choose Whole Grain Bread
White bread tends to be overly starchy, and it gets stuck to the teeth like chips. Whole grain bread is less likely to do so. It also contains more nutrients to help keep teeth strong.
You can also choose to leave bread out completely. Lettuce wraps with a meat and cheese are even better for teeth.
Think About Vitamin C
Teeth need healthy gums to stay in place. Foods that are high in vitamin C should also be a regular part of children’s lunches. Strawberries, oranges and bell peppers are easy additions to a lunchbox that are likely to be eaten.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut or reach for the easiest items in the pantry when you are making your child’s lunch. Try pre-chopping vegetables on Sunday to make it easy to prep lunches during the week.
Simplifying your lunch-making strategies makes it even easier to fill your child’s lunchbox with tooth-friendly foods.