Now that everyone is back in school, parents around the country are scurrying to find kid-friendly and tooth-approved grab-and-go school snacks for their children. When your student eats a balanced diet every day, it enhances both their general health and their smile. “Healthy” kids snacks, on the other hand, might be misleading, since some dishes include hidden sugars, acids, or processed carbohydrates, all of which increase your child’s risk of cavities.
With a few little changes, you can transform the usual school meals or after-school treats into nutritious kids’ snacks that reduce your child’s cavity risk.
Biggest Snack Offenders
What are the worst offenders when it comes to healthy kids’ lunches? Anything that has been processed or packaged. If you can’t pick it, grow it, or cook and bake it yourself, there are certainly some components in it that aren’t good for your teeth. Even bottled water isn’t as “healthy” as water directly from the faucet, where fluoride levels are controlled. If you can buy it in a bottle or box, chances are it doesn’t rate as “excellent” or “best” when it comes to food options.
But here is the good news — it may be easier than you think to find healthy and teeth happy snacks. Just avoid the biggest threat to your kids’ smiles: SUGAR.
While we probably all think of candy and sodas as something bad, there are plenty of snacks that are considered to be “healthy” but wreak havoc on teeth. For example, raisins, dried fruit, granola bars, gummies, and even gummy vitamins are pretty bad for kids’ teeth. These highly sugary foods are also very sticky and chewy, making it hard for them to be easily washed away when drinking water, juice, or milk. By avoiding these high-sugar, sticky foods — you’ll be protecting your kids’ teeth.
Kid & Dentist Approved Snacks
Yogurt Parfait with Berries
- Yogurt is beneficial to both the teeth and the entire body. Yogurt contains calcium, which is a building block for strong teeth. Furthermore, probiotics aid digestion, battle bad breath and even help keep the gums healthy. Choose plain, full-fat yogurt for the most tooth-friendly alternative. Fruit provides that fun kick of sweetness. (Did you know that low-fat goods frequently contain extra sugar to enhance the flavor of the missing fat?)
Smoothies are a great way to make sure your kids are getting their daily fruits and even veggies in a fun, yummy way. Here are our favorite smoothie recipes for kids:
- Smile Bright Smoothie
- This smoothie will not only make your kids smile because it tastes delicious, but it will also provide a healthy boost to their entire mouth. The apples in this recipe provide the same amount of fiber as a serving of bran cereal. Because apples are moderately acidic, they function as an astringent, eliminating bacteria and whitening teeth. Avocados are also good for your teeth, as they contain an average of 18mg of calcium, which helps to keep your teeth strong. They’re also high in vitamin B6, which is necessary for optimal dental health. The mint leaves aren’t simply for decoration! They are natural breath fresheners that have also been proven to whiten teeth.
3 Apples, 2 Kiwis, 1 Avocado, 1 Orange, 3 Sprigs of Mint
- Healthy Gums Smoothie
- Because of the high levels of Vitamin C in the kiwi and mixed berries, this smoothie is excellent for maintaining healthy gum tissues. Kiwis have more vitamin C per weight than any other fruit, including the vitamin C-rich orange. But, just in case, we’ve also included an orange in this dish! According to research, high amounts of vitamin C are vital for healthy gums and aid in the prevention of periodontal disease. The addition of Greek yogurt, which is a dental superfood, gives this smoothie its creamy texture. Yogurt has also been demonstrated to help with tooth strength and foul breath.
1 Kiwi, 1 Banana, ½ Cup Frozen Berries, 1 Cup Strawberries, ½ Cup Orange, 8 oz. Greek Yogurt
- Strong Teeth Smoothie
- This delicious snack, like the preceding smoothie, is loaded with Vitamin C. The true tooth-strengthening advantages, however, come from manganese, which is abundant in pineapple. Manganese is a trace element that aids in the formation of strong bones. One serving of this smoothie provides your entire daily manganese need. But there is one thing to keep in mind. Because of the high acidity of the pineapple and the sweetness of the added honey, you should not skip your kids’ usual brushing practice just because the nutrients in this smoothie are excellent for teeth.
2/3 of 1 Whole Pineapple, 1 ½ Tbs. Honey, 1 Peach, ½ Cup Frozen Pineapple/ Mango, 1 Banana, 1 Orange
- We offer an unexpected take on this classic. Chocolate. Yes, you read that correctly. Raisins and other dried fruits are high in sugar and come in a compact, sticky packet. Sticky sugar is the worst thing you can do to your teeth. Twist some celery sticks and smear on some peanut butter for our take on this classic snack (nut butter or seed butter also work). Add a few chocolate chips to serve as “ants,” and you’re ready to go. Despite the fact that the peanut butter and chocolate chips include sugar, the celery’s crispness prevents it from adhering to the teeth. As a result, this is a delightful and filling snack.
Home-Made Popcorn and/or Nuts
- The protein and nutritious carbohydrates in this simple snack will keep your kiddo satisfied until dinnertime. Because of the low sugar content of this food, it is beneficial to the entire body.
Fruit & Cheese Swords
- This simple snack might make eating fruit more enjoyable. All you need to do is select some pieces of your favorite cheese and some fresh fruit. Make a fun snack by skewering them in an alternate pattern on a bamboo kabob stick or a sword toothpick. If swords aren’t your thing, call these “magic wands.” To add a fun twist, cut the cheese into different shapes with a small cookie cutter. Cheese contains a lot of calcium, which helps your teeth stay strong. It also functions as a buffer to neutralize the acid found in most fruits, which aids in the prevention of tooth decay.
Hummus & Veggies or Pita
- This is another snack that has hidden protein to keep your child satisfied. Make some amusing dippers out of pita bread and let your youngster scoop up as much protein-rich hummus as he wants. Pita bread is less prone to get sucked into the grooves on the biting surface of teeth than chips or crackers. Keeping these grooves clean helps prevent cavities from forming in areas where a toothbrush cannot reach.
And, as always, bring your family in every 6 months for a cleaning to maintain happy and healthy teeth.