As a parent, I know getting kids and teens to eat healthy isn’t always an easy task, especially when they’re busy with school and after-school activities. At the school cafeteria, it's just too easy for kids to snack on french fries, chicken nuggets and other fried foods and unhealthy snacks, which is why I’d like to pass along five delicious, smile-healthy, and nutritious snacks that my kids love.
1. Cheese – Cheese is one of the healthiest snacks for your child's teeth. In addition to providing large amounts of much-needed calcium, cheese also does its part to fight cavities. Cheese stimulates the body's salivary glands to clear the mouth of debris and protect them from acids that weaken them, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. This means cheese disrupts the development of cavities, especially when eaten as a snack or at the end of a meal. One study showed fewer cavities in kids who ate pears with cheese than in those who ate pears alone. Calcium and phosphorous found in cheese reduce or prevent decreases in the plaque's ph level and work to re-mineralize the enamel of your child's teeth.
2. Blueberries - These tiny nutritional powerhouses are loaded with Vitamin C, as well as folic acid, minerals, fiber and disease-fighting phytochemicals, which have shown to help prevent cancer and diabetes. My kids love them plain, added to muffins and pancakes.
3. Whole wheat bread or cereal – From bread, kids get their iron, vitamins, magnesium, and zinc. With vitamins, calcium, and fiber, a bowl of enriched whole grain cereal with milk—and even fruit—is a power-packed snack or healthy start to the day.
4. Almonds - They’re rich in disease-fighting phytochemicals and Vitamin E, and also have good amounts of fiber, iron, and calcium. Let your kids eat them raw. (Note: Whole nuts are a choking hazard for children under 3 years old.)
5. Yogurt - Eating dairy is not just healthy for building strong bones, but is essential for maintaining a strong, healthy smile. Low-fat yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, especially when whipped up in a parfait with berries and granola. Homemade fruity yogurt pops sure beats sugary store-bought frozen treats. Just punch a plastic spoon through the lid of a small yogurt container and freeze for an easy, healthy treat!
I encourage you to check out this article for 15 other healthy snacks your child can enjoy at any time of the day! For more information about which foods are best for keeping your teeth healthy, please post your question here on our blog, give our team a call or ask us on Facebook! I hope your child had a great first week of school.