During the school year, parents often spend more time away from their children than with them. Between work, school, and running kids to and from their extracurricular activities, most of us feel lucky if we get to share one solid meal a day with them.
Your child’s nutrition is key to both their whole-body health and their oral health. While it’s difficult to make sure they are eating the foods that are best for them when they are away from you, it’s not impossible to do so. We have put together some quick, healthy meal ideas and easy options for healthy snacks that will allow you to play a strong role in their daily health and nutrition, as well as remind them how much you love them every time they take a bite.
Breakfast on the Go!
Mornings can feel rushed when kids head back to school. Getting yourself up and ready for the day before 9am is hard enough — add a child or two to the routine and providing a healthy breakfast might seem impossible. It’s not! The following are some tips that will help the whole family get the day started off right:
- Ditch the sugary cereals and doughnuts. Eggs make for a great option and are an excellent source of vitamin D, which is needed to absorb calcium for strong bones. If you don’t have time to throw them on the stove, boil some the night before for breakfast on the go.
- Pair breakfast with milk to add calcium to your child’s diet.
- Yogurt is a great grab-and-go meal that will help strengthen and fortify your child’s teeth. It contains phosphates that help with remineralization.
- Make sure your children end their morning meal with a firm, crunchy fruit, like an apple. They remove plaque from teeth and increase saliva flow, keeping teeth clean and shiny.
Lunch Filled With Love
Preparing lunch for your kids doesn’t have to be time consuming or done in a rush. A lot of prep work can be done in advance. Bento-style meals are more popular than ever and are made by filling a lunch container with teeth-healthy foods like cheese, meats, fruits, and vegetables, which you can cut and chop ahead of time. You can make lunches fun by cutting crisp fruits and calcium-filled cheese into fun shapes with cookie cutters. Children are drawn to bright colors, so include a rainbow of fruits, veggies, meats, and cheeses. Variety will keep lunches interesting and ensure that your child is getting all of the vitamins and minerals they need to stay strong, healthy, and smiling.
Kids like snacks — there’s no way around it. Three healthy meals a day is a thing of the past, which isn’t necessarily bad, but it does pose an extra challenge for parents trying to keep their littles fed well. Your kids want chips and cookies and all of those expensive, prepackaged treats they see on TV, which lead to tooth decay and other health problems if eaten regularly. If you are struggling to find healthy snacks that will satisfy your child’s snack tooth, consider some of the following:
- Fill up a fruit bowl with melon, pears, oranges, and pineapple. These sweet and colorful treats will tame kids’ craving for sweets.
- Make a veggie tray with carrots, celery, cucumbers, broccoli, and a little ranch dressing for dip. The crisp veggies will help clean you children’s teeth, and all of the vitamins and minerals will fortify their pearly whites.
- Unsalted whole-grain pretzels are the perfect alternatives to greasy potato chips. Mix in some low-salt nuts and sunflower or pumpkin seeds to add some extra protein.
- As we mentioned earlier, cheese is a great teeth-healthy snack. Buy easy-to-grab packages of string cheese, or cube up some cheddar.
Remember that sugary beverages can also cause tooth decay. Water and unsweetened milk are the best tooth-healthy options. Too boring? Make them fun by finding colorful or unique water bottles to put them in. Let your child pick one they will be proud to show off in the lunchroom or with friends. You can also sweeten water naturally with cucumber or berries, which are both tasty and tooth friendly.
Want to find out more about how you can protect your child’s oral and whole-body health? Call Vista Pacific Dental in Oxnard today for more information or to set up your next appointment: 805.228.4483.