Believe it or not, back-to-school season is upon us, which means it is time to start planning for your family’s best school year yet. As you gear up for another school year, you are probably racking your brain for healthy and nutritious lunch options that your children will actually want to eat.
Aside from keeping your children healthy and fueling their brains for learning, healthy school lunches are also a key part of children’s dental health! In fact, packing tooth-friendly school lunches is key to preventing tooth decay, gum disease, and cavities. In this post, we will discuss everything you need to know about packing tooth-friendly school lunches that are easy, nutritious, and delicious.
Foods to look for and foods to avoid
When it comes to tooth-friendly school lunches, it is all about knowing what foods to focus on, and what foods to avoid. We suggest packing lunches that include a mix of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
Additionally, you should focus on packing foods that contain plenty of calcium and vitamin D, since calcium is critical for strong teeth and vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium. Other vitamins and minerals to focus on include vitamins A and C, as well as phosphorus and magnesium — all of which are important for children’s dental health.
Foods you should avoid when packing tooth-friendly school lunches include those that have high sugar, starch, and carbohydrate content since these foods lead to plaque acids which can damage tooth enamel over time.
Our top picks for tooth-friendly school lunches
Although they may not be the most popular food choice for kids, crunchy vegetables such as celery, carrots, green peppers, and cucumbers, are great for teeth. This is because these veggies not only dilute natural sugars but also help wash away food particles that can lead to decay. To make the veggies more appealing, pair them with yummy dips like hummus!
Healthy sources of protein, such as peanut butter, sliced turkey, and nuts are important for the development of tooth enamel, so be sure to include at least one protein source in every school lunch.
Cheese, milk, and yogurt are all important for dental health. Thanks to their calcium content, these foods are key for developing strong teeth and a strong jaw. Additionally, cheese increases saliva production, which prevents cavities in the long run.
Fruits that are high in fiber — like bananas, apples, and strawberries — make a healthy, vitamin-rich alternative to traditional desserts like cookies and cupcakes. In addition to being rich in essential vitamins, high fiber fruits act “like a natural toothbrush” which helps prevent tooth decay.
Plenty of water
Finally, when it comes to packing drinks, stick to water. Water will help clean the teeth — rinsing away bacteria and preventing cavities. Additionally, sticking to water instead of fruit juices or soda will keep your child safe from sugars that can wreak havoc on teeth.
Have more questions about how to keep your child’s smile healthy? Our pediatric dentistry in Chattanooga is here to help. Contact us today!