The first few weeks of a new school year can be hectic as we reluctantly say goodbye to summer and hello to early mornings, help with homework, and, of course, packing lunches. Whether it’s your child’s first day of kindergarten or simply a new grade, it’s important to keep in mind that healthy food will choices help maintain overall wellness and happy teeth!
Unfortunately, some of the most common snack and lunch items for school are high in fats, sugars and carbohydrates, all of which can encourage cavity formation. Let’s explore some of these common food items and some smart substitutes to start the year off right:
Cheese and crackers:
Skip the crackers and add a fruit to pair with the protein from cheese. Refined carbohydrates like crackers are packed with preservatives and sugars, which, contribute to acid build up and enamel breakdown when not brushed away.
Pretzels and peanut butter:
Similar to crackers, pretzels are refined carbohydrates, which usually contain lots of sugar. Opt for a veggie to go with peanut butter so the mouth creates extra saliva to wash away the stickiness.
Cereal or granola:
SUB: Fruit and yogurt
Yogurt is high in protein and provides essential nutrients like calcium, potassium and vitamin B-12.
SUB: Fruit salad
Along with being high in sugar, fruit snacks are especially tricky because they get lodged between teeth and are hard to remove without a thorough brushing. Try combining a few of your kid’s favorite fruits in a salad, like strawberries, blueberries and watermelon.
SUB: Milk or Water
We all know soda is bad for teeth, but fruit juices can be equally high in sugar and harmful acids. Milk is a great option because it’s high in calcium, and water is always a safe alternative, as it is sugar-free and helps wash food out of the mouth.