Although it would be ideal for kids to be able to brush their teeth after lunch, it’s most likely that they won’t be able to. Usual lunch options such as PB & J sandwiches or bags of chips or cookies given on a daily basis can contribute to tooth decay and poor oral health in general. Here are a few healthy lunch items you can pack so that you don’t have to worry about your children’s teeth and you can feel better about the nutrition they are getting!
- Dairy – A yogurt cup or a slice of cheese contains calcium among other important nutrients. Cheese especially can be beneficial because it can help protect your teeth from harmful bacteria after the meal.
- Fruit & Vegetables – Fruits are delicious and a perfect way to end a meal. Any types of berries, pears or apples are particularly good choices because of their high nutritional content and their ability to help prevent tooth decay. Vegetables are also very high in vitamins and minerals and don’t have as high of a sugar content as fruits. Cucumber slices, lightly blanched broccoli, or crispy carrot sticks are all easy to pack and great for snacking as well.
- Protein – Most of the time, sandwiches are the main part of a lunch. Pack them with lean protein such as grilled chicken, turkey, or tuna. If you want something a little more interesting, you can also make shrimp or roast beef sandwiches. You can also insert the vegetables in the sandwich (tomatoes, lettuce, onion, etc.) to make it even tastier and healthier.
- Whole Grains – This is usually going to be the bread of your sandwich, or maybe a bowl of pasta. Breads with whole grains are more flavorful and full of nutrition than processed white breads or buttery croissants and such. Besides helping teeth resist tooth decay, it will also keep your kids more full throughout the day, which means more energy and better concentration.
An occasional chocolate chip cookie can be a treat, but try to stay away from regularly packing any cookies, candy, sweet granola bars and other foods that stick to your teeth (raisins, honey, dried fruits, etc.)
If you have any questions, call Candlewood Dental Care at 203-746-1200 to make an appointment. Dr. Lorraine Burio has been practicing in the New Fairfield and Danbury, CT area for twenty-five years and is especially knowledgeable on children’s teeth and family dentistry.