With back to school just around the corner, packing nutritious, healthy snacks for your child can sometimes become a difficult task for parents. It is very important to pack foods that are tooth friendly and won’t cause cavities.
Many of the common ‘convenient’ school snacks typically have a lot of hidden sugars and may be causing harm to your child’s teeth without you even knowing. Often these sneaky sugars are labelled using different names.
Some examples to look out for include:
Types of Syrups, for example: Corn syrup, Rice syrup, Agave Syrup.
Words ending in “ose”: Fructose, Dextrose, Sucrose.
Did you know? There are more than 60 names for added sugar!
When packing snacks & lunches, we recommend reaching for fresh foods, rather than pre-packaged snacks. To maintain a healthy lunch for the whole body, try packing foods that are high in protein, vitamin C, Vitamin D, and calcium.
Some great examples are:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Lean meats
- Plain Yogurt
- Nuts (follow school guidelines)
Foods to avoid when packing lunches are foods that are high in carbs, sugars, starches, and sticky foods.
Some examples are:
- Sticky fruit snacks
- Dried fruit
- Granola bars
- Chocolate spreads/jams
- White bread
- Potato chips
Here are some easy, tooth friendly snack ideas to get you and your family inspired:
- Lettuce wraps with cheese and turkey slices
- Veggies and dip (hummus and yogurt-based dips are great options)
- Plain yogurt with berries
- Apple slices
- Cubed cheese/sliced cheese
- Hard boiled eggs
- Baked sweet potato fries with mayo
- Teriyaki Salmon/Chicken
- Chicken skewers with tzatziki
- Cauliflower “wings”
- Celery sticks with low fat cream cheese
- Cheese and bean quesadilla with corn tortilla
Keeping your child hydrated is a huge contribution to a healthy body and mind.
Water is the best drink for your child to have at school, remember to pack them a full water bottle. Drinking water improves mood, memory, and attention AND it also will help to keep teeth healthy. Sipping water during snack time can help to wash away excess food which otherwise could stick onto the teeth.
Remember to avoid packing juice boxes. Having juice boxes as a treat is OK but not everyday.
Tips for a Healthy Lunch Box:
- Meal plan: Before you head to the grocery store, plan-ahead. Remember to write down a shopping list with a clear set healthy snack and lunch plan. This will allow you and your family to purchase more efficiently. You will only buy what you need for the upcoming week and hopefully eliminate panic buying pre-packaged items.
- Food Prep: Dedicate a few hours to prepare healthy foods and snacks for the upcoming week. For example: Washing & chopping veggies, boiling eggs.
- Get your child involved: Helping your child pick some healthy snacks will educate them for the future. It will also encourage them to stay away from the easy to grab snacks. Grocery stores make it so easy to pick up pre-packaged granola bars or crackers and in a pinch they can be perfect, just not everyday.