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Snacks seem to make up a big part of your child’s diet, and the snacking limits can really be tested over summer break. It’s important to give your kids the type of snacks your kids will enjoy (and not waste!) and snacks you can feel good about as a parent.
These snack ideas and healthy summer snack tips will offer the perfect combination of healthy and delicious; a combination sure to satisfy and fuel your busy summer.
Check Before You Buy – Reading Labels
Nutrition facts food labels give you the information you need to determine if that “kids friendly” snack is perhaps not so great after all. Checking labels before you buy will help give you a general idea about what the food you’re using to fuel your family contains, how much a serving size should be and will help you and your family make healthy choices about the foods you are buying.
Reconsider buying things like soda, juice and sports drinks which are packed with sugar, and choose natural fruit juices over artificial flavorings whenever possible.
A general rule of thumb:
- If the list of ingredients is long, there’s probably a lot of chemical additives in the product. Always look for simple, clean ingredients on the label.
- The largest quantity of ingredients is listed first.
- Check the carbohydrates and sugars per serving.
Happy Smile Snacks
Making sure your kids have access to healthy snacks at home is the first step in ensuring the health of their body and their smile. By avoiding or minimizing sticky sweets and sugary beverages, you can offer choices and use strategies that not only counteract tooth decay but also promote overall wellness and health for your little ones.
For simple snacking, keep foods like these on hand all summer for easy grabbing:
Variety of Fruits
Eating fruit is a great way to help keep your gums and teeth healthy while having a refreshing summer snack. Many fruits are high in vitamins A and C, making them both nutritious and delicious for snacking. Wash your fruits right away when you get home from the grocery store and create snack cups with fruits like orange slices, apples, bananas, berries and kiwi that are easy to grab when the sweet tooth strikes.
Protein is a great buffer against acid that causes tooth decay. Keep your pantry stocked with a variety of nuts, and stock up on string cheese sticks and turkey slices that help to rinse sticky bacteria from the mouth.
Kids just love popcorn, and it’s easy to see why! This sure-fire hit actually has 4 grams of fiber per 3-cup serving making it a filling snack. Popcorn is easy to get caught in your teeth, so help teach your little ones the importance of flossing after you’re finished for an extra dental bonus.
This super-flavorful and satisfying snack gives your kids protein and calcium. The calcium in cheese preserves and rebuilds tooth enamel and helps produce saliva, which kills bacteria that causes cavities. Pair a cheese stick with apple slices or carrot sticks for the ideal power snack.
Making water your number-one choice
When it comes to staying hydrated, making water your go-to beverage promotes saliva formation and helps rinse acid and bacteria that form in your mouth. The bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and produce acid that attacks your teeth which leads to tooth decay, so rinsing that bacteria away every chance you get can really help decrease cavities.
Sipping on something sweet? Using a straw can greatly reduce the number of sugars that wash over your teeth!
Protecting Your Smile From Sweets
Good oral hygiene is important for everyone to practice, but for children who to tend to consume large amounts of sugar from the foods and drinks they eat, cleaning the teeth thoroughly and effectively becomes even more crucial.
If you think your child has a greater risk of developing cavities due to a sweet tooth, try these tips to protect their teeth from decay:
- Use a fluoride toothpaste if your child is old enough
- Rinse with a fluoride mouth rinse
- Supervise brushing to ensure it’s being done correctly and effectively
- Add flossing into the daily routine
- Drink more water
In addition to at-home oral hygiene, there’s simply no substitute to scheduling regular professional cleanings and exams. Help your kids avoid potential issues by scheduling them an exam with Hoffman Dental Care today!