Tired of peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a boring brown paper bag? Kick up the school lunch game a notch with these healthy school lunches that also provide major dental health benefits. Kids like variety so provide an assortment of foods to keep them engaged. Get kids excited about healthy school lunches by letting them pick out their lunch box, water bottle and snacks. Involving children in the lunch-making process allows kids to take ownership of their eating choices.
Zest Up the Old Peanut Butter and Jelly With Whole Grain Bread, Nut Butters and Diced Fruit
Whole grain bread contains less sugar and more nutrients than white bread which will lessen tooth decay and provide more nutrients to the teeth. Nuts are low in carbohydrates which is great since tooth decay is caused by acid-producing bacteria that are activated by carbs. These days, the nut butter selections are endless–cashew, peanut, almond, sun butter and the list goes on. Read the label and make sure to find one without the added sugar. Get crafty with cookie cutters to turn an ordinary sandwich into a fun, feasting experience. Slice bananas or strawberries to layer in between slices of bread and creamy nut butter.
Roll Up Turkey and Cheese for a Fun Finger Food
Place a slice of cheese on top of a slice of deli turkey. Add a few shavings of lettuce for crunch and drizzle a little mustard on top. Roll it up to make an easy, grab-and-go finger food. Turkey and cheese are both rich in protein which is a good source of phosphorous. Phosphorus helps protect and rebuild tooth enamel.
Cheese Cubes Make an Easy Snack
Cut an assortment of cheeses into cubes for a punch of protein. Cheese is high in calcium, a nutrient known for strengthening teeth, and it also makes a great, simple snack.
An Assortment of Fruit Is Ideal for the Fiber and Water Content
The old adage goes “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Little did we know, it might also keep the dentist away. Apples are high in fiber and water, and chewing a crispy apple produces saliva which cleanses the mouth. Plus, the fibrous texture of apples helps stimulate the gums. Happy gums equal a healthy smile.
Kids Love Dip. Make Crudité
Crunchy vegetables help teeth two-fold. Like fruits, the crunch generates saliva which naturally cleans the teeth by rinsing off particles and harmful acid. In addition, the added nutrients in vegetables like carrots strengthen teeth through beta-carotene and vitamin A. High in water content, celery is also an optimal dental health choice. Dip these flavor favorites into hummus or ranch dressing for the win.
Hard-Boiled Eggs Are Easy to Prep for the Week
Prep hard-boiled eggs on Sunday afternoon for the week to make hectic mornings easier. High-protein foods like eggs are rich in phosphorous which helps keep the mouth healthy. The protein also has staying power and keeps kids full longer.
Choose Water Over Soda or Juice
When in doubt, always choose water over sugary soda or juice. It is the simplest way to keep kids healthy and hydrated while protecting their teeth at the same time. Most water contains fluoride which is a natural cavity fighter.
While children gravitate towards the sugary goods, steer away from those by offering up whole foods like veggies, fruits and grains. Stay away from sugary drinks and ultra-sticky candies, especially hard candy that adheres to the teeth. Chocolate is typically the lesser of the sugary evils because it washes off the teeth easier than the stickier candies.