Are you always looking for healthier alternatives to put in your kids’ lunches? I sure am. I’m going to admit something right here and now: My kids are 18, 16 and 12, and I still make their lunches for school every day. Phew! I feel better now that I got that out in the open. I’ve received flak on that from friends in the past, but it’s just something I like to do and will do until they leave our nest. There are worse things I could do for them — like their homework, maybe?
This year I’ve made some drastic changes to what I put in their lunches. I used to throw in a meat-and-cheese sandwich, some chips, cookies, fruit snacks, a sugary drink and call it good. But this year I’ve been trying to focus on putting foods in their lunches that really fuel them and are good for their health — and their teeth.
So many of the sugary products I was putting in their lunches weren’t helping in the teeth department. That sugar just stays on our kids’ teeth throughout the day and isn’t removed until they brush that night. But in my research to provide healthier lunches, I found that there are foods that aid in tooth health.
Here are three balanced lunches that are filling, healthy and, yes, contain foods that are good for oral health.
This one consists of meat-and-cheese lettuce roll-ups, yogurt-covered pretzels, apples and goldfish crackers. A couple of items here are specifically good for teeth: cheese and apples.
Cheese is known for its calcium, which is obviously great for teeth and bones, but studies have also shown that the chewing it takes to eat the cheese produces more saliva, which helps defend against tooth decay.
Apples also produce a good amount of saliva, which is known to rinse away bacteria and food particles. The chewing of the apple also gives your teeth a good scrubbing, to tide them over until they can brush.
This version consists of a bagel, cream cheese, sliced carrots and a mix of raisins, cranberries and nuts.
The cream cheese on the bagel contains calcium and helps strengthen teeth. If you prefer not to send bagels with your child (breads are well known for containing an amount of sugar), swap them out for celery sticks, which are also really good for teeth. You can do “ants on a log” with the cream cheese, celery and raisins, and you can even add peanut butter. That’s always a fun treat!
Carrots are super crunchy and full of fiber. They also produce a high amount of saliva, which helps reduce the risk of cavities. Raisins are sweet, and most kids love them for that, but the sugar is natural, so no sucrose. Send raisins instead of fruit snacks or other sweets.
The raisin, nut and cranberry mix is colorful, sweet and oh so yummy, which means your kids will love it and not even know that all three of these foods promote healthy teeth. And cranberries contain polyphenols, which may keep plaque from sticking to teeth.
This meal consists of a meat, cheese and spinach sandwich, boiled egg, goldfish crackers and that mix of raisins, cranberries and nuts.
Just as cheese contains calcium, so do eggs. Eggs are also high in phosphorous, which helps keep enamel strong and healthy.
Spinach is a favorite of all three of my kids, something I put in their lunches every day. It’s full of vitamins, minerals and calcium and an easy, leafy green to add to other meals to get your kids used to it. I sneak it into eggs, omelets, paninis and whatever else I can! Throw it on a pizza or in a smoothie!
So if you’re looking for better nutrition alternatives for your kids, all three of these lunches are colorful, will fill your kids’ tummies, are presented in a fun way and contain foods that help promote healthy teeth. What more could you and your kids ask for?
This post is part of a sponsored collaboration between ProNamel® 6-12 Years Toothpaste for Kids and SheKnows