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Packing a Healthier Lunch for Your Child

There’s a problem with a lot of the typical lunch goodies that go into a lot of children’s lunches these days; they’re often full of sugar. While the school cafeteria usually dishes up something hot, many times it is also carb-laden. If you’re trying to get your child to eat healthier, it is often better to take the time to pack them a lunch. That may be a less expensive option, too. But picking the wrong items to pack could expose your kids to sugary treats that they’ll love – but are totally wrong for their teeth.

Here are five great tips for packing a tooth-friendly lunch sack for your kids to enjoy.

What To Pack for a Child’s Lunch

Applesauce is a yummy treat. One problem? Most brands have added sugar, which takes away from the health benefit of eating applesauce. There are sugar-free organic choices in the grocery, but know that there will still be a lot of natural sugar even in those. If you’re really trying to avoid the sugar, try cottage cheese with strawberries and nuts.

Real fruit is much better than fruit leathers, which are absolutely full of sugar. They’re also terrible for any kid with braces. Try chopping up fruit slices including apple, banana, strawberries, or even watermelon, instead. Grapes or mandarin oranges are also a better choice than individual containers of fruit cocktail, or even peaches, which are full of added syrupy sugar.

Milk is a great option for adding calcium to your growing child’s diet. Certainly, don’t send soda or fruit punch. The added sugar in these drinks cause cavities, so save yourself future trouble by sending bottled water or milk. Plain or sugar-free yogurt is another way to add calcium to the diet.

Absolutely skip carb-heavy starchy snacks such as potato chips, Fritos, or pretzels. In fact, starches convert to sugar. Too, the consistency of chips or pretzels is such that small particles can get caught between the teeth. As this debris decays, it will attract bacteria to the teeth and gums. Other crunchy options include carrots (cut them into small pieces if your child has braces), sunflower seeds, almonds, and cashews. Even string cheese and boiled eggs are preferable to a bag of cookies or chips.

Here’s another tip: Go for color. Pick the most colorful types of fruits and vegetables, which will pique the interest of your child. The veggies that are high in vitamin C are usually orange or red, and green veggies are full of calcium. Try cherry tomatoes or snap peas, which are full of fiber, which will stimulate saliva production, the natural wash that your body produces to clean your mouth and gums.

Assuming the school allows gum (many do not), throw in a pack of sugar-free gum for the after lunch snack. What your child won’t know is that chewing gum also stimulates the salivary glands, which will help wash the lunch off their teeth and keep them healthier.

For more tips, contact Truman Orthodontics to talk about ways to improve your whole family’s diet.

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