Can snacking and healthy teeth go hand-in-hand? Options like candy, cookies, and chips are delicious, but they do not make for good dental health. There’s no need to cut snacking out of your child’s routine, but you can make an effort to ensure the snacks they’re enjoying are good for their teeth and gums. Here are four kid-friendly snacking options that will make the dentist proud.
This classic snack has been around for a while. Maybe you even ate it when you were in preschool. It’s a good one to make with your kids on a Saturday since it’s simple, does not require a sharp knife, and won’t make a huge mess.
Basically, you fill the center of a stalk of celery with peanut butter (use an all-natural variety, as they contain less sugar) or cream cheese. Place some raisins on top to look like ants. The celery is rich in minerals like magnesium that are good for dental health, and peanut butter and cream cheese are good sources of protein to keep kids full.
This is a great after-school snack that older kids can make themselves. Buy whole-wheat English muffins, which are lower in sugar and higher in fiber, and top them with jarred tomato sauce. (Again, look for a no-sugar-added brand; you’d be surprised how much sugar can be hidden in pizza sauce.) Add a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese, and cook in the toaster oven until the cheese is melted.
Your kids can add extra toppings, like sliced mushrooms or onions, to make these pizzas even healthier. The cheese is rich in calcium and vitamin D, which are great for teeth.
Some store-bought granola bars are full of sugar, but when you make your own, you can select ingredients that are better for healthy teeth. Basically, you combine pitted dates, honey, natural peanut butter, almonds, and rolled oats. Spread the mixture into a baking dish, pack it down, bake it, and cut it into bars. The nuts are a great source of minerals for healthy teeth, and the dates and honey add some sweetness, but not too much sugar.
Hummus, which is made from chickpeas, is low in sugar and contains plenty of magnesium for healthy teeth. It’s also rich in zinc, which is good for your gums. Sure, you could buy hummus in a store, but it’s more fun to make it at home with your kids.
All you have to do is combine a can of chickpeas, some lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, and your favorite seasonings — garlic and cumin work well — in the food processor. Let your child help by pressing the button. When the hummus comes together, you can offer them veggies, like carrots and broccoli, to dip in it.
Healthy eating makes for healthy teeth. Give some of these snacks a try, and let us know what you think.