There’s so much to do before the kids head back to school. Apart from preparing new books, stationery, uniforms and new routines, one of the biggest challenges for parents is packing a healthy school lunch. A nutritious meal at lunchtime plays an important role in your child’s energy and focus at school, and it can also make a significant difference on their overall wellbeing and oral health!
So what makes a healthy lunch – that’s also teeth friendly?
The best kinds of teeth-friendly foods are ones that are:
- Low in sugar
- Not acidic
- Not sticky
- Contain tooth friendly minerals such as calcium or phosphorus
- And can stimulate saliva production which helps neutralise acid and remineralize tooth enamel
Here we have gathered a list of healthy foods and ideas to help you pack a teeth friendly, healthy lunch, so you and your family can continue to eat well once the new school year starts.
Plain yoghurt without added sugar is an excellent snack for kids. It’s packed with probiotics, high in calcium (which is great for teeth & bones) and keeps them feeling fuller for longer.
Cheese is a fantastic source to get calcium into your child’s diet. Not only is it high in calcium and phosphorous which helps strengthen teeth and bones, it also helps neutralise the pH in the mouth which is important in reducing your kids’ risk for tooth decay.
Make it fun to eat! Chop a block of cheese into cubes for fun, bite-sized snacks – the smaller size help your kids digest better too!
Fresh produce – Vegetables and Fruits
Crunchy, fibrous vegetables can act as a “natural toothbrush” and scrub away plaque from teeth. Some good veg snacks include pieces of carrot, celery or cucumber. Fruits such as apple and pear are very teeth friendly because of their high water content, which helps dilute the fruit’s natural sugars.
Not only do the high water content of veggies and fruits rehydrates our bodies, it also dilutes natural sugars and washes away food particles while we eat.
Make it fun to eat! The easiest way to liven up raw veggies is to include a healthy dip such as hummus, cream cheese or fresh salsa. If time permits, use cookie cutters to cut up fruits into fun shapes for your kids.
Nuts and seeds
Raw or roasted nuts (not the sugar/chocolate coated types!) are plant-based and great source of protein, calcium, vitamins and antioxidants. Nuts and seeds are also an excellent source of folic acid, which plays a major role in preserving gum tissues and preventing periodontal disease.
Water is great for rinsing away debris as well as keeping your child hydrated. Keeping hydrated is crucial for health and well-being. Encourage your children to drink the recommended amount of water daily. Depending on their age, they should be having 5-10 glasses of water each day.