Healthy Snacking for Kids
Everyone knows that good nutrition is important for a child’s healthy growth and development. Healthy eating is also essential for their dental health! A balanced diet can help your child build strong, healthy teeth, and unhealthy eating habits lead to a higher risk of tooth decay for children.
You may understand how important nutritious meals are, but one thing some parents struggle with is snack time.
Many parents are at somewhat of a loss when it comes to their childrens’ snacks. The following are some of our best tips on making sure your child’s snack is good for their health and teeth:
With So Many Choices on the Shelves, Just Stick to Basics
Whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and meats are a good choice, as is and cheese.
Avoid starchy, sticky or sugary foods during snack time, including dried fruit, crackers, chips or cookies. These are high in unnecessary calories and they cling to teeth for a long time, making them prone to cavities. These foods should be occasional, and it’s better o be included during regular meal times.
This is because at mealtime, there is an increased amount of saliva in the mouth that helps wash away those starches and sugary treats, which counteract acid-producing bacteria and help to remineralize teeth.
Avoid Unnecessary Added Sugars
Most foods have some type of sugar in them. Naturally occurring sugars such as those found in milk and vegetables are less of a concern, since these choices are healthy overall. What you want to avoid when choosing snacks for your kids are added sugars.
According to the American Dental Association, sugar should be amount to less than 10 percent of total energy intake, and less than five percent is ideal. To illustrate this, consider that just one can of soda amounts to three times the daily recommended sugar intake for a child.
That leads us to beverage advice: we advise parents to avoid serving soda and juice, and instead provide milk and water. Milk is a good source of calcium and aids in building strong teeth and bones, and water helps wash away food particles that may be clinging to teeth.
Avoid Prolonged Sipping
Whether your child is drinking milk, juice or soda, don’t let them sip it throughout the day. Constant consumption of either food or drink is harmful for teeth, because they continue to feed cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth.
Limit your child’s snacks to just once or twice a day and have your child drink water when they are thirsty throughout the day. Limit sugar-containing beverages to mealtimes, or have them drink it in just one sitting. If they drink anything that contains sugar, have them drink it during mealtimes or all in one sitting.
Your Family’s Health Is Our Priority
If you have any healthy snack ideas that your kids love, share them in the comments below! Proper nutrition, especially at snack time, will ensure healthy smiles for you and your children for many years to come.