Healthy Summer Snacks for Kids (Approved by Our Pediatric Dentist!)
School’s out for the summer!
Now, the question is:
What snacks do you give your kid?
Most snacks are full of sugar, and we all know that’s not good for cavities (or nap time!).
Luckily for you:
Our pediatric dentist and team put together this list of healthy summer snacks for kids.
These snacks are also beneficial to your kid’s oral health!
Naturally sweet treats
Keep a supply of fresh fruit handy for summer snacking.
Crispy fruits like apples and Bosc pears actually provide a little scrubbing action for the teeth with their vitamins.
Softer fruits such as bananas, berries, and watermelon provide natural sweetness along with vitamins and minerals.
Yogurt has valuable calcium for strong teeth and the vitamin D our bodies need to use that calcium.
Add some fresh fruit to Greek yogurt for added flavor and sweetness – and even more vitamins.
Cheese is a calcium-rich snack.
Crunchy carrots and celery help scrub teeth while providing vitamins and minerals. Do a little mixing and matching by adding some cream cheese to that celery for extra flavor.
Serve up hummus and pita chips or cheese with whole-grain crackers. They’re great nutritious alternatives to chips and dip.
Ice cream and popsicles are a favorite summer treat, but they’ve got quite a sugar punch.
Many homemade frozen yogurt recipes are available online, combining frozen fruit, yogurt, and honey for your own summer celebration without adding large amounts of sugar.
Or choose to stock your freezer shelves with store-bought or homemade low-sugar fruit pops.
Soda and sports drinks are often the go-to hydration choices in the summer. You might already be careful about handing these drinks out because they can have such a high sugar content, but they can also create a very acidic environment in the mouth, which is harmful to tooth enamel.
Water is the safest, healthiest option for hydrating in hot weather and can even provide some of the fluoride, which helps keep enamel strong and fight cavities.
Summer’s the perfect time to use your culinary creativity and expand your child’s palate with vitamin-rich smoothies.
Here are three dentist-approved ingredients to add smoothies:
Yogurt is a great source of protein, which makes it an excellent ingredient for adding more substance to your smoothie.
It’s also high in calcium and casein and contains a high amount of healthy bacteria. The healthy bacteria in yogurt help eliminate bad bacteria that stick to teeth and lead to cavities.
When shopping for yogurt, we suggest buying nonfat Greek yogurt, which is typically the most nutritious and has the least amount of sugar.
2. Leafy greens
Leafy greens like kale and spinach are high in fiber and low in calories, which makes them awesome vegetables for teeth!
The fiber content in leafy greens helps by scrubbing away food debris and plaque while you eat them.
But did you know that kale also contains calcium and B vitamins?
Calcium strengthens teeth, and B vitamins help treat and prevent gingivitis (AKA gum disease).
Try adding some shredded kale or spinach to your smoothie for a nutritional super boost.
Watermelon is high in vitamin C, which greatly benefits your teeth and gums by preventing cell damage that can lead to gum degeneration.
In fact, a lack of vitamin C in your diet can promote bleeding gums and make it more difficult for your gums to heal.
By adding watermelon to your smoothie, you can get a healthy boost of vitamin C and help keep your gums healthy.
You can also get vitamin C from citrus fruits like orange and grapefruit. However, these fruits are usually very acidic and need to be added in smaller portions.
Tip: Avoid Sugar
Sugar feeds the harmful bacteria on your teeth and creates acid that erodes enamel. This causes plaque and, ultimately, cavities, which is why you should limit the amount of sugar in your smoothies.
Sweeten your smoothies naturally with honey, agave, or xylitol sweetener, which helps fight cavities.
There are many easy recipes online for creating homemade smoothies that will please any picky palate.
Have a great summer!
Whatever is on your child’s summer menu, just remember to keep up with all those great dental habits you’ve already established, like:
- Brushing twice a day for 2 minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing at least once per day
- Brushing or rinsing with water after snacking
- Visiting your pediatric dentist for a routine exam and cleaning at least once every six months
Speaking of the last one:
Is your kid’s next dental appointment scheduled?
Dental schedules fill up quickly during school breaks!
Looking for a children’s dentist in Terre Haute, IN?
Contact Dentistry Just for Kids!
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Dentistry Just for Kids is located in Terre Haute, IN and serves patients from across the Wabash Valley, including Terre Haute, Clinton, Rockville, Covington, Brazil, Greencastle, Sullivan, Linton, Shakamak, Vincennes, Marshall, Paris, Robinson, Olney, Effingham, Charleston, Casey, Mattoon, Greenup, Flora, and Newton.