After a long, hot summer, are you a bit excited to send the kids back to school? Better yet, are they actually stoked about their first day of the new school year? If so, you may have already completed much of the prep work involved in gearing up for another semester. However, are you still unsure how to send them to school with lunches that are both good for them, and that they will actually eat? Most parents struggle to get their kids to eat well-balanced diets. Fortunately, your general dentist can actually offer some guidance in this quest. There are plenty of healthy foods that are also kid-approved. Best yet, they can actually be good for both their bodies and their smiles!
Pack Their Lunch Boxes with Nutrient-Rich Fare
As most parents know, fruits and vegetables should be a large part of your kids’ diet. Unfortunately, few kids are going to request fresh veggies in lieu of bags of potato chips, crackers and other pre-packaged goods. That is why it is best to start the school year on a healthy note, rather than trying to make the change later, when they have already developed unhealthy tastes.
That said, here are some easy swaps that your kids might just be pleasantly surprised by how much they enjoy them:
- Instead of chips or crackers as a side dish, pack sticks of carrot, fresh broccoli and cauliflower. These veggies go great with low-sugar ranch dips, cheese slices, or even protein-packed hummus. Celery sticks might seem bland and unexciting, but pack them with a side of peanut butter, and suddenly they’re a crunchy flavorful snack on par with the best pre-packaged goods.
- Most kids are actually fans of many fruits, but you can still make them even more excited to see this healthy item in their lunchboxes by including a variety from day to day, such as a mix of melon and berries, or apple slices and grapes. Fruit also pairs great with plain yogurt, which provides much-needed calcium, without all the added sugar in many flavored yogurt products. (Always read the labels and avoid items which list sugar as one of the main ingredients, as these can contribute to dental cavities, which would require restorative treatment.)
- Finally, be sure your kids are drinking more water than soda, juices and even sports drinks, which can all contain high amounts of sugar, which are particularly problematic for teeth!