How to choose tooth-friendly lunches for your child’s back to school. Everyone knows parents wouldn’t send children to school with a lunchbox full of candy but, given how much sugar is in popular lunch and snack-time classics, they might as well be. That’s why Delta Dental of Michigan encourages parents to think twice about the sugar content of foods their kids are eating.
Consider a lunch with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a box of raisins, small container of applesauce and a single-serving carton of chocolate milk for tooth-friendly lunches. While it sounds healthy and balanced, the sugar count is a whopping 98 grams. An average candy bar contains about 25 grams of sugar.
By making small changes, it’s easy to prepare tooth-friendly lunches or snacks that are better for kids’ teeth and overall health. Switch from original to natural styles of peanut butter, jelly and applesauce. Replace white bread with whole wheat and skip the raisins – in addition to high sugar content, their stickiness holds sugars against teeth for prolonged periods. Instead, include fresh fruit or vegetables like mini carrots. Even replacing chocolate milk with low fat white milk helps bring this lunch’s new sugar total down to a more tooth-tolerable 31 grams.
“Check the nutrition labels on the foods you buy to make sure you know what your kids are eating,” said Dr. Jed Jacobson, chief science officer and senior vice president of Delta Dental of Michigan. “A healthy and nutritious diet paired with good oral hygiene at home and visits to the dentist can go a long way toward protecting against tooth decay.”
For after-school snacks, try string cheese with celery or carrots. Crunchy veggies act like a toothbrush by massaging gums and cleaning between teeth, and string cheese has no sugar. When parents opt for a special treat, a fruit roll-up style snack has half the sugar of fruit snacks in a pouch and vanilla wafer cookies have less than half the sugar of chocolate, crème-filled cookies. In addition to making healthy food choices, parents can help kids control hunger and sugar cravings throughout the day by feeding them a healthy breakfast in the morning.
See related posts below for more Back to School articles.
For more info on tooth-friendly lunches for back to school, visit Delta Dental of Michigan.