Diet is one of the most important factors in encouraging a healthy mouth. Everything we consume on a daily basis goes through our mouths, and establishing a healthy diet is an essential part of preventing oral infection and disease. Dentally, a healthy diet primarily means low sugar and minimising acidic foods. This will help to reduce the amount of acid wear (erosion) and decay (cavities).
Some of the most difficult patients to get on board with a tooth-friendly diet can be the kids! It can be difficult to find easy but delicious food ideas that young and discerning tastebuds will enjoy.
In particular, the food taken to school can have a big impact on the teeth as it sits on the teeth until the teeth are cleaned at night. So with the new school term, we thought we would share our favourite snacks plus some tips and tricks for lunch-box foods that can be enjoyed at school with the added bonus of being able to be prepared quickly!
- There are many delicious alternatives to sugar-laden Nutella and jam, which should be limited to times when the teeth can be brushed soon afterwards.
- Simple fillings such as peanut butter or vegemite can be a favourite. However, there are endless combinations—ham and cheese, chicken/egg and salad, tuna and mayo, leftover roast meat or sausages.
- A fun and just as easy change can be substituting bread for wraps or pita bread.
- Leftover dinners such as soup can also add some variety to the lunchbox.
- Full of vitamins, and natural sugars which are preferable over refined sugars in lollies and chocolate.
- Because every kid knows cut up fruit tastes better, try making mixed fruit kebabs or a fruit salad instead of a sole piece of fruit – but a whole piece is just fine particularly if your child has an aversion to the brown tinge cut up fruit can develop.
- Avoid a high quantity and frequency of fruit juices and flavoured milk, both of which contain a lot of refined sugar.
- Plain water and plain milk are excellent choices.
- Limiting canteen/tuckshop snacks as a special treat rather than a daily occurrence.
- Roll-ups, sticky fruit bars, sugary snack-bars, chocolates, lollies, some muesli bars, and dried fruit can have a high amount of sugar and should also ideally be saved for special treats at home.
- A small handful of nuts (if allowed at school—please check allergy rules) such as almonds or crackers can add a bit of crunch to the meal.
- Veggie sticks with hummus or your favourite dip.
- Try mixing curry powder or store-bought mustard into natural yoghurt for an easy, low fuss ‘DIY’ dip.
- Hard-boiled eggs, cheese sticks, cherry tomatoes, quiches are also great options.
- Here are links to a quiche and quiche slice that can be made for the week in advance and go great in the lunchbox:
Zucchini and Ham Rainbow Slice
Chicken and Cheese Mini Quiches