In our continued crusade for National Children’s Dental Health Month, we want to cover one of the most important aspects of it all! Eating! More specifically, what kids are eating.
It begins early. Healthy eating habits are crucial for a long life of great oral health! So how do we, as parents, help our kids make healthy choices… Even when we don’t want to make healthy choices!
Nutrition Dos & Don’ts!
Did you know that what your kids eat, and when they eat, affects not only their oral health, but their overall health too? It’s a no-brainer that eating healthy is good for our bodies, but eating healthy has oral benefits as well.
Here are a few things we suggest make it into your kids meals each day:
- Fruits and Vegetables – Combined, these should ideally be half of what they eat every day.
- Grains – Whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, and brown rice.
- Dairy – Keep it low or fat-free.
- Lean Proteins – Meats should be lean beef, skinless poultry and fish. You can also vary your protein choice with eggs, legumes, peas, and a variety of beans.
Snacking is a big deal to kids and is essential for optimal growth, but that doesn’t mean that that cupcake or twinkie will make them big and tall! We know this, but they don’t… introducing healthy snack options early on can help cut down on the “snacking struggle” that most parents have discussed with us.
We suggest staying away from offering soda, juices, and other sweetened beverages during the day, water is a great alternative and won’t cause tooth decay either!
Offer fruit, cheese, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, and raw vegetables as “treat” alternatives. Keep in mind that though kids may not like these options right away, it’s been said, you can train yourself to like foods that we are certain we don’t care for!
If at first they don’t like it, keep trying!
The Key Is…
Keeping your children’s oral health in mind! The occasional treat is not going to ruin their teeth for all time and eternity, but a poor diet that is learned at a young age, definitely has the potential to have long-term dental effects.
Remember, a healthy mouth is a happy mouth!