Getting kids to eat fruit, veggies and yogurt instead of candy, chips and ice cream might feel like pulling teeth. However, it’s worth the extra effort to educate and condition them to eat “smart” snacks that keep their teeth – and entire body – healthy.
Whether you’re transitioning older kids to a healthier, balanced diet or just getting started with a little one, here are some tips for creating lifelong, healthy snacking habits:
• Lead by example – Kids often mimic what you do, so it’s important that you eat smart snacks, too. And be sure to practice good oral hygiene in front of your kids. If you brush and floss after meals and snacks, your kids will too.
• Provide “creative” snacks — Show your kids that healthy snacks can be nutritious, good for your teeth AND fun. Prepare tasty combinations, such as apple slices with peanut butter, meat and cheese rollups, or yogurt sprinkled with granola and bananas.
• Involve your kids – When you make a grocery list, ask your kids to brainstorm about what kinds of food they’d like to eat. This is a good opportunity to guide them regarding what’s good or bad for their teeth. Then go grocery shopping together and teach your kids how to read the Nutrition Facts label so that they can check the sugar content.
• Prepare nutritious meals – Snacking smart is a great start, and good for the teeth, but so is eating well-balanced breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Make sure to add fruits and vegetables to every meal so that your kids incorporate them into their long-term eating lifestyle.
As your family dentist, we can help you come up with even more ideas for healthy snacks. Come in for a visit and we’ll happily work on a plan together.