Summer is finally here. Time for sunshine, long days, and….kiddos at home who tend to snack all the time! Now that your kids are out of school and hanging around the house, the snacks you have on hand will play a bigger role in keeping their teeth healthy. The healthier their snacks, the healthier their smiles.
With that thought in mind, Dr. Koo and his Seattle dental team have put together a list of suggestions for healthy snacks for summer. If you have any questions or if you need to make an appointment for dental care, call us at 206-922-4573 today.
Fresh, Fresh, Fresh
Fresh is the name of the game when it comes to healthy snacking. Instead of having sugary, non-nutritious snacks around, keep a variety of fresh fruits and veggies on hand for hungry kids.
If there’s a farmers’ market nearby, pick up some local produce for the freshest option. Cut up carrots, apples, and celery into a handy, easy-to-grab size so that kids can take them on the go. Bananas, oranges, and other citrus are also great to have available for a vitamin- and mineral-packed punch.
Once kids get used to these healthier sweets, their craving for candy bars, cookies, and other empty-calorie snacks will diminish. There’s nothing wrong with having these treats available on occasion, but they shouldn’t be a staple of healthy snacking.
Lean Protein Snacks
Growing, energetic kids need protein, too. Keep it lean and keep it easy to handle. Part of the allure of salty, fatty snacks is their convenience. It’s easy for kids to reach for a bag of chips if they want a savory snack.
Make sure to have healthier options around like cheese sticks, beef and turkey jerky (watch the sodium content on this), hard-boiled eggs, nuts, trail mix, and even peanut butter.
Keep individual-sized plastic bags of snacks available that the kids can grab when they want. Go to a discount retailer and buy stable snacks like nuts and jerky in bulk, then repackage them. Your kids will soon learn to head for these tasty, healthier options.
Although not as budget-friendly, protein bars are also a great way for kids to get the protein they need. Just be sure to read the labels closely. Various brands and flavors contain vastly different amounts of protein and – unfortunately – sugar.
Keep it Cool With These Treats
Instead of giving your kids ice cream, popsicles, or freeze-pops, you can make your own teeth-friendly frozen treats.
Make frozen yogurt pops by inserting popsicle sticks from a craft store into individual yogurt cups, then freeze them. Voila! You’ve got a cool, tasty treat your kids will love. Shhhh….They never have to know that it’s good for them.
Use the same approach to make frozen bananas. Just peel a banana, put a stick in the end of it, cover in plastic wrap, and freeze. For a little variety, sprinkle cinnamon or a favorite nutritious topping on the banana before freezing.
You can also make delicious popsicles that your kids will love. They’re easy and you’ll know exactly what’s in them. Try one of these nutritious recipes, or experiment with your own.
For even more fun, let your kids make their own frozen treats. Show them how, then let ‘em have at it! Taking ownership of the project will make them more likely to enjoy healthier snacking.
Take advantage of a prime opportunity to teach them responsibility by letting them help you clean up when they’re done.
Think water, water, water. Kids need a lot of water not just for hydration, but to help keep their teeth clean and healthy as well.
The bottom line is, if water is available, kids will drink it. Avoid buying soda and super-sweet drink mixes. Be firm and insist that water is their go-to drink. Kids may complain at first, but they will soon get used to asking for it.
Buy fun, colorful straws to encourage your kids to drink. Kids love ice, so add it generously to their water cups. You can even get some kid-friendly, festive ice trays for more fun.
Make sure your kids’ cups are where they can reach them. Keep your toddler’s sippy cup near the floor so they can easily grab it. Older kids’ water cups can stay on a table or low shelf.
Keeping water-rich fruit like watermelon, strawberries, peaches, and pineapple on hand will also help your kids stay hydrated. Slice fruit into small pieces and store in individual portions.
Your kids CAN enjoy healthy snacks this summer. It just requires a little planning and firmness on your part. If your kids (or you) need appointments for regular checkups, call us today at 206-922-4573. You can also use our online form for scheduling.