As a parent, your goal is to keep your child healthy. For all children, good health starts with good oral health. Many of today’s most common adult diseases can be traced back to poor oral health. The plaque that causes heart disease is the very same plaque that is found in your teeth. Diabetes, stroke, and a slew of other life-threatening illnesses all have a connection to poor oral health.
But why is taking care of those baby teeth so important? Simply put baby teeth ensure your child’s adult teeth come in properly spaced and that he or she maintains a healthy bite and jaw alignment. Losing these teeth too early will inhibit his or her dental growth and development.
Before proper brushing and flossing come into play, what we eat plays the single largest role in how healthy your mouth is. By providing your child with healthy snack options you’re not only giving them a solid foundation for good oral health but also teaching them habits they will carry into adulthood.
Here are five healthy snack options you can easily provide to your child throughout the day or send with them to school.
Ham and Cheese Kabobs
This simple snack takes minutes to make and can be prepared ahead of time, so your kids can grab it as an after school snack or you can quickly put it in a storage container to take in the car with you while running errands.
Banana Bites with Peanut Butter
If your child loves peanut butter and banana sandwiches, try cutting out the extra carbs from the bread and simply putting the peanut butter directly on the banana. This treat is great in the summertime if the banana is frozen, as it has the texture of frozen yogurt.
Chicken Kabobs with Ranch Sauce
This classic is easy to make ahead and is fun to eat because it’s on skewers. Be sure to remove the chicken from the skewers for younger kids. To make simply marinate chicken in your favorite BBQ sauce, skewer, and grill. Then grab some ranch dressing for the side and you’ll get a tasty, savory snack that’s full of protein. Try to pick a BBQ sauce that is as low in sugar as possible or make your own, as sauces are where manufacturers tend to secretly pack a lot of extra sugars.
Sweet Potato Fries
Easy to make and easy to store, you can make large batches of sweet potato fries and freeze for future use. Sweet potatoes are low on the glycemic index because they’re complex carbs. It’s still important to limit this treat, as it’s easy to go overboard. Portioning each serving individually is the best way to do so.
Hummus and Carrots
This tangy treat is a favorite of kids and offers protein from the hummus (ground chickpeas) and extra vitamins from the carrots. Hummus can be made from scratch or bought at your local grocer’s deli aisle. And no need to buy those tiny snack carrots. Buy a big bag of carrots and simply slice them up.
Homemade Trail Mix
Super easy to make ahead and send for lunch or take on road trips, homemade trail mix is likely to become a staple in your home. To make mix your favorite nuts (if you have a nut allergy try popcorn), along with some dried fruit and a bit of semi sweet chocolate morsels. Because you’re including the chocolate morsels don’t go overboard on the dried fruit, as that can drive the sugar content up.