As the mother of a picky 8 year old boy who loves to take his lunch to school each day, it’s my job to make sure I provide him with healthy lunch options. One of his favorite foods is Chef Boyardee. Unfortunately this is a highly acidic food, and foods high in acid (i.e. fruits and their juices) can harm your tooth’s enamel if you don’t reduce the effects quickly. Enamel, the protective layer that fights against decay, cannot be replaced.
Research has found that some of the best food choices for your kid’s teeth are filled with calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and offer a healthy crunch. Low-fat or fat-free dairy products are filled with calcium and are healthy. Eating a hard cheese will neutralize acids in food that can harm enamel. Cheese is also full of protein, which gives you energy and keeps you full longer.
Most fish and egg yolks offer an excellent Vitamin D source, and help absorb calcium for healthy teeth. Fruits and vegetables with a healthy crunch (i.e. carrots, apples, pears, celery) increase saliva production, which helps remove plaque-causing bacteria from the teeth. They also increase saliva production which will help neutralize bacteria in the mouth.
If you eat apples slowly, you will expose your teeth to damaging acid. To avoid acid build up always brush after you eat, drink a glass of water, or rinse immediately after eating.
Want more specific ideas for a good school lunch to help maintain your kid’s oral health? Then try some of these:
- Fresh/canned/frozen fruits (no added sugars), vegetable/bean salad, celery, and carrots with low-fat ranch dressing/yogurt or low fat sour cream
- Tuna on a whole wheat tortilla wrap, low or no salt pretzels (pretzel kabobs made with lean cold cuts and cheese) or whole wheat crackers and cheese
- Peanut butter & jelly on mini waffles or rice cakes, instead of bread for a healthier snack/meal and water
- Low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, or a yogurt smoothie
- Zucchini muffins or banana bread with a side of fruit and vegetables
- Trail mix with whole grain yogurt-covered cereal, nuts, pretzels, dried fruit or raisins, and a few chocolate morsels (full of vitamins, calcium, and fiber)
For more information and ideas go to http://www.choosemyplate.gov/
Written by: Jamacia Magee, FizzNiche Staff Writer