18 Nov Great Children’s Lunchbox Ideas For Healthy Teeth
Healthy foods for your kids dental care!
Here at our family friendly Egham dentist, we take great pride in welcoming all members of the family, ensuring everyone, no matter what their age, gets fantastic oral care and leaves our practice smiling.
When children are growing, their teeth are at a particularly sensitive time and oral health is really important. For this reason, it’s so important parents do as much as possible to ensure their child has a healthy attitude to their oral health routine. Part of this comes from brushing, but a large part of it also comes from a healthy attitude to food and drink. There are so many adverts around promoting unhealthy food, it can be a real nightmare to get children to want anything other than sugary foods sometimes.
One great way to help with that is to ensure the food we give them to take to school is tasty and healthy. Cooked school meals are getting healthier, but packed lunches aren’t under the same guidelines so they can be more difficult to monitor. It is tricky but it can be done (with perseverance and creativity!)
The main attitude you should have is to make a bright looking lunch box with a wide range of different foods for your child to try, so they never get bored.
Here are some great suggestions:
Children who are growing will need lots of energy rich foods. Slow release carbs are ideal choices and can be combined with proteins or veggies to make delicious combinations.
● Bread – opt for multi-grain or granary and try different types like pittas, wraps, rye and sourdough
● Savoury muffins – a savoury muffin like a cheese and broccoli muffin can be a great way to get nutrients like calcium and vitamin C into your child
● Crackers/ crisp breads – children love different textures, so these will go down a treat. Just be sure to opt for rye crackers or oatcakes over starchy cheese crackers which are bad for the teeth
You can either make up a sandwich, wrap, or crispbread stacks for your child, or you could add fillings separately for them to make up their own. Some good filling options include:
● Meat – you can get both real meat and vegetarian substitutes in slices for your child to enjoy ‘stacking’, as well as sausages and leftover pieces – they go well with crunchy lettuce, cheese, hummus, pesto
● Fish – fish like tuna or sardines are a good choice and go well with salad
● Legumes – legumes are a great option for high protein lunches – mashed chickpeas with lemon juice, bean salad and ‘chickpea tuna’ are all great options
● Spreads – excellent additions to the sandwich for flavour – pesto, hummus, homemade mayo free coleslaw and pate are all great choices
● Egg/ tofu – both egg and scrambled tofu or grilled tofu slices provide excellent protein sources for your child and taste great in sandwiches
● Cheese – dairy cheese offers a great source of calcium for growing teeth. Dairy substitutes are just as tasty, but many don’t contain much calcium so be sure to read the label (calcium sources can be obtained elsewhere)
Mini salads and salad items are a great way to add colour to your child’s lunchbox. You could also add full salads as the ‘main meal’ if you wanted to, or just add it straight to their sandwich. Here are some ideas:
● Crunchy vegetable sticks – kids love the different texture of vegetable sticks and can dip them in pots of hummus, add them to their sandwich, or just eat them as they are. Sticks of broccoli (loaded with calcium), peppers, cucumber and carrot are all great choices and naturally help break down plaque on the teeth.
● Pasta salad – pasta salads are extremely filling and very tasty, plus there are lots of variations to play with! Try pasta, kale, sweetcorn and a cheesy nutritional yeast (fortified with B12) for a yummy dairy free option loaded with vitamins, or go for cheese and ham with lettuce for lots of calcium and protein. Tuna, sweetcorn and pasta and cold roasted vegetable pasta are also great options for kids.
● Spiralized salad – kids love pretty and interesting looking things, so why not try giving them some courgetti? They love spaghetti, so this should peak their interest.
● Pink coleslaw – if there’s one way to entice a child to eat food, it’s to make it really bright and colourful! Make pink coleslaw using shredded red cabbage, white onion, carrot and mixing with lemon juice and a few herbs – leave overnight for an even brighter ‘pink’ colour.
Five A Day
There are lots of little additions you can add to your child’s lunchbox to help them reach their five a day which will benefit their overall health,including their teeth. Here are a few suggestions:
● Cheese sticks – rather than give your child processed products which can contain a lot of fat, why not give them some cheese sticks? Simply take their favourite high calcium cheese, cut it into sticks and wrap it up.
● Dried fruit – raisins, sultanas, dried apricots and dates are a great source of vitamins and minerals as long as they aren’t give in high amounts (they are high in sugar).
● Nuts and Seeds – these are an excellent source of protein, and they have lots of tooth friendly nutrients within them like phosphorus.
● Whole fruits – it is now widely known that fruit juices can contain more sugar than a can of full fat coke. However, whole fruits aren’t processed in the same way by our bodies, and children especially should be encouraged to eat them. Include one piece of whole fruit for your child and try and vary the different fruits so they get used to trying different things.
● Yogurt – opt for a dairy version for guaranteed calcium (check the label for low sugar amounts) or a dairy free version which will likely be fortified with calcium (check the label). The best option is to buy a plain version and then add chopped fruit for sweetness.
Don’t forget to add little bites for your child, especially if they are very energetic and get hungry a lot. These could be hard boiled eggs, homemade energy balls, homemade flavoured popcorn bags, or vegetable crisps.
Unfortunately, there really aren’t many drinks that are good for the teeth or overall health of the child, apart from water. Where possible, encourage your child to drink water, or include sugar free squash or milk (nut, soya, cow, goat). The more natural the drink, the better.
Talk To Crown House Dental – Your Local Egham Dentist
At our welcoming TW20 dentist we are more than happy to offer you advice on your child’s oral health routine, and of course we also provide excellent treatments and dental services as and when they are required. We focus on being a family practice, so please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01784432641 and we will be more than happy to book you an appointment.