Your kid has just come home from a long, hard day at school.
They need a tasty, nutritious after-school snack to give them the energy they need to do their homework, play, engage in sports, and spend time with the family.
But not all snacks are created equal.
Your Whittier dentist has some recommendations for after-school snacks that will promote good oral and overall health.
There are two things you want to consider when choosing after-school snacks:
Some snacks may taste great, but they can be void of nutrients. When foods are highly processed, they’re stripped of most of their nutrients. If a child eats a mostly nutrient-dense diet, occasional pre-packaged, processed snacks aren’t a big deal. However, if these types of foods are the primary sources of nourishment, they can contribute to a lot of health issues that are caused bynutrient deficiencies, such as:
Similarly, foods high in simple sugars and low in nutrients can lead to dental decay, infections, dental emergencies, and poor gum health.
Another thing to consider when deciding which foods to give your child after school is whether the food will interrupt orthodontic care. If a child is in braces (traditional or ceramic), eating hard, crunchy foods can lead to loose or broken brackets.
What does your Whittier dentist recommend for after-school snacks? Don’t worry – you don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen preparing food or spend too much purchasing ingredients. The following snacks are quick, easy, and relatively affordable.
Muffins are great because you can make one batch and have snacks for days! Adding healthy ingredients – like fresh or frozen fruit, protein powder, and nuts and seeds – can add to the nutrient profile of your muffins.
And unlike dried fruits, the fresh fruits in muffins aren’t sticky, so they won’t get stuck in the grooves of posterior teeth and contribute to dental decay.
Some of the best fruits for muffins are:
Homemade protein bars have the protein, carbs, and fats your kids need to feel alert and energized throughout the day. But unlike most pre-packaged protein bars, homemade versions are relatively low in simple sugars, sodium, and bad fats.
Other perks of protein bars include:
Many store-bought granolas are full of sugars, sodium, and artificial additives. Plus, you don’t get very much for your money.
Homemade granola is nutrient-dense and contains healthy fats, sugars, and very little sodium. It’s great for breakfast and snacks and will give your kids lots of energy for homework, sports, extracurricular activities, and playing with their friends.
Smoothies are great because they quickly deliver vitamins and minerals to the bloodstream. Your child will get a boost of energy and alertness quite quickly with a healthy smoothie.
Some store-bought smoothies are relatively healthy. Just be sure to check the ingredients and nutrition information label. Look for added sugars, high sodium levels, and artificial additives.
If you want to make smoothies at home, you’ll find plenty of healthy recipes on YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Fun tip: For a nice change of pace, make a smoothie bowl. You’ll make a smoothie like normal, but instead of putting it in a cup, you’ll put it in a bowl. Then, you can add tasty toppings like fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, chocolate savings, or whatever fits you/your child’s mood.
Toast doesn’t have to be boring! Millennials have made avocado toast popular, but there are other options, too. Some simple yet delicious toast ideasinclude:
It’s amazing what you can do with a garbanzo bean! These healthy legumes are high in fiber and contain calcium and magnesium (for strong bones). They also contain choline (for improved mood, memory, and muscle control).
You can find plenty of hummus options in your local grocery store. Just be sure to watch for those with high amounts of sugar and sodium.
You can save money by making homemade hummus, which is quick and easy. Simply add the garbanzo beans and your favorite ingredients to a blender or food processor.
Oral hygiene is essential for your child’s health.
In a perfect world, we would all brush and floss after every meal and snack. That isn’t possible for most people, though. Instead, your kids can keep their teeth and gums happy and healthy by:
Taking care of your oral health can improve your overall health. Over the past few decades, researchers have found that gum disease contributes to several severe conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes complications, and more.
Dental infections caused by dental decay can also impact your overall health by lowering your immune response.
Thankfully, daily brushing and flossing – as well as regular visits to your Whittier dentist – can keep your dentition healthy and strong.
Would you like more dental care tips? We have great recommendations for each member of your family! Contact us today to learn more.
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