Tooth Friendly Back To School Packed Lunch Ideas

Start the new school year by encouraging a healthier diet for your children.

Around this time of year, many parents will be breathing a sigh of relief as they return to their normal routine as their children head back to school for the start of the new academic year.

Whether the children feel the same way is, of course, another matter, but this ‘new start’ can be a good opportunity to make a few changes elsewhere.

One area always worth monitoring, is what your children are eating. There is little doubt that they will probably find ways and means of adding high sugar items to their diet, but, as parents, we can ensure that they at least get the basis of good nutrition, whilst also avoiding common children’s dental problems such as tooth decay.

At Wickford Cygnet Dental Practice, we have put some suggestions together for our local patients to help their children have a healthy and tooth friendly packed lunch.

Just sandwiches?

Sandwiches are a great main item for children. These can be in the form of sliced breads, but you may find that your child prefers wraps. In both cases, these can be filled with a variety of healthy and tooth friendly foods. Salads are excellent but also proteins such as meat, fish or beans are important for growing children. Dairy products also provide an excellent source of calcium for teeth and bones, and cheese has the added bonus of helping to restore the mouth’s normal acid levels, helping to keep teeth and gums healthy.

Another suggestion, as a change from sandwiches, is to buy a ‘bento’ box. The Japanese use these and they are compartmentalised boxes in which you can store different foods. These are ideal if your child is a ‘nibbler’ and each compartment can be filled with a healthy but fun food.

Snacks and puddings

It is a rare child who doesn’t enjoy the various snacks on offer. Crisps are fine in moderation but try to alternate these with healthier options such as dried fruits and nuts (providing there are no nut allergies of course). Vegetable crisps may also prove to be a popular option as a healthier alternative to crisps.

If your child has a sweet tooth, this can be more tricky. Whilst some children will accept dried or natural fruits as an alternative, most children prefer chocolate. Try to minimise the amount of chocolate in the lunch box, using it as a ‘treat’ rather than a significant component of a meal.

Drinks

Bearing in mind that it is likely that the last thing that a child will consume at lunch time will be their drink, it is strongly advised that this is not a high sugar drink, and especially a fizzy one as these are now believed to cause additional enamel damage. These drinks will remain on your child’s teeth for the whole afternoon, gradually eroding the enamel of their teeth and increasing the likelihood of dental cavities. Always give them water or very dilute juice. This is the best option for children and although they may complain, if that is what is available, they will drink it.

Hopefully today’s blog has offered some useful ideas for parents and we would like to take the opportunity too, to remind them of the importance of regular children’s appointments at the Cygnet Dental Practice. Your child should see us at least every six months for a check up, as should the parents! To make your appointment, please call our Wickford dental practice on 01268 733078.