Are you having school lunch anxiety? Does the thought of trying to send your child to school with lunches that are both healthy and fun cause you stress? If that’s you, don’t worry! You’re not alone!
There are two extremes you want to avoid when it comes to packing your child’s lunch. The first is simply buying a bunch of prepackaged food and throwing it in a lunch box. This isn’t a great option because many of these kinds of foods (like bags of chips, sodas, and juices, or packages of cookies) are loaded with sugar and sodium and are rarely dense in nutrients. Although store-bought snacks may seem to be a convenient option, in the long run, they are not a great choice for your child’s overall health. Plus, since your child can’t brush their teeth while they’re at school, their oral health will suffer from sugar overload.
On the other extreme, you’ve probably seen pictures on social media of parents going to extreme lengths to pack their children’s lunches. These snapshot-worthy lunches with every morsel in perfect placement look great on Instagram and Pinterest. But let’s be honest, you’re far too busy for this approach to be realistic.
So, what’s a parent to do? How can you pack your child a lunch that’s convenient but that also helps strengthen their teeth and gums? The outstanding team at Toothfairy Pediatric Dental has compiled a list of healthy school lunch ideas. Not only will your kids love them, but their teeth will love them too. Consider adding these items to your child’s lunch box this week:
Yogurt isn’t just for breakfast! It makes for a sweet ending to a lunch, which helps it rank high on the list of healthy school lunch ideas. Not only is it packed with calcium, which is key for strong teeth, but it also is full of probiotics which are helpful for a healthy digestive system. Consider finding a yogurt that has a reduced amount of sugar to make it an even more solid choice for your child’s teeth.
When choosing a yogurt, children often ask for a brand with a mix-in. Although some of these can be healthy school lunch ideas, many are not. Eschew yogurts with candy or sugary mix-ins. Instead, opt for providing your child some granola or almond slices so they can mix some crunch into their yogurt while still keeping their lunch healthy. They’ll love the taste, and they’ll never miss the tooth-rotting candy.
Vegetables and Hummus
Hummus, a dip made of ground chickpeas, has become quite popular over the past few years. There’s a good reason for that. The versatile dip is not only tasty but extremely healthy. In addition to being packed with protein, it also contains a good amount of fiber and healthy fats. Hummus is a winner in your child’s lunchbox and is a prime healthy school lunch idea.
How can you make something as tasty as hummus even better? Serve it with a side of your child’s favorite crunchy vegetable. Baby carrots, celery sticks, and bell pepper strips are all solid options. Some children even enjoy broccoli crowns and hummus together. Whatever they choose, the power-packed combo of hummus and vegetables is one that your kids will adore, and their dentist will as well!
Cheese Cubes and Slices
Want to find a healthy school lunch idea that will become your child’s new favorite? Mix in some cheese with their lunch box this week. By packing cheese in your child’s meal, you’ll ensure they’ll have added calcium to aid in building strong teeth.
What are the best ways to incorporate cheese into lunchtime? The simplest way is to add a slice or two of cheese to a sandwich. Mozzarella cheese sticks are always a fun choice, and kids love to pull them apart and eat them. Also, cheese cubes are a great option. If you’re looking to save money and time, buy a block of cheddar cheese and cube it up. Then, place the cubes in several individual zip-top bags. With just a couple minutes of simple prep, you’re set with cheese for the week!
Low-fat Milk or Water
Making sure your child is hydrated at lunch time is important. Of course, they’re hoping you’re going to pack a juice box or a can of soda in their lunch box. However, this is not a healthy school lunch idea. Even “all natural” juices and diet sodas are not good choices if you’re looking to maintain your child’s good oral health.
The best choices for drinks at the lunch table? Milk (1% or 2% is best) is an excellent source of calcium, as well as vitamin D. As tempting as it may be, avoid flavored milk like chocolate or strawberry. Although they are often more popular, they’re loaded with sugar that is harmful to the teeth. Also, consider packing a bottle of water as your child’s drink for lunch. Not only will it help keep your child hydrated, but it will help rinse their mouth of debris that may stick in their teeth at the end of lunch. In the end, there can’t be any more healthy school lunch idea than water!
Let Toothfairy Pediatric Dental Help Maintain Your Child’s Smile
Toothfairy Pediatric Dental was recently chosen as the best dentist in the Reno area for the past year. There’s a good reason for that! Our team wants to partner with your family to ensure your child has a healthy, beautiful smile. We offer an array of services in our Reno area offices, including regular exams and cleanings, children’s orthodontics, and composite fillings.
So whether you’re looking for healthy school lunch ideas that will strengthen your child’s teeth or you require help teaching your child proper brushing and flossing techniques, Toothfairy Pediatric Dental will give you the tools you need. Contact us today to schedule your child’s next appointment!