3 Low-Sugar Snack Alternatives for Kids
Sugary Snacks Affect Oral & Overall Health…& Grades
Are you packing the right type of snacks in your children’s lunchbox? How about that afternoon snack after they get home from school?
If kids don’t know any better they could find themselves reaching for sugary snacks instead of healthier options.
Maybe your child has a serious sweet tooth – what kid doesn’t?
But it’s important to remember that the items you choose for them to chew on throughout the day can start to have a negative affect on their smiles – and their overall health.
Did you know that there are foods that actually promote good oral health?
According to the American Academy of General Dentistry, more that 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental-related illnesses, that is one reason why back to school dental appointments are so important.
More than 30% of parents report their children between the ages 6 & 12 missed school due to an oral health problem.
So, if you care about your kids getting an A+ in dental health this year, be sure you are providing healthy snacks that can actually help to prevent dental problems, instead of ones that could sabotage the smiles of the ones who matter to you most.
Skip the Sugar & Stock Up On These Smile-Saving Snacks
Sugar contributes to tartar buildup on teeth, this opens the door to the cavity creeps, which in turn costs parents more money to treat that preventing the tooth decay in the first place.
And since the mouth is the gateway to the body, it’s of the utmost importance to remain diligent with the snack menu items you serve up to your children.
One of the most important ways to protect your child’s smile is to offer healthy alternatives which are low in sugar & high in vitamins and nutrients their growing smiles need.
Some of the biggest, most obvious smile-wrecking snack choice offenders include sweets, like cookies, cakes, brownies and candies.
Parents also have to be on the lookout for the sneaky sugars, like those so prevalent in many prepackaged foods, like chips, crackers, granola bars, fruit snacks, and even dried fruit.
Many of these seemingly healthy snacks are shockingly high in sugar.
The best way to avoid serving up sugary snack to your kids is to read the nutritional labels of the foods before you buy them.
Beware of any item which lists sugar as the primary ingredient….and sugar’s nasty sneaky offspring, added sugary sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup.
Here is a handy reminder about sugar chemistry, courtesy of GoodHousekeeping.com:
The Four Sugars
Glucose is the sugar in blood, and dextrose is the name given to glucose produced from corn. Biochemically they are identical.
Fructose is the principal sugar in fruit. In fruit, it raises no issues because it is accompanied by nutrients and fiber.
Sucrose is table sugar. It is a double sugar, containing one part each of glucose (50%) and fructose (50%), chemically bound together. Enzymes in the intestine quickly and efficiently split sucrose into glucose and fructose, which are absorbed into the body as single sugars.
HFCS is made from corn starch. It contains roughly equivalent amounts of glucose (45 to 58%) and fructose (42 to 55%).
3 Healthy Snack Alternatives That Are Low In Sugar
Parents should consider replacing the sugary snacks with these smile-friendly, healthy snack ideas:
- Vegetables are great snack options, they are high in vitamins and minerals growing bodies need, and are also chock full of mother nature’s most important ingredient – water.
- Carrot and celery sticks are great choices for both lunchboxes and after-school snacks. They’re high in fiber, and chewing on these cruciferous veggies actually helps to gently clean teeth while kids munch.
- Fresh fruit is a great snack time option for kids with a serious sweet tooth – they have natural sugar. Just be sure to avoid serving up too much of highly acidic fruits like lemons, which can actually lead to acidic erosion of children’s teeth.
- Apples are a particularly great choice, since they too are high in fiber!
- Dairy products (in particular ones without lots of added sugar), are another healthy snack choice for kids. We all know milk does a body good, but dairy products also promote healthy smiles too. It’s the calcium that keeps your children’s teeth – and their bones – strong!
As we mentioned earlier, it’s a lot easier (and costs less) to prevent children’s tooth decay in the first place that it is to treat it.
So don’t forget to keep those regular dental checkups and teeth cleanings!
A healthy diet and sensible snack choices can help protect your children’s smile, but they still need to see your dentist on the regular for normal preventative care.
Friendly Wayne NJ Dentistry for Kids: Frank V. Maldonado, D.D.S.
Dr. Frank Maldonado provides all phases general & family dentistry with expertise treating patients from 1 to 100+! We promise to provide your children with the highest level of comfort and care possible.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on the dental health blog of Dr.
Joseph Haddad and has been republished here with permission. It has since been updated for accuracy & comprehensiveness.
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