March 6, 2015Children’s healthy snack ideas

children smiling

You have an important role in developing your child’s knowledge in, and attitudes to, healthy eating and oral health.

Make sure you give your child a variety of foods. A varied, tasty and enjoyable diet in a child’s first years will help your baby and toddler grow and develop their maximum potential, but also help them develop lifelong healthy eating habits.

Replacing sugary snacks for healthier alternatives; Here are some of our suggestions for taking care of children’s teeth:

Snacks

  • Rice pudding or porridge (with no added sugar or salt)
  • Canned fruit in fruit juice
  • Fresh fruit
  • Yoghurt (unsweetened)
  • Toast, pitta or chapatti fingers
  • Unsalted rice cakes
  • Bagels
  • Small cubes of cheese

Getting your child to eat fruit and vegetables

Try these to increase your intake of fruit and vegetables:

  • Put your favourite vegetables or canned pineapple on top of pizza
  • Have carrot sticks, slices of pepper and peeled apple for snacks
  • Mix chopped or mashed vegetables with rice, mashed potatoes or meat sauces
  • Mix fruit (fresh, canned or stewed) with yoghurt or fromage frais for a tasty dessert
  • Chop prunes or dried apricots into cereal or yoghurt, or add them to a stew

Q&A’s

Can I let my child have sweets?

Most children want sweets, but you can help prevent problems by making sure they don’t have a large amount or very often, and particularly not before bed, when saliva flow reduces.

What are the best snacks to give my child?

The best snacks are fruit and raw vegetables. Try tangerines, bananas, pieces of cucumber or carrot sticks. Other good snacks include toast, rice cakes and plain popcorn.  Dried fruit is a concentrated source of sugar and tends to stick to teeth, so only give it occasionally as a snack to children.

Should I let my child have fizzy drinks?

Fizzy drinks can contain large amounts of sugar, which will increase the risk of tooth decay. All fizzy drinks (both those containing sugar and sugar-free or “diet” versions) also contain acids that can erode the outer surface of the tooth.

What are the best drinks for my child’s teeth?
The best drinks for children over one year old are plain still water or plain milk.

Your child should have full-fat milk (whole milk) from the age of 12 months to two years. Semi-skimmed milk can be introduced from the age of two, as long as your child is a good eater and growing well for their age. Skimmed milk can be given to children aged five and over.

Is it OK to drink fruit juice?

Even unsweetened juices contain sugars and acids, so although it can contribute towards your 5 A DAY, try to drink no more than one glass (about 150ml) of fruit juice each day and only at mealtimes.

If your child is thirsty, it’s better to give them water than to encourage a taste for sweet drinks.

Try to avoid giving babies fruit-flavoured “baby juices”, and never give them in feeding bottles.

How to prevent tooth decay?
Sugar causes tooth decay. Children who eat sweets every day have nearly twice as much decay as children who eat sweets less often.

This article has been compiled by Cherrytree Dental Practice as a source of patient information only.   

You can find lots of other useful information on the following websites:

http://www.child-smile.org.uk/parents-and-carers/index.aspx
http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/dentalhealth/Pages/Goodhabitskids.aspx

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