The start of this week marked the first week back at school for many children. Alongside ensuring school uniforms are neatly ironed and alarm clocks are set, comes the chore of making packed lunches.
Finding inspiration for yummy packed lunches can be challenging, especially when you’re trying to keep them healthy and low in sugar.
Here at Love-Teeth Dental Practice, we’re well-versed when it comes to foods that can be harmful to teeth, so for our latest blog post, we have put together some helpful inspiration for you to take away.
Why is Sugar Bad for Teeth?
It is a well-known fact that sugar is one of the main causes of tooth decay, but how does this occur? When sugar is broken down by the bacteria in your mouth, it produces an acid which dissolves a tooth’s surface – this is the first stage of tooth decay.
Are Fruit Sugars Bad For You?
Whilst fruit is an essential part of a healthy diet, fruits also contain a lot of natural sugars. Whilst natural sugars can still be harmful to your teeth, they are more healthy to the body overall and contain vitamins required for a balanced diet.
Being mindful about the type of fruits you are eating, and the portion sizes can be helpful. Certain fruits, such as apples, contain more fibre than others. Fibre stimulates the production of saliva in the mouth, which can help to neutralise the acids on your teeth and wash away excess food particles. Some fruits that contain the lowest amounts of sugar are blueberries, strawberries and raspberries.
Combatting the Effects of Sugar
The most effective way to lessen the effects of sugar on your teeth is to consume less sugar. On the other hand, considering sugar is in one of the major food groups – fruit – cutting it out entirely is not altogether beneficial. You can, however, cut down or cut out, some of the major culprits for a beneficial change, including sugary drinks, sweets.
Additionally, becoming wise to foods often described as having “hidden sugars” such as ketchup or certain cooking sauces can also be beneficial.
There are various things you can do in order to ensure the sugar you consume has a less damaging effect on your teeth. Brushing at least twice a day is beneficial to the overall health of your mouth and will significantly help to protect against decay.
Another way to help protect your teeth is to leave at least an hour after eating or drinking before brushing your teeth. When you consume certain food and drinks, you can cause the enamel to become more vulnerable; brushing straight away may mean you disrupt this enamel further and brush away tiny particles, rather than letting it settle down before you brush.
Lastly, it goes without saying that a good oral hygiene routine plays a vital part in protecting against decay. Whilst brushing is important, flossing is also a necessary part of your routine and will mean that you remove more plaque than brushing alone.
Healthy Lunchbox Ideas For Kids
Keep it simple with star-shaped sarnies. If you have young children, giving them something fun to open up at lunchtime cannot only make them smile, it will also warm your heart, knowing they’ll get a surprise at the fun addition in their lunchbox.
Sandwiches don’t have to be boring. Cut your sarnies into star shapes and freeze the excess crusts for breadcrumbs.
For an interesting filling, stir red pesto into cream cheese and spread onto both sides of the bread. Pop in the fridge the night before and there you have it, a fun and tasty treat come lunchtime. Pair this with slices of cucumber and carrot. You can use any leftover sandwich filling as a dip.
If your children are a little older, why not make them healthy wraps? Lay the tortilla flat and spread hummums on the bottom third, then top with lettuce, carrot and cucumber or avocado. Line with some salsa on top and sprinkle on some cheese.
If it’s a snack you’re looking for, rather than a full lunch, how about making your own energy balls?
100g pitted medjool dates
50g pumpkin seeds
50g rolled oats
4 tbsp cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa
2 heaped tbsp almond butter
zest and juice 1 orange
Blitz together the above ingredients until it is starting to clump together, adding a drop more juice where necessary. Roll the ingredients together into walnut-sized balls, with lightly oiled hands and you’re finished. A healthy snack, ready to eat.
Why is a Healthy Lunch Important?
By mid-day, your little one is likely to need some sustenance to keep them going throughout the afternoon. Whilst they might feel they need a quick energy boost in the form of a sugary drink or a quick chocolate bar, the best type of food will be one that releases energy slowly.
Foods high in sugar will provide what is commonly referred to as a “sugar high” but these energy levels are not sustainable and will quickly drop, causing a crash in energy.
Understanding what foods will release their energy slowly will help your child feel energised throughout their school day.
Consider some of the following:
Vegetables and dip
Love-Teeth Dental Practice
Book your little ones in for a dental check to ensure no nasty surprises. We take a preventative approach to dentistry, helping to minimise the risk of any tooth pain.
To book an appointment for yourself or your child, please call today on 0161 773 7080. Alternatively, existing patients can book their appointment through our online booking portal.