When putting snacks and meals together for your child, we know you have a lot to think about. You have to find a balance between foods that will give them energy to get through their day, the nutrients they need to grow big and strong, and the great taste that will motivate them to empty their plates! One of the factors to consider is how the food they are eating will affect their oral health. It’s important to make sure kids get the proper nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy teeth and bones. We’ve put together a few ideas to help make feeding your family a little easier.
One of the most important nutrients for good teeth and bone health is Calcium. One of the most kid-friendly natural sources of calcium is dairy. Adding milk, cheese, and yogurt to your child’s meals will help get them the boost of calcium they need. If your child is lactose intolerant, there are still plenty of natural calcium sources available!
In a pinch, you can always opt for foods that have been specifically fortified with calcium. They’ll be a little more processed than some of the other options, but can really help out parents with picky eaters! For example, some orange juices are calcium fortified, containing an additional boost to the calcium that already exists in oranges. Some instant oatmeals and breakfast cereals (like Cheerios!) also offer in calcium fortified options.
While fruits do contain natural sugars, many also contain fibers that will help scrub your teeth while you eat them! Encourage your child to snack on fruits like apples, raspberries, oranges, and bananas for fiber and other important nutrients! Apples, oranges, and bananas get bonus points for being snacks that are easy to pack!
Some beans, like white beans and soybeans, contain important sources of nutrition like protein and calcium. For an easy family-friendly meal, try making a delicious chilli with white beans! Soy sources are even easier to find. If your child is lactose intolerant, you can use soy products for some of their substitutions, like soy milk! Just be sure to consume soy in moderation, as the estrogen that soy contains can build up and cause a hormone imbalance if extreme consumption occurs.
We hope this information helps you make decisions about what foods to prepare for your children. If you have any other questions about diet and pediatric oral health, schedule a consultation with our office today!