Healthy School Lunches For Your Kids Oral Health

biggersandAs the mother of a picky 8 year old boy, who loves to take his lunch to school every day, it’s my job to make sure I provide him with healthy lunch options. His favorite food is Chef Boyardee. Unfortunately this is a highly acidic food, and foods high in acid (i.e. fruits and their juices) consumed on a regular basis will harm your tooth’s enamel. Enamel, the protective layer that fight’s against decay, cannot be replaced.

Research has found that some of the best food choices for your kid’s teeth are filled with calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and offer a healthy crunch. Low-fat or fat-free dairy products are filled with calcium and are healthy. Eating a hard cheese will neutralize acids in food that can harm enamel. Cheese is also full of protein, which gives you energy and keeps you full longer.

Most fish and egg yolks offer an excellent Vitamin D source, and help absorb calcium for healthy teeth. Fruits and vegetables with a healthy crunch (i.e. carrots, apples, pears, celery) increase saliva production which helps remove plaque-causing bacteria from the teeth. They also increase saliva production which will help neutralize bacteria in the mouth.

If you eat apples slow you will expose your teeth to damaging acid. To avoid acid build up, always brush before you eat and drink a glass of water or rinse immediately after eating.

Want more specific ideas for a good school lunch to help maintain your kid’s oral health? Then try some of these:

  • Fresh/canned/frozen fruits (no added sugars), vegetable/bean salad, celery, and carrots with low-fat ranch dressing/yogurt or low fat sour cream
  • Tuna on a whole wheat tortilla wrap, low or no salt pretzels (pretzel kabobs made with lean cold cuts and cheese) or whole wheat crackers and cheese
  • Peanut butter & jelly on mini waffles or rice cakes, instead of bread for a healthier snack/meal and water.
  • Low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, or a yogurt smoothie
  • Zucchini muffins or banana bread with a side of fruit and vegetables
  • Trail mix with whole grain yogurt-covered cereal, nuts, pretzels, dried fruit or raisins, and a few chocolate morsels (full of vitamins, calcium, and fiber)

For more information and ideas go to http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

Written by: Jamacia Magee, FizzNiche Staff Writer

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Stumped On School Lunch? Your Child Won’t Be Trading In These!

Healthy-Snacks-List-1It’s that time again. Don’t add to the stress of this ho-hum conundrum of what to make for lunch. Use this meal as an opportunity to get in extra servings of fruits and veggies.

1. Have Your Child Take Part In Packing Their Lunch

Kids are more likely to eat foods that they have helped choose and prepare. This can be as simple as cutting up some fruit and cheese into cubes, or assembling kabobs on skewers or sturdy straws. Place them in a container in a lunch bag, along with a handful of whole grain crackers, and a yogurt.

2. Food Is For Dipping

Kids enjoy dipping foods. Take a leftover dinner protein item like grilled chicken, cut it into strips, add sugar snap peas, baby carrots, whole grain pretzels, and hummus or ranch dressing for dipping.

3. Time Crunch Creations

California rolls made with brown rice are a portable and convenient finger food available at many supermarkets. Pack with some sliced star fruit, or your child’s favorite fruit for a healthy dessert.

4. Go Ethnic To Get Veggies In

  • Mediterranean – Whole grain Pita wedges, hummus, Greek yogurt, tabouli, grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, green beans
  • Mexican – Guacamole, black bean dip, whole grain chips, low fat cheese cubes, red and yellow pepper strips
  • Italian – Prosciutto or ham wrapped around a sesame breadstick, mozzarella balls, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts

5. Other Quick Fixes

  • Roll up deli meats and low fat cheese slices in a whole grain wrap and cut into pinwheels for a twist on the same old boring sandwich. Pack with 1/2 cup trail mix instead of chips to add fiber, healthy fats, and calcium.
  • Soups and pasta salads hold over well in a good thermos.

Don’t make lunch prep a major homework assignment. These nuevo ideas will put the classic PB&J on the back burner. Bon Appétit!

Written by: Tina Marinaccio, Owner of Health Dynamics LLC

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About the Author

Tina Marinaccio, owner of Health Dynamics LLC in Morristown, NJ, is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer. With 20 years experience as a motivational wellness speaker, expert in fitness and nutrition, and gourmand foodie, she provides corporate wellness workshops, individual and group counseling, personal training, and nourishing and distinctive cooking enlightenment. She is an adjunct professor in clinical nutrition and food sciences at Montclair State University in New Jersey, and mentors students from around the country.

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Healthy School Lunches

biggersandIt’s not easy to convince your kids to eat anything, but as parents we are all too well aware of saying the word “healthy” around them is a flashing red light for “doesn’t taste good.” Though this really isn’t true, we have to teach them that the stigma attached to food being good for them isn’t a fair stereotype.  Here are some helpful hints to make healthy school lunches.

Make It Look Pretty

Healthy diet for kids is a major concern of all parents. Kids love to eat junk food because it tastes different than the regular home cooked food. Peer pressure and media is also playing its role in making fast food look more delicious and tempting, so be creative and make your child’s lunch look more delicious than any commercial will.

Kids are picky eaters. In order to make the food look tempting, you need to wake up the artist in you. Add as many colors to the healthy bowl of food as you can because colors make the food more lively and delectable. You can cut the fruits and vegetables in different shapes and make cute faces or funny looking characters from them. You can even serve vegetables with some yummy dip sauces-this will make the kids enjoy their healthy food more.

New And Different

Sometimes kids won’t eat things just on the basis of it being “new” or “different,” so make the new healthy food you are trying to inspire your kids to eat all the more appealing and fun!

Don’t forget to talk to your children about why you select the foods you do, and continue to remind them how important it is to fuel their bodies with healthy choices.  Getting kids to eat shrimp and cucumbers isn’t an easy task, so create shapes and fun to make it seem more tasty.

Children learn from the meals you offer, the way you serve food, the way you shop, and the examples you set. Early habits can last a lifetime, so it’s never too early to make a change, which is why it’s important to get them to try new foods.

Design silly food faces out of fresh fruit and vegetable slices. Come up with amusing, ridiculous names and descriptions for the healthy foods you prepare. Celery and raisins become “ants on a log,” peanut butter and pretzels can be “mud on a stick,” and spaghetti with sauce can turn into “wiggly worms.” Take Goldfish swimming in a new soup. Wash raisins down with water because they are thirsty grapes.

Give Them Healthy Options

Pack stocks of healthy food including fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy products at hand so when the kids go through their lunch box, they are limited to only healthy options.  Even if they don’t eat one of the items packed, they will feel in charge of the other items they chose to eat.   This is a good idea for encouraging kids to eat healthy because when they only see healthy food around, they would gradually develop inclination towards it.

Eliminate the junk food items from your kitchen and fridge and replace with healthy food choices, and let them pack their own lunch. If you see that your kid is indulged in a particular chips or snack bar, then make it disappear and offer an attractive yet healthy replacement.

To help your kids feel “in charge” of their own healthy choices take them to the nearest super store and make them fill the trolley with their choice of healthy food including fruits and vegetables.

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