With summer comes much-anticipated activities like outdoor barbecues and pool parties. Naturally, this entails edible delights that kids love. Unfortunately, traditional summer foods and beverages like pie, lemonade, and ice cream are laden with artificial sugar – precisely the thing that cavity-causing bacteria love. Instead, aim for these alternative and teeth-friendly summer treats for kids.
1. Homemade Popsicles
Popsicles are a staple in summer treats. However, the sugar content is quite high. Make your own popsicles using sugar-free punch or sugar-less lemonade drink mix. These provide the same cold refreshment minus the harmful sugar.
2. Veggie Tray
Yes, we know children aren’t keen on veggies. However, most kids and even adults will gravitate towards the miniature carrots and baby tomatoes if there’s a dip. Children enjoy the act of dunking their food in a sauce, much the same way they like dunking Oreos in milk. Entice the young ones with an assortment of dipping sauces, such as ranch, honey mustard, hummus, and olive oil.
3. Cheese Bites
Beyond sweets, children love foods rich and creamy in texture. Cheese fits this bill perfectly; this is due to its high casein content. This is a type of protein that coats the teeth and provides a protective barrier against sugar and acids. Serve cheese in the form of string cheese, cottage cheese, or miniature cheese squares on a toothpick.
4. Fruit Slices
From a dental perspective, the natural fructose in fruit can be just as bad as refined sugar. However, there is a lot less sugar in fruit per serving compared to most sugary treats. Plus, the high vitamins and mineral content make fruit an acceptable choice. We do recommend a quick rinse of the mouth after consumption.
Another option for teeth-friendly summer treats for kids is tropsicles, which stands for “tropical popsicles”. Similar to homemade popsicles, you can make tropsicles. This is like popsicles but made from a blend of yogurt and fruit. Use sugar-free yogurt and fruit slices of your choice. Blend the ingredients and pour the liquid concoction into a popsicle tray. Leave overnight in a freezer, and you have delicious tropsicles.
Popcorn is a delicious snack that’s low in calories. Aim for plain white popcorn minus butter, caramel, and other flavorings. You may, however, add a small amount of salt for a better taste. We suggest using sea salt, or at least iodized salt.
7. Apple Nachos
There are a ton of ways to make apple nachos. This is essentially sliced apples flavored with a number of toppings. Dental-friendly toppings include:
- Shaved coconuts
- Crushed nuts
- Nut butter
- Lemon juice
You can also keep the ingredients separate and let kids create their own apple nacho concoction. Children love having the freedom to mix and match.
Read also: Healthy Hygiene Habits for the Kiddos
8. Infused Water
In lieu of soda, consider serving infused water. This is water with fruit slices inside. This gives the water light fruit flavoring, and you can consume the fruit with water. We suggest going easy on acidic fruits. Good fruit choices include berries, bananas, mangoes, and pomegranates. You can also include some forms of vegetables, such as cucumbers and mint leaves.
9. Miniature Wraps
Use tortilla wraps and a number of healthy ingredients. Popular ingredient choices include lean meats, baked beans, lentils, bell peppers, and whipped curd. Miniature wraps suffice as a lunch, appetizer, or light snack.
10. Whole Grain Pancakes
Pancakes made from whole grain are another summer treat for kids that provide a natural energy boost in the form of complex carbohydrates. Avoid maple syrup and whipped cream. Instead, aim for toppings like sliced strawberries, almonds, and peanut butter.
Read also: Sports Drinks and Oral Health
Prioritize Kid’s Dental Care This Summer
Enjoy the summer and the foods associated with the season of fun under the sun. However, do consider summer treat options that are kinder to your children’s teeth. While you’re at it, don’t forget to keep up with your kids’ dental appointments at Maestri Dental. Dr. Maestri is a top pediatric dentist in Lafayette, LA, who has years of experience treating minors from toddlers to teens.