04 May 5 NYC Nutrition Tips to Quick, Healthy, Summer Snacks
Summertime! Freedom! We’re just a month away from leaving the funky smell of the school hallways behind for three months of fresh air, sunshine and lazy (or busy) summer days. After slogging through another year of school, homework, early mornings and late nights, kids revel in the fact they finally get to sleep in and indulge in late-morning breakfasts before hitting the pool, the baseball field, the beach, or the movies with friends.
This past week, I got a letter from Mrs. Lowe, a middle school teacher in Colorado. They’ve been reading about health, fitness and nutrition and came across my blog. One of her students found an article relating to nutrition and healthy snacks for the summer, and I agreed it would be a great idea to not only talk about healthy summer snacks but how important they are for healthy teeth!
During summer, with less of a schedule, kids are less likely to think balanced meals and more likely to think quick-fix snacks. Summer isn’t without its share of temptations: Slurpees, picnics, ice cream, sticky caramel apples on the Fourth, lemonade, movies with caramel popcorn, carnivals with cotton candy. While burning those extra calories outside, and without having a real food schedule like most kids do during the school year, summer can wreak havoc on your teeth.
We all have heard, “You are what you eat.” Another important thing to consider is your smile. Your smile says it all when it comes to nutrition. So aside from flossing and brushing, keep in mind your teeth need good nutrition, too. But who has the time?
Here are 5 NYC Nutrition Tips to quick, healthy, inexpensive summer snacks to help keep your teeth cavity-free and bling-white. (These snacks are great for kids (and adults) of all ages!)
Citrus fruits: Ice-cold orange and tangerine slices, lemon slices in water, tangy grapefruit with a sprinkle of sugar. Citrus is jammed with Vitamin C which helps improve gum health (keeping inflammation down) and helps with the production of collagens to keep gums strong. Refreshing and healthy, fresh citrus fruits are great thirst quenchers as well. Keep your citrus fruits in the fridge to be more refreshing.
Crunchy fruits and vegetables: Carrot and celery sticks, broccoli and cauliflower, apples and pears … Vary textures when you snack. When you eat crunchy fruits and vegetables, you’re working your jaw and the crunch helps break up plaque and keep your teeth healthier. To add flavor, dip fruits in peanut butter, vegetables in hummus. Have these snacks on-hand for a quick fix, instead of reaching for the potato chips.
Step away from the juice box: It’s inevitable you’ll be drinking more in summer than other times of year. Juices, though, are pretty much liquid sugar, coating your teeth, and making them vulnerable to cavities. For little ones, juices are filling and not as nutritious. Instead of reaching for juice, opt for water. You can add flavor with lemon slices, fruits, or try fruit-infused teas, like a raspberry-lime iced tea where you lose the sugar but not the taste.
Bring on the berries: Summertime is the time to indulge in strawberries, blackberries, mangoes, pomegranate, kiwi fruit and more. The added bonus of not only being in season is that most berries are also high in polyphenols that get rid of bacteria from your teeth – like homemade mouth wash. And strawberries have something called malic acid, a natural whitener.
Calcium-rich snacks: Yogurt, cheeses, nuts and milk all packed with calcium to help strengthen teeth.
Healthy doesn’t have to be synonymous with time-consuming. Summer snacks can be quick and nutritious. It’s just a matter of changing the way we shop and stock the fridge. Instead of a quick pastry for breakfast, have fruits cut up and stored in clear plastic containers to make a delicious yogurt-fruit parfait for breakfast. Play with flavors and textures. Keep a pitcher of ice-cold lemon water in the fridge. Have healthy snacks on-hand to avoid the temptation of the chip bag. Enjoy your summer with these smile-friendly snacks. Your dentist, and selfies, will appreciate it.
Thanks, Mrs. Lowe, for the helpful link and great idea for getting healthy in summer!