From winter school parties to seasonal weekend events, there is no shortage of holiday snacks available to your child during the closing months of the year. Sure, a cookie here and there is a treat, but when holiday sweets get nibbled on at will for weeks on end, it is time for a healthy snack makeover.
Why Make a Change
The risk of dental decay increases when children frequently snack throughout the day, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Also, when the snacks include sugary holiday candy and homemade desserts, you are not doing your child's oral health and waistline any favors.
During the holidays, get back on track with scheduled meals and snack times. Then remind your child that holiday snacks are special treats that we don't get to enjoy whenever we want. Store sweets in the kitchen in a place that the child can't reach. Allow the child to earn a small portion of treats by first eating healthy foods, such as lean proteins, fresh produce and whole grains.
Healthy Snack Ideas
When snack time rolls around, don't rely on that tray of cookies from the friendly neighbor. Stick to nutritious, vitamin-packed snacks instead. Here are a few quick holiday snack ideas to get started:
- Baby carrots with hummus dip.
- Air-popped popcorn with a dusting of cinnamon.
- Apple slices topped with peanut butter.
- Frozen banana slices mashed into "ice cream."
Keeping Cavities Away
When it is time to indulge in seasonal treats, add them to a meal. Chewing a variety of food textures followed by drinking liquids helps to wash away sticky caramel candy or creamy chocolate frosting.
After mealtime help your child brush his teeth. Use strawberry- or watermelon-flavored Colgate® 2 in 1 Kids toothpaste and mouthwash. The fruit-flavored toothpaste tastes great, which makes kids want to brush longer.
The holidays may be for indulging, but they don't have to focus on sweets. Spend extra time with family, give the pets more attention and get outside to admire the changing seasons. When it comes to food, enjoy holiday snacks responsibly with your family.
Learn more about oral health for children in the Colgate Oral Care resources.