Healthy Holiday Snacks for Children

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.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Tips for a Healthy Diet

  • Foods high in sugar are a particularly common cause of tooth decay. Making these foods a treat rather than a staple will help protect your teeth.

  • To maintain a balanced diet, eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups.

  • When choosing a snack, go for nutritious foods such as cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt or a piece of fruit.