How To Meal Prep for a Healthy Mouth
To maintain a balanced diet, eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups and limit the snacks you eat. Foods eaten as part of a meal cause less harm because the saliva released helps wash foods from the mouth and lessen the effects of acids.
Meal prepping is an excellent way to save time and money—not to mention you can create delicious meals that contribute to a healthy mouth and body. Meal prep ensures you have the right portions for a filling meal. By preparing whole meals ahead of time, you can easily customize your meal prep around your health goals, daily schedule, and your family's taste preferences.
Here are some standard meal prep methods you can use to save time:
- Ready-to-eat meals: By cooking an entire meal before you need it, you can save time and still get something nutritious on the table. Perfect for busy weeknights and lunches, a little extra time assembling a complete meal in the kitchen on meal prep day will make the next few days easier on you.
- Batch cooking: Choose a few recipes that use similar ingredients and prep those ahead of time. Unlike a make-ahead meal approach, this gives you more meal variety throughout the week without having to do much extra work. For example, cooking up a few pounds of chicken breast can work for taco night and also serve as a lean protein for spinach salads or hearty power bowls later in the week.
- Chop up ingredients: Similar to batch cooking, while your cutting board is already out, go ahead and chop up some staple ingredients you know you'll already need for later in the week. You can batch out some vegetables or chicken breast, then pop them in the freezer to thaw later.
Other foods to consider adding to your family's meals include:
- Dairy: Not only are milk and dairy excellent sources of calcium and protein, but they can also help balance the pH level in your mouth.
- Lean Proteins: Lean proteins like chicken, fish, and eggs are full of phosphorus, which strengthens teeth.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Get more fiber into your diet with fruits and vegetables. Antioxidant-rich foods can also play a role in protecting gums from infection.
- Nutritious Snacks: Skip the snacks loaded with added sugar. Instead, help out your mouth by reaching for cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, or a piece of fruit.