School Lunch Season is About to Begin

The first day of school is right around the corner, and many parents are looking for ways to avoid school cafeteria meals and send their kids to school with nutritious homemade lunch options. At Great Lakes Dental, we are committed to helping families live healthy, active lives, and to that end, we are pleased to offer the following information on how parents can send their children to school with healthy, fun lunch options.

A Balanced Lunch Fuels the Brain and Body

Eating a healthy, balanced lunch gives kids the nutrients they need to do their best at school. In order to reap the greatest benefits, school lunches should include a mix of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Protein can come from lean deli meats, natural peanut butter or nuts. Adding a serving of cheese not only brings in protein, but also provides a boost of calcium. Healthy carbs include whole wheat bread, crackers or bagels. Quinoa, brown rice or whole grain cereals are also great ways to bring in carbohydrates. Healthy fats can be introduced through avocado, nuts or fish.

Healthy Choices Also Boost Dental Health

Expecting your child to brush his or her teeth during the school day is a high bar to set. Parents can help their kids sustain great oral health by providing foods in their lunch that deliver dental health benefits. Foods such as raw carrot or celery sticks provide a scrubbing effect when chewed. Fruits that are tangy, such as oranges, kiwi, grapes and cherries, prompt the flow of saliva in the mouth, which helps to wash out bacteria and other food particles. Finally, low-fat dairy in string cheese, cottage cheese or yogurt can help protect teeth from decay. It is important to avoid including sugary, sticky foods in your child's lunch, which are likely to stick to the surface of teeth for hours before brushing is possible.

Making School Lunch Fun

Packing a healthy school lunch requires planning, shopping and time spent preparing and packing the meal. All of that work is wasted, however, if your child does not eat his or her lunch. Parents should try to make lunches fun by introducing new shapes, fun dips and colorful elements to the lunchbox. Presentation is also important, and many families are turning to bento-style lunchboxes to separate and showcase individual food items.

At Great Lakes Dental, we are honored to be the dentist of choice to families throughout the greater Cleveland area, and we hope that your family has a wonderful 2017-2018 school year!