So when you are heading somewhere with your child what are some of the better choices you could make? Some easy things that you could keep in your car or in an easy-to-grab cooler bag for when your kid gets hungry and you need options now?
One thing you could offer, that may not help with hunger but could stave off boredom, is sugar-free gum. This will not only offer a new taste in their mouth, but sugar-free gum stimulates the production of saliva, thereby helping clean teeth. Mint flavors are the least harmful; fruit flavors can contain more acids that could slightly damage teeth although they still help produce the helpful saliva that wash away mouth bacteria.
Another great idea is to keep some water handy. This can not only help when the kids get thirsty, but water is also great to help wash sugars and acid off their teeth.
As far as quick things to snack on that are also portable, some great ideas include things like cubes or slices of cheese, plain yogurt, plain popcorn, plain rice cakes and fresh vegetables or fruit. Cheese, in particular, tends to neutralize any sugars that may be left on the teeth after a meal or after sweets have been eaten.
Depending on the time of year, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and nuts can be a healthy snack idea that does not require refrigeration. Unsweetened dry cereals can also be packaged and stored easily. Make your own trail or snack mix by mixing one or two dry unsweetened cereals with some sunflower seeds and nuts. Add raisins for some sweetness, although raisins may stick to your child’s teeth and cause potential damage if not washed off right away. You can also add pretzels and tortilla chips to your homemade mix or as a separate snack idea.
Fruits and veggies may need some refrigeration, so keeping a lunch box-sized cooler bag in the car will help keep your snack safe from the hot and cold weather. Throw some baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, whole pears or apples or peaches, or some broccoli florets in the cooler bag and have them ready for later that day, although probably not longer than a day or two at most.
If you are looking for something more than just a snack that is easily transported, whole grain breads, plain bagels and peanut butter are all foods that are healthy and not bad for your teeth. Therefore, a peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread or a bagel would also be a great thing to have handy when you’re on the go.
If you absolutely cannot live without your desserts or sweets, make sure that instead of munching on them throughout the entire day, eat them after a meal and make sure to brush your teeth directly afterward. Sugary foods cause the most damage to your teeth when they are left on your teeth for hours at a time. Brushing right after eating meals and snacks, and especially before bedtime can help minimize damage from any of the foods you eat during the day.