The long hours in the office can sap your energy fairly quickly, so much so that all you want to do when you get home is to collapse on the couch. If you have kids, the start of the school year brings a new level of chaos and busyness to your schedule. In the midst of the exhaustion and busyness, healthy and nutritious lunches go by the wayside in place of sugary, starchy, ready to eat lunch packs that have little to no nutritional value and can take a toll on your pocketbook.
You may have tried to make yourself healthy lunches in the past, such as salads only to go off-course by driving to the fast-food burger place a mile down the street. When it comes to your children, you try to encourage healthy eating, but shopping for nutritious lunch items they will actually eat only adds to your exhaustion. The busier your schedule gets, the more convenient, unhealthy lunch foods sound appealing.
Oral health is important for your whole family, yourself included. Whether you’re going to the office or taking the kids to school, there are easy ways to pack a lunch that helps your teeth (and won’t break the bank).
For a while, carbohydrates were shunned by dieters who believed these starches were heavy contributors to obesity.
Your body, however, needs carbohydrates for energy. These “good” carbohydrates help you and your children to physically and mentally get through the day. These kinds of carbohydrates are found in whole wheat products such as breads, tortillas, bagels, pita bread, brown rice and quinoa.
It is the “bad” carbohydrates you need to avoid. These are heavy starches that contribute to weight gain and heart problems. “Bad” carbohydrates are found in white bread, pastries, and rice.
Some lunch ideas include using whole wheat bread, tortillas or pita bread and make your favorite sandwich. An alternative lunch could be soup mixed with brown rice or quinoa or even grilled vegetables mixed with brown rice or quinoa.
Protein is necessary to keep one’s muscles healthy and strong. Protein comes from a variety of sources including meats and dairy products. Sandwiches with lean meat such as chicken or turkey make for great tasting sandwiches that are also packed with protein. In addition to the protein found in the lunch meat, a stick of string cheese and a handful of nuts on the side can add to one’s protein intake.
Despite what various diets say about fats and people’s avoidance of fats, certain fats are important and necessary for proper body functioning. The brain and eyes are two parts of the body that greatly benefit from the consumption of healthy fats. Leftover fish from dinner, a handful of nuts and using avocado on one’s sandwich instead of mayonnaise can help your body get those healthy fats.
Your teeth are like bones in that they need calcium to remain strong and hard. In addition, your teeth are anchored to your body via the jawbones, which are made of bone tissue. Calcium helps keeps the jawbone strong to keep supporting the teeth. Calcium is found in dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese. Low-fat varieties of these dairy products help avoid the consumption of “bad” fats. Yogurt also has phosphates in it that is essential for the remineralization of teeth. Vitamins A and C also have calcium. Apples, bananas and oranges are some fruits that have these vitamins. While citrus does have important and essential vitamins and minerals, they should be consumed in moderation as their acidic juice destroys tooth enamel. Salad and streamed vegetables are other sources of calcium-rich vitamins A and C.
Many fresh vegetables that include fiber are hard and crunchy, which act as great toothbrushes. The act of chewing celery, carrots, pepper and broccoli produce saliva, which is the body’s built-in natural mouthwash and the chewing also prevents food particles from getting stuck and lodged on and between teeth. Raw veggies with hummus is a great way for you and your kids to get much needed fiber.
Besides raw vegetables, hard, crunchy nuts also provide the body with fiber and result in the same saliva production and chewing that keeps food particles from sticking to teeth. Nuts also contain vitamin D that helps keep teeth healthy and strong.
If you or your children are craving something sweet, there are many crunchy, juicy fruits that also contain fiber and other nutritious vitamins and minerals. Apples and raw pears stimulate saliva production and helps neutralize enamel destroying acid.
The best way you and your family dental health can start off on the right foot is through regular, twice yearly dental exams and check-ups. If it has been longer than six months since your family’s last visit to our office, or you haven’t yet made a back to school dental check-up for your kids, contact us at LeDowns Dentistry today to schedule an appointment.