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Honor Roll-worthy School Lunches

Aug 16, 2016

By Dean George

If it’s back to school time already, I must have hit the snooze button on my calendar. At the dizzying rate of start dates for schools across the country, it’s just a matter of time before fall break begins Labor Day weekend.

Whatever the challenges of a year-round school schedule, one thing remains constant: the enthusiasm and ensuing stampede when the lunch bell rings.

Each year at this time we like to share healthy school lunch ideas that can help put a smile on the little face of your future Rhodes Scholar.  Below are five oral-healthy options that will tickle their taste buds and impress the dentist:

Whole Wheat Apple Quesadillas

Fresh apples and school lunches go together like book bags and homework. Including a favorite apple variety provides a nice satisfying crunch to any lunch.

Sprinkle two tablespoons of cheddar on a whole wheat tortilla. Add a small layer of apple slices and top with more cheddar before folding the tortilla in half. Add olive oil into a pan and toast the quesadilla until the cheese is melted and the quesadilla is a golden brown.

Health benefits: as previously reported in Agent Straight-Talk, olive oil contains oleuropein, an anti-bacterial agent that helps prevent bacteria from attaching to teeth and prevents the formation of plaque. Cheese is a fantastic source of tooth-friendly calcium, phosphate and lactic acid.

Pizza Bagels

Pack cheese, pepperoni or bacon, and vegetable slices like bell peppers, chives, and black or green olives in separate containers. In a separate bag include toasted bagels, English muffins or a large soft pretzel. Allow your future Julia Childs to add their favorite toppings at school while their classmates look on with envy.

Health benefits: We’ve already covered the oral health benefits of cheese and olives. Bell peppers contain carotenoids like Lycopene and other natural chemicals that act as antioxidants when consumed.  Our bodies convert carotenoids to vitamin A which are good for teeth, skin and bones and help keep our immune systems working properly.

Turkey Hot Dogs

Turkey hot dogs are better for kids than regular hot dogs, but the key to any breed, er, variety of hot dog, is found in the name: “hot” dog. Fill a thermos with boiling water and one or two turkey dogs. Separately include a hot dog bun, a spoon and your child’s favorite condiments to dress their dog however they want.

Health benefits: Turkey dogs contain fewer calories, fat, and sodium than traditional hot dogs and are a good source of protein. As for popular condiments, ketchup contains Lycopene and as previously noted in Dental Wire, mustard contains turmeric that is used as a tooth whitener, for toothache relief and periodontal issues like gingivitis.

Waffle Sandwich

Take your child’s sandwich creativity to a whole new level by swapping bread for waffles. Between the waffles add bacon, lettuce and tomatoes, ham and cheese or peanut butter or Nutella with honey or granola.

Health benefits: Peanuts are packed with protein and monounsaturated fats that are heart friendly and good for gum tissue. Choose brands made with natural peanut oils and those that don’t include added sugars and syrups. The important thing to remember when consuming peanut butter for lunch or anytime is that it can stick to teeth and become a picnic for plaque so be sure the kids drink lots of water when enjoying it and brush their teeth at the earliest opportunity.

Fruit Parfait

Kids enjoy playing in food, and creating a custom fruit parfait is an excellent way of indulging that tendency. (It also may give you a break in the kitchen.) Use their favorite yogurt flavor and let them add a variety of healthy toppings like chopped fruit, berries, raisins, crumbled nuts and granola.

Health benefits: Yogurt is rich in probiotics (active cultures), calcium and proteins that are good for teeth.

How’s that for thinking outside the lunch box? Of course, all that healthy eating is a moot point if your little mini-me’s aren’t brushing twice a day and seeing the dentist regularly. For dental plans in your area that can make those trips less expensive, click here.

Photo sources:

Copyright 2016, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC

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