As Halloween approaches, Creating Smiles makes every effort to educate our younger patients on the importance of making healthy eating choices. The old adage “an apple a day keeps the dentist away,” holds value, since our patient load in children and adolescents seems to spike with cavity issues every fall. We highly encourage parents, teachers, and childcare givers to take this opportunity to educate kids on the importance of healthy snacks over those laden with sugar and empty calories. While it may seem like a monumental task explaining to a 5 year old that the chocolate bar disguised as a princess is not as good for her as a banana, Dr. Brayer and her staff challenge you to utilize your creativity. Some great alternatives for candy around the holidays are included below, and if all else fails, there is always Pinterest:
- Go old school – ants on a log (celery, peanut/almond butter, raisins)
- Make your own princess, star, or dog – grab slices of cheese and your cookie cutters for fun shapes
- Let your kids have a voice – put out several healthy items (dried fruit, raisins, different whole grain cereals, pretzels) and a baggy and let them make their own trail mix.
- Arts and Crafts – Grab some kabob skewers and slice bananas, strawberries, grapes, melons, or fruit of your choice; let kids make their own fruit combos, or even use this as a chance to work on patterns
- Hide and Go Seek – Make “sweet” treats packed with vitamins – zucchini, banana, carrot, or pumpkin bread; swap out the word “bread” for “cake!”
- Everybody loves parfait – Yogurt with granola fails in comparison both calorie and sugar wise to ice cream and sprinkles, but it doesn’t skimp on taste and flavor.
Encouraging healthy eating now instills healthy eating when your children become adults, as does a routine. If you haven’t been as strict about twice a day brushing and flossing, this is a great time of year to reintroduce with persistence the importance of oral hygiene maintenance. If your children are not up to date on their preventative care appointments, now is a great time to schedule with Creating Smiles Dental of St. Petersburg. Together we can encourage positive behaviors today to prevent dental problems in the future.