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Smile-Friendly Snacks for Back-to-School Season

With millions of children across America heading back to school this time of year, it’s time to start thinking about what to feed your kids when you send them out the door. Whether you pay for hot lunch or prefer to brown-bag it, there are a wide array of options to choose from that taste great and won’t harm your child’s teeth. If you’re looking for some snack inspiration that won’t end up in the trash can, check out this list of tooth-healthy snacks!


Fresh Fruit

You almost can’t go wrong with seasonal fresh fruit. Apples are perennial favorites, as are bananas, pears, strawberries and oranges. If you do pack a fruit with a higher acid content like a citrus fruit, be sure to pack some water to go along with it so your child isn’t keeping that acid on his or her teeth all day. Also, be sure to avoid sugary fruit juices like fruit punch and apple juice, and try to avoid sticky dried fruits like raisins. Another no-no? Sweetened fruit cups with fruit swimming in a sea of sugary syrup!


Cheese is low in sugar and acid and high in protein and calcium, which is great for your muscles, teeth and bones. Whether it's sliced, shredded or in those fun, portable cheese sticks, most kids like cheese, and many picky kids may not even realize it's healthy.


Yogurt is another easy way to get kids to increase their protein and calcium intake. Some varieties of yogurt even have added fiber. Yogurts also come in a variety of flavors and vary in fat content. Avoid yogurt with sweetened fruit add-ins or crunchy toppings like candy or chocolate pieces.

Nuts (Where Permitted)

While many schools have forbidden peanuts and other tree nuts, some may still allow certain nuts, like almonds, walnuts or cashews. Be sure to check with your school’s policy on nuts before sending them. If you do get the go-ahead, pay attention to portion size. Nuts are packed with protein and healthy fat that keeps your child feeling fuller longer. They’re also high in fiber and can fight everything from inflammation to cholesterol, making them a great snack for grown-ups, too!

Pretzels and Graham Crackers

While breads aren’t always the best choice for snacks, some higher-fiber pretzels and graham crackers can be very filling without being high in sugar and fat. If your child does have a sweet tooth, graham crackers or animal crackers are relatively low in sugar and won’t stick to braces. Avoid snacks like chips, cookies and butter crackers, which offer no nutritional value.

If all else fails, take your child with you and let him or her help you choose the snacks - and don’t be afraid to let your child try something new, even if you think he or she won’t like it. You may be pleasantly surprised!

For more snack tips, or to set up an appointment, give Dr. Simpson’s office a call at 910-550-3959.

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Michele Simpson DDS

Wilmington Dental Office

3317 Masonboro Loop Rd • Suite 140 • Wilmington, NC 28409

(910) 550-3959