Most parents try to serve primarily healthy foods to their children every day. However, some of the foods widely considered ‘healthy’ may actually contain a lot of unnecessary added sugar, a leading cause of dental caries and gingivitis in children and adults. So, what can you do?
If you want to learn more about this, you can read our articles about hidden sugar in kids’ foods and healthiest ways to eat sweets. To help you have fun while eating healthy, we have created this list of some dentist-approved crafty snacks that you can make with your kids that they’ll really like. Come join us for some sugar-squashing tips and a browse of fun snacks recipes to make when you and your kiddos are ready to create some truly healthy, delicious, low-sugar snacks.
Don't forget! If you have braces, it is important to cut carrots and other hard or crunchy fruits and vegetables into bite-sized pieces.
Snacks you can make with your kids that they’ll love:
Cut up red peppers, carrots, cukes, black or green olives, and whatever else you think would make a great silly face while your eggs are cooking. Swap out anything you like as long as the faces stay low-sugar and healthy. (These are made with tofu eggs, but, of course, you can use any healthy eggs you prefer. These eggs are a fun choice to enjoy the pretty container and later you can trace the farm they came from. Fun!)
These are fun for toddlers, and you can probably swap out any fruit you want as long as they aren’t dried fruits. You might want to use the trick the recipe creator uses. She takes a long piece of uncooked spaghetti to “thread” through the fruits and hold them in place prior to decorating.
Let your little ones put these tasty hedgehogs together for their walk around the plate at crafty snack time! The extra trails can be made with chia seeds, and the faces can be made with thinly sliced apples.
These are fun to make if you’ve got cookie cutters, fruits that are thick and solid enough for cutting through with cookie cutters, and plenty of colorful pieces to add to the skewers for variety. Alternate ideas: Some arrange them in rainbow order colors with no cookie cutters needed, and others add cheese chunks.
Here’s a video for you in case your kiddos prefer to cook along with the chef and her assistants. They make two other crafty snacks in this video as well (fruit skewers and rice cake bears).
Go buggy with the kiddos when you create colorful summertime scenes with dragonflies, ladybugs, snails --- or whatever your favorite insects are! You’ll need both fruits and veggies and a little cream cheese or hummus for these.
Homemade fruit snacks (i.e. gummy bears) from Wellness Mama
These can be made without the maple syrup or honey to limit added sugar and help bring out the real fruit flavor. The recipe’s creator recommended these bear molds for your craft snack, but you can choose numerous different shapes according to your preferences and seek out those molds, too!
You can skip the honey with this one. The fruit and vanilla extract should make it sweet enough. Note: You can also use full-fat coconut milk (in a can) to make homemade dairy-free ice cream. It is delicious and will freeze up nicely. Just stir it and freeze for a while, repeat, repeat, until reaching the consistency you like. The best part is making it in several different colors with different fruits.
Make sure you get the most natural peanut butter you can find without sugar added for this one. Or, go for an almond or cashew butter if you don’t mind making your own or spending a few extra bucks.
These are fun for little ones learning their letters, numbers, shapes, etc. This recipe creator suggests trying these mini bento cutters for the best results.
With her classic blue (blueberry) hair, a green apple slice dress, and mango skin, Marge Simpson has never looked better! See what your littles do when given an example as shown and an assortment of fruits as mentioned.
Slice up some celery and let your helpers spread cream cheese, low-sugar, all-natural peanut butter (or your choice of another nut butter), or hummus on the hollow side. Then add your topping (and nix the processed cereal pieces suggested): will it be blueberries? Pistachio slices? Shredded unsweetened coconut? Sunflower seeds? Have fun and be creative with it!
Here are a few quick tips to help you when choosing snack foods.
Tip 1: There are ‘healthy’ foods with more sugar content than you’d think, plus lots of hidden sugars in others.
Some examples of these include potato chips, pretzels, granola, cereal bars, apple sauce, yogurt, and goldfish crackers. Surprised? So were we on some of them -- and another problem is, even if you only serve your child sweets occasionally, the hidden sugars in these “healthy” snack foods can still put them over the limit on their recommended daily sugar intake.
Tip 2: Choose naturally sweet foods instead of sweetened.
These foods are healthier for you, as well as your teeth, as they’re broken down farther in the digestive tract and not in the mouth, where the sweetness could cause greater problems.
Some great choices are:
Tip 3: Replace milk chocolate with dark chocolate and use fresh or frozen fruit in smoothies. Avoid dried fruit.
These are pretty self-explanatory. These foods are superior to their alternatives in added sugar content.
We hope you’ll enjoy making and eating these low-sugar crafty snacks with your kiddos - instead of high sugar, highly processed alternatives!
At Jungle Roots Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics, we strive to provide the highest comprehensive pediatric and orthodontic dental care in a unique, fun-filled environment staffed by a team of caring, energetic professionals. We believe the establishment of a “dental home” at an early age is the key to a lifetime of positive visits to the dentist.
Call Us at (480) 759-1119