How to Swap Your Child’s Favorite Sugary Treats for Healthier Alternatives

By Christina Cook, RDH, ECP II, Dental Hygienist and Outreach Coordinator at Health Partnership Clinic

We all know that children and many adults have a natural love for sweets! But because childhood cavities affect over 50 percent of children, it is important to protect their oral health while satisfying their sweet tooth. In this article we are going to embark on a journey into the sweet world of healthy snack alternatives.

1. Encourage fruits and vegetables.

What better way to satisfy your child’s sweet tooth than with nature’s candy? Strawberries, apples, watermelons, bell peppers, carrots and cucumbers are all great alternatives. Here are some tips from MyPlate to make snacking on fruits and veggies more fun.

Healthy Eating Tips

Pro tip: Keep fruits and veggies rinsed, chopped and easily accessible for children to encourage healthy snacking.

2. Try a yogurt parfait.

If your child is in the mood for something more filling, a yogurt parfait is a great treat. You can try topping yogurt with their favorite fruit and crushed nuts. This is a wonderful way to incorporate vitamins, fiber and protein into your kiddo’s diet. Plus, they might enjoy creating their own unique snack by layering and adding different toppings.

Pro tip: Slice up fruits and use vanilla yogurt as a dipping treat.

How to Swap Your Child's Favorite Sugary Treats for Healthier Alternatives

3. Go nuts!

Grab a container of mixed nuts, raisins and dark chocolate chips and you have yourself a snack that will satisfy their sweet tooth and is loaded with healthy fats, nutrients and antioxidants.

4. On sizzling summer days, you can cool off with frozen treats.

Blend up their favorite fruits and pour it into popsicle molds for a delicious frozen treat to enjoy later. Other great frozen alternatives are smoothies or nice cream. If you are not familiar with nice cream, the healthier ice cream alternative, here is a link for simple recipes to try.

It is also important to encourage proper brushing, flossing and routine dental exams in addition to reducing their high sugar consumption to help prevent cavities.

If you still have questions about healthy snack alternatives, any of our dental professionals at Health Partnership Clinic would be happy to answer your questions. Make any appointment for your child by calling 913-276-7004.

Below is a quick reference guide with additional tips.

Tooth Snack Guide