The winter season and its many indoor celebrations can mean you’ll find plenty of tasty snacks around every corner. While those cookies, cakes, and pies look good and taste delicious, they’re not the best choices for your teeth. To help keep your smile healthy this winter, consider reaching for one of these healthier seasonal snack alternatives.
The next time you attend a seasonal party, help yourself to some offerings from the cheese tray. Cheese contains a protein called casein, which contains protective properties that can help fight cavities. Cheese also contains high amounts of phosphorus and calcium. These minerals can encourage teeth re-mineralization, which is a natural process that helps prevent cavities. Plus, calcium is necessary for overall bone health.
If you want to make your own cheese snack, cheesy reindeer are a cute and festive option. Simply start with a triangular piece of soft cheese and then stick two hard pretzels on the top of each side for the antlers. You can then take a juice box-sized straw to poke out two round pieces of black olives for the eyes, and use a larger straw to poke out the red pepper nose.
Leafy, Green Vegetables
Although kale, spinach, and collard greens might not be at the top of your holiday snack list, these vegetables grow best in cool weather. These types of high-fibre vegetables require more chewing, which causes your body to produce more saliva. Saliva is a natural lubricant that can essentially wash your teeth while you’re eating. These vegetables are also chock-full of vitamins and minerals that are essential to your immune system during the winter months.
Spinach and artichoke frittata trees are a nice treat that incorporates a good serving of spinach. They also contain cheese and eggs, so they’re a great source of calcium and Vitamin D. Consider whipping up a batch to serve for breakfast or during a holiday party.
Every season has a sweet and delicious berry you can enjoy, and in the winter, it’s cranberries. Of course, it’s also possible to find blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries in your grocery store. If you need a sweet snack, grab a handful of berries. They’re high in antioxidants and full of vitamins and minerals. Just remember that they’re also acidic, so it’s best to combine them with yogurt or drink a glass of water after you eat them to limit any damage they can do to your teeth.
If you want to make a fruity snack the kids will love to eat during the holidays, put together some Grinch poppers. Simply start with a green grape for the Grinch’s head. To make the Santa hat that will go on top of the grape, use a slice of banana, a strawberry, and a small, round piece of banana on top.
While berries are a good snack during the holiday, apples are one of the best fruits for your teeth. Apples are high in fibre, so they can actually scrub away plaque and freshen your breath while you eat them. Other crunchy fruits and vegetables that are good for the health of your teeth include celery, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. While apple pies, stuffing, and steamed vegetables are popular dishes during the holiday season, it’s best to eat these crunchy fruits and vegetables raw to get the most benefit from them.
For a delicious and beautiful holiday snack, make some apple wreaths. All you need to do is core an apple and cut it into slices. You can then spread some almond butter or any other type of nut or seed butter on the apple slice to create a sticky base. For your toppings, choose colourful items like dried cranberries, pomegranate arils, pistachios, or pumpkin seeds.
The next time you’re at a holiday gathering, don’t walk past that bowl of mixed nuts. Instead, grab a handful! Not only do you get to enjoy that satisfying crunch, but you’ll also get a good serving of phosphorus and calcium. While some people think they should avoid nuts so they don’t chip or crack their teeth, healthy teeth should be strong enough to handle nuts. However, make sure you shell the nuts before you eat them since cracking the shells with your teeth can cause damage.
While snacking on plain nuts is a great way to enjoy this treat, you can also create your own sweet and spicy nut mix if you’re looking for something a little different. Simply coat your nuts in an egg wash, toss them in a spice blend until they’re completely covered, and then bake them for about 20 minutes or until they’re crisp and fragrant.
Even though you’ll find plenty of cookies and candies this holiday season, they’re not the best option for your teeth. Instead, you can keep your smile happy and healthy while still enjoying some delicious treats when you choose one of these nutritious snack alternatives.
Be sure to check out our companion piece: Summer Snacks: The Good, the Bad and the Alternative