As every parent knows, children can be very finicky eaters, often refusing to consume foods that contain needed nutrients. It’s all too easy for harried parents to capitulate and simply offer up the few items kids will eat without complaint.
However, this can be disastrous, especially if children refuse to eat dairy products. Why, exactly, are dairy products so important, and how can you add more dairy to your child’s diet? Here are a few things you need to know about the role dairy plays in keeping kids’ teeth healthy and strong.
Benefits of Dairy
Dairy products are not only a good source of protein, but they also have many benefits for your child’s teeth. Milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products are an excellent source of calcium, which is needed to promote strong bones. This includes teeth. What many parents don’t realize is that dairy products can have a more immediate benefit for kids’ teeth.
Many foods children eat can break down into sugar or introduce acidity in the mouth. This can erode tooth enamel, as well as result in a proliferation of bacteria that forms tartar and plaque, ultimately leading to serious issues like tooth decay and gum disease. Dairy products can help to reduce acidity and balance pH levels in the mouth, protecting teeth from harm.
Tips and Tricks for Adding Dairy to the Diet
If kids aren’t keen on drinking a glass of milk or eating plain yogurt, there are many ways you can incorporate these items into their diet. For starters, kids can get a serving of milk with their cereal in the morning, although preferably not a sugary cereal. You could also mix granola and fruit in with yogurt to make it more appealing for kids, not to mention filling.
Cheese can easily be added to sandwiches or scrambled eggs, although many children enjoy a simple snack of cheese with crackers or apples, just for example. You can also try making smoothies with dairy products.
It takes only seconds to whip up a tasty smoothie with milk, fruit, and ice, or you can try more complicated yogurt recipes if you like. If you’re really sneaky, you can even throw in a few veggies that kids might not eat on their own, such as cucumbers, carrots, or even spinach or kale. The sweetness of bananas, strawberries, blueberries, mangos, and other fruit should mask any flavors kids don’t necessarily like on their own, and you’ll get them to down needed servings of dairy in the process.