Besides caring for their children and offering unconditional love, parents are also responsible for serving as good role models. Children look up to role models, and the most important ones in their lives are their parents and caregivers. When parents practice good nutrition, not only do they show their kids how to eat healthily, but they also take essential steps for their oral care and overall health.

6 Easy Nutrition Swaps for Parents

Whether making a gourmet meal in the kitchen or grabbing an on-the-go snack before heading out, it is possible to eat healthier and still enjoy healthy foods. From changing to more plant-based foods and those higher in fiber, good nutrition opportunities are endless. And to make things even better, when parents make healthy swaps, children take notice. After all, the concept of monkey see, monkey do is real and prevalent in the relationship between parents and children.

Check out our list of healthy swaps, all intended to provide you with better nutrition to enable better oral health and better overall health.

1. Switch out that coffee creamer for a homemade creamer.

If you’re like most adults, coffee is practically the nectar of the gods. Not only does it provide us a much-needed caffeine boost in the mornings, but for many, it serves as a critical element of our morning routine. However, when we add coffee creamer to our coffee, we do our bodies a disservice. Popular coffee creamer brands contain 30 to 40 calories, nearly 2 grams of fat, and 5 grams of sugar in just one tablespoon. By using almond or coconut milk, coconut oil, protein powder, or spices like cinnamon or nutmeg, you can lessen the calories, fat, and sugar in your coffee without sacrificing the great taste.

2. Cut down on the sugary beverages.

The best and worst drinks for your kids are often the best and worst drinks for mom and dad too. Instead of sugary or diet soda, try sparkling water, green tea, or kombucha. You may think that diet soda is far better for you than the sugary stuff, but the truth is that diet soda can increase your likelihood of developing metabolic syndrome and stroke. Next time you are thirsty, switch for a healthier alternative and know that water is often the best solution to quench your thirst.

3. Avoid energy drinks.

Energy drinks will give you a boost of energy, which can be incredibly welcoming on days where we got very little sleep the night before. However, energy drinks provide far more caffeine than we need and can increase your blood pressure and heart rate. Further, energy drinks are linked to increased anxiety and insomnia, often perpetuating the very symptom we are trying to treat. Long-term consumption of energy drinks can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of diabetes. A better solution is water. If water seems boring, try adding a slice of lemon or even creating your own infusions with combinations like cucumber and mint.

4. Stop buying sugary cereals.

Not only are these sugary cereals not good for you, but they set a poor example for your children. Sure, we all know that Lucky Charms, Trix, and other cereals taste delicious, but these cereals are full of sugar and set us up for an energy crash later in the day. Oatmeal, chia pudding, or an active-culture yogurt are a better choice and are better for your nutrition.

5. Make homemade granola bars with your kids.

It is so easy to grab a few boxes of granola bars when walking down the aisle at your local grocery store. However, these granola bars often contain unhealthy ingredients. If you are looking for a granola bar that is better for your nutrition, consider making your own. Not only are homemade granola bars tasty, but they are great to make with your kids, creating an excellent parent-child bonding experience right in the kitchen. There are many recipes for homemade granola bars available on the internet, including some that only require a handful of ingredients.

6. Increase your intake of veggies with veggie snacks.

Contrary to popular belief, snacking can be beneficial. Giving your body adequate nutrition periodically throughout the day can naturally increase your energy and your metabolism. But the snacks that we reach for really matter. Instead of potato chips or those pre-packaged granola bars, grab some carrot or celery sticks. If you want some variety, consider roasted chickpeas or a hummus dip.

The We Make Kids Smile team has recommendations for healthy nutrition swaps.

Whether you want a healthy nutrition swap for you or your kids, the We Make Kids Smile dental team can help. We know that parents get busy and take on a lot of stress, so we are happy to make it easier by offering healthy swap suggestions and encouraging words. Whether you are wondering about which food options are better for you or your child’s dental care, or you require a dental check-up in the Waldorf or Prince Frederick, MD, area, please either call our closest office or fill out this appointment request form to book a time with your child’s pediatric dentist.

Do you have a question? We can help!

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