Are smoothies okay for teeth?
In recent years, smoothies as a breakfast replacement have become more popular, particularly amongst those with a busy schedule. If parents don’t fall into this category, then who does?!
Although smoothies can be a lifesaver when you need that quick meal on the go, there are a few things we recommend considering before introducing them to your child’s diet.
In this article, we’ve gone through the pros and cons of smoothies in your child’s diet and included some healthy example recipes.
Smoothies are a great way to add fruit and vegetables to your child’s diet. This is especially the case for fussy eaters.
In addition to this, healthy ingredients like ginger, chia seeds and kale are difficult to incorporate into your child’s diet. But smoothies allow an easy way for children to get these in an easy to swallow form.
Most recipes contain a low of tropical fruits such as bananas and mangoes. Tropical fruits are high in sugars so should be limited.
Drinking means no chewing. Chewing plays an important part in developing a healthy relationship with food for kids. It also doesn’t activate our digestive system as much so you can end up hungry sooner than if you ate the ingredients whole instead. This then leads to more frequent snacking and more acid attacks in the mouth!
Fibre is removed leaving no feedback mechanism to the brain to tell us we’re full.
How to take advantage of smoothies
-Enjoy smoothies occasionally rather than routinely as the amount of sugar is often as high as a soft-drink.
-Try to avoid giving it as a meal replacement. Ideally, the smoothie should be accompanied by something your child can chew. For example, give a smaller portion of the smoothie and have them eat a piece of wholegrain toast
-Reduce the use of tropical fruits as they are high in sugar.
-Use low sugar fruits such as berries
-Avoid pre-made smoothies (some contain added sugars)
-Include vegetables in the smoothie (such as spinach, kale, carrot, beetroot) and especially those your child otherwise wouldn’t eat.
-Make sure your child is receiving other nutrients they require that don’t often end up in a smoothie such as protein via yoghurt
-Be careful of fads and check the sugar content of the ingredients. Dates have become a popular ingredient to sweeten smoothies. 250g contains around 38 teaspoons of sugar! (the daily limit for kids aged 2-12 is 6 teaspoons)
Here are some examples of delicious smoothies for your child with their dental health in mind.
-Blueberries, Strawberries, 1/4 banana, plain greek yoghurt, water/milk
-Spinach, blueberries, 1/2 banana, milk
-1/4 avocado, 1/4 banana, milk
-1/4 avocado, strawberries, plain greek yoghurt, water/milk
-Spinach, 1/4 banana, 1tsp nut butter, milk
Too much of most things can be bad and smoothies are a good example. We recommend that smoothies be enjoyed in moderation and as part of a healthy, balanced diet and not a meal replacement. Our goal is to provide information to help you guide your child towards developing healthy habits so that they can learn to make the right choices for themselves. Once healthy habits are formed, it becomes easier to control what we enjoy in moderation.