Come winter time, we all crave warm, sweet, hearty food. Unfortunately the kind of food we want is often high in fat, high in carbohydrates and high in sugar. All of these are okay in moderation and in conjunction with a good dental health regime plenty of exercise – but the other danger of winter is that everyone is far more inclined to sit inside watching TV, indulging in sweets all day.
It’s important to make sure the whole family maintains a healthy diet in winter months, so here are a few suggestions that will keep everyone happy while the weather is chilly:
This is a healthy alternative to chocolate and is great in hot milk. Carob is actually a legume and carries vitamins and minerals, so it won’t leave a sugary build-up on teeth. You can use it in the same ways as you would chocolate: in hot drinks, cakes, fudge, muffins, icing and pudding. It is caffeine-free and has 1/3 less calories than chocolate and 17 times less fat. It’s also been known to prevent upset stomachs, nausea and diarrhoea. Wow!
Beware the potato
Potato is the reigning monarch of comfort foods. Mash, chips, jacket potatoes, hash-browns… the list goes on. It has its own benefits (it’s high in potassium, for example), but is also high in carbohydrates and often eaten in conjunction with other unhealthy foods – like butter or lots of ketchup, so is best eaten in moderation.
One idea for making a side of potato mash healthier is to combine it with coleslaw – grate or chop some carrot, raw onion, cabbage, even celery and mix in with some mayo. Served hot or cold, you get all the comforting joy of potato plus the added benefit of raw veggies.
Easy on the cheesy
If you’re anything like me, you’ll add cheese to just about anything. Philadelphia on toast? Check. Grated cheddar on a soup? Check. Goat cheese in the salad? Check. Again, cheese has many benefits – calcium for strong teeth as well as high protein (especially important if you’re feeding vegetarians) – but it’s important to resist the impulse to put it everywhere.
Watch the Christmas goodies
Candy-canes, chocolates, mince pies, mulled wine and other sweeties abound during the festive season, and are of course all full of sugar. It’s essential to maintain good dental practice during Christmas, and try not to leave too long a gap between indulging and cleaning your teeth.
What ways do you ensure your family maintains a healthy diet during winter?
Vivienne Egan writes for Ethicare Dental.