As merry and bright as the holiday season is, overindulging in Santa’s cookies can cause trouble for your dental health. From bad breath to cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay, many potentially serious issues are caused by adopting poor oral hygiene and eating habits. Sticky, sugary sweets and treats are significant contributors. And, with the increase in consumption during the holiday season, it is more important than ever to consider the risks and understand how to protect those pearly whites.
Interested in the best healthy holiday treats for dental health? We’ve got four delicious options to minimize the intake of sugar and cavity-inducing candies while also being able to partake in the joy of the season.
1. It’s the Grinch Holiday Poppers
Our first healthy holiday treat for optimal dental health is made entirely from fruit, a bonus as the natural sugars can curb the intense cravings from your sweet tooth. Additionally, Grinch Poppers are easy peasy to assemble and fun for all ages. To begin, you’ll need the following:
- Green grapes
- Mini marshmallows
- Slice the base of the strawberry, removing the green leafy portion (top).
- Repeat and set aside.
- Peel and slice the banana into half-inch slices.
- Take a toothpick and feed it through the center of a grape, banana, and strawberry.
- Top it off with a marshmallow and viola! You have a miniature Grinch Popper.
2. Oh Pita Tree
Up next on our list of delicious but dental-friendly holiday treats is a sugar-free, savory Pita Tree. These may take a bit more time to assemble, but little ones can have fun decorating while a parent prepares the foundation. Our goal is to not only create healthier holiday food options but also bring families together to create lasting memories. You’ll need the following ingredients:
- Pita bread
- Thin pretzel sticks
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup guacamole
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- ¼ teaspoon garlic-pepper blend
- ¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- Cut each pita into eight wedges.
- Slice a pretzel stick in half and insert it into the center bottom of each pita wedge to create the appearance of a tree trunk.
- In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, guacamole, parsley, and garlic-pepper blend.
- Spread one teaspoon of the mixture onto each pita wedge.
- Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon bell pepper on each pita wedge.
3. Olive the Other Penguins
This next tasty but sensible “treat” is not sweet at all. In fact, it’s sugar-free. But it sure is just about the cutest holiday snack ever in existence. These little penguins swap potential cavities for optimal added nutritional value during the holiday season. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 can of colossal black pitted olives
- 1 can of small black pitted olives
- 4 ounces of cream cheese
- 1 sliced carrot (slice from the head to create large circles)
- Green onions (the extended portion)
- Cut a small triangular wedge out of each carrot slice and set it aside.
- Slice a lengthwise split into each colossal olive.
- Gently hold the olive and push cream cheese into the opening.
- Place a filled olive, hole-side down, on a carrot round, lining up the white of the cream cheese with the wedge to create the appearance of feet.
- Push a toothpick into the center and place a small pitted olive on top.
- Push one of the small triangular wedges into the center of the small pitted olive to create the appearance of a beak.
- Repeat for an entire family of adorable holiday penguins!
4. Rudolph the Cream-Cheesed Reindeer
This final holiday treat is the perfect shareable appetizer. It’s easy to assemble, healthy, sugar-free, mouth-watering, and reminds us of everyone’s favorite red-nosed reindeer. You need the following ingredients:
- Laughing Cow cheese
- Original pretzels (the bow-tied ones)
- Small black pitted olives
- Red bell pepper
- Cut several small circles from the olive.
- Cut several small circles from the pepper.
- Unwrap one triangle of cheese, place two of the small black circles on the center, and place one pepper on the tip to create the appearance of eyes and a nose.
- Place two pretzels into the opposite end of the cheese to make the appearance of antlers.
- Share and enjoy!
The holiday season is a joyous time to celebrate with friends and family. Unfortunately for many, that includes an overindulgence of sticky, sugary sweets and treats. To avoid cavities in the New Year and ensure optimal dental health, consider the above alternative treats. Your teeth, your gums, and especially your dentist will thank you.