Diamond Bar is a great place to raise families. The residential area is known for being safe, clean, and kid-friendly. Parents who value education will also be happy to know that Diamond Bar has some of the best educational opportunities in Southern California. Not only are the schools highly competitive, there are tons of well-known tutors in the area that can help your child excel in their studies.
Since kids are so busy with their homework and extracurricular activities here in Diamond Bar, it’s often your job as a parent to make sure the house is well stocked with healthy, tooth-friendly snacks and meals! At Hacienda Pediatric Dentistry, we see many of our younger patients engage in unhealthy habits that result in tooth decay and cavities. If your children are suffering from a toothache, they won’t be able to focus on doing their best in class.
That is why we have compiled a list of healthy lunches for students of all grades. In this guide, we’ve taken a look at the middle school lunch menus and rated them on a scale of 1 to 5 teeth (stars are too basic!). We’ve also included some tasty snacks and DIY options that your children can bring to school if they’re not too keen on whatever’s being served for the day. Let’s get started!
Most Diamond Bar schools are actually a part of the Walnut Unified School District and their lunch menus follow regulations from the Walnut district’s guidelines.
Chili Cheese Nachos 🦷🦷
Why the low rating for such a fan favorite? Well, chili cheese nachos may be tasty, but they’re pretty devoid of nutrition. The chips usually aren’t whole grain and they can be really crunchy, which isn’t great for middle schoolers who have braces. And though we love cheese, the cheese sauce on chili cheese nachos is often a cheese product that’s made with more filler (starch and sugar) than actual cheese. The only saving grace of this item is the chili, which is loaded with protein from the beans and beef. This gets a two teeth from us!
Yogurt Parfait 🦷🦷🦷🦷🦷
If your child has a small appetite, the yogurt parfait is a perfect tooth-friendly lunchtime snack for them! Yogurt has tons of good bacteria and calcium that’s great for the teeth. The yogurt parfaits served at Chaparral Middle School in Diamond Bar also come with fruit, which add more vitamins, fiber, antioxidants that are important for children. If possible, we recommend skipping the granola since it can be hard on the teeth and it’s full of sugar.
Hummus Tray 🦷🦷🦷🦷
The hummus tray is yet another one of our favorites at Hacienda Pediatric Dentistry. Kids can have fun dipping pita bread, carrots, and cucumbers into healthy, protein-filled hummus. Hummus is made of chickpeas and olive oil, so it’s also an excellent source of healthy fats and fiber.
Chicken Caesar Salad 🦷🦷🦷
Some people think that any salad is automatically healthy, but that is simply not the case. While we do love a good middle school caesar salad, it’s important to note that most of these salads consist of iceberg lettuce. Iceberg lettuce is 90% water, so while it’s good for a little fiber and hydration, there are not as many nutritional benefits. If your child drowns their salad in ranch, then the caesar salad becomes even less healthy!
Instead of buying a caesar salad, have your child pack one from home! They can add superfoods like spinach, kale, and arugula. They can also include fun ingredients that normally wouldn’t be available in school salads, such as grapes, strawberries, or goat cheese!
Turkey Sandwich 🦷🦷🦷🦷
Turkey can definitely be a hit or miss in terms of texture. An extra minute of cooking can turn a moist turkey slice completely dry! Despite this minor issue, turkey sandwiches are generally quite healthy for kids. The sandwiches they serve in Diamond Bar are loaded with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and bread. Your child is hitting all their food groups with a lean turkey sandwich!
Rotini with Meat Sauce 🦷🦷🦷🦷🦷
This is one of our favorite pasta dishes on the menu! The rotini with meat sauce is 18 grams of protein and 55 grams of calcium. This dish also goes perfectly with a breadstick and side salad. If your child is a vegetarian, you can make the same recipe at home with Gardein meatless meatballs or beans to replace the protein.
Chicken Tamale with Red Sauce 🦷🦷🦷🦷🦷
With 60 mg of calcium, this is one of the dishes with the highest amounts of calcium in it. Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth. The chicken tamale is made of masa, a dough created from corn, and it’s stuffed with braised chicken, then covered in a tasty red sauce to cut the richness. It’s a super portable snack as well since it’s usually wrapped in corn husks. If your child likes chicken tamales at school, you may want to consider saving a few in the fridge for on-the-go snacking!
Mandarin Orange Chicken and Rice Bowl 🦷
Beware of sauces! As tasty as this meal may be, it only offers 13 grams of protein but is also 10 grams of sugar, 280 mg of sodium, and 40 mg of cholesterol. Definitely not worth it! Instead, pack your child grilled chicken with rice and broccoli. If they really like the Mandarin Orange sauce, then pack them some on the side. It’s really the sauce that is full of sugar, but if you make it at home, you can use replacement sweeteners or honey.
Mini Chicken Corn Dogs 🦷🦷
Almost as bad as the Mandarin Orange Chicken Bowl are the mini chicken corn dogs! Because cornbread is so sweet, the sugar content is 6 grams per serving while the chicken only provides 10 grams of protein. There’s also no source of calcium or vegetables in this entree.
You can skip this special and pack a homemade meal for your child. Some tasty, portable dishes we like include falafel wraps, noodles with tomato and egg, and kim bap! You can get ingredients at local grocery stores in Diamond Bar like H-mart or Albertons.
Sometimes, the middle schools in Diamond Bar treat their students with pepperoni and cheese Domino’s Pizza. We love a good, greasy slice of pizza, but this is definitely a treat that should only be savored once in a while. The refined carbs in pizza quickly turn into sugar in the mouth, which bacteria feed on to create cavities.
Kids need nutritious food to grow and focus in class. If your child gets hungry in class, we recommend packing snacks for them! Here are a few of our tooth-friendly faves:
- Baby carrots: This vegetable has tons of vitamins and minerals. Plus it has a fibrous texture that naturally cleans the teeth of plaque.
- String cheese: This is a fun, tasty snack that packs a punch! Your kids will love peeling away at their string cheese in class and you’ll love how good it is for their teeth.
- Almonds: Almonds are high in protein, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, riboflavin, and even calcium!
- Blueberries: Talk about brain food! Blueberries are high in antioxidants and they’ll naturally keep your child energized.
To learn more about tooth-friendly foods, talk to our pediatric dentist serving Diamond Bar! We love talking families about ways they can improve their dental health at home. While your child may not be willing to brush and floss after meals at school, they can at least eat healthy foods that are good for their teeth.