For kids, the most frightening thing about October hasn’t been the spooky stories or scary monsters… it’s been parent-teacher conferences and progress reports! Yikes! If your child is struggling in their elementary school classes, they may need a little support during this sensitive time of year. Bad grades don’t necessarily mean bad kids! Children learn in different ways and often need motivation as the school year drags on.
At Hacienda Pediatric Dentistry, we’ve noticed lots of our patients have trouble paying attention because of the foods they eat! Might sound like a stretch but the old adage rings true: you are what you eat. Too much sugar can cause sugar crashes during important lessons. Not enough carbohydrates can result in sluggishness and inability to concentrate. Dehydration can even cause headaches!
If you’ve already read our Tooth-friendly Guide to Middle School Lunches in Diamond Bar, you’re in for a treat! Below, we’ve created another guide for kids who are in elementary school. We really value education at our practice and we want to provide resources for our patients to do well in class. So without further ado, here are our favorite brain-boosting, tooth-friendly foods to eat:
We’ve divided each category of foods into three categories from least to most healthy. Here are the tiers! While it’s okay to indulge sometimes, consuming unhealthy food all the time can have a serious effect on your child’s physical and cognitive abilities.
Below are probably our least favorite lunch menu items and your child’s favorites! These foods are oozing with oil, salt, and sugar, so they taste great even though they’re unhealthy.
- “Brunch for Lunch”
- Pizza & PickUp Stix
- Rib-B-Que Hoagie
- Sweet & Sour Chicken Rice Bowl
- Mandarin Orange Chicken Rice Bowl
- Penne Alfredo
- Mac ‘n Cheese
- Garlic cheese toast
While “Brunch for Lunch” may seem like a cool concept, kids would really benefit from bringing their own lunch on these days. This meal often involves an extremely sweet, dessert-like breakfast, such as pancakes, french toast, or waffles, paired with sausage or eggs. The amount of sugar that’s in the maple syrup will have your kids bouncing off the walls before the crash during their math test after lunch! Sugar also causes cavities, so it’s a lose-lose situation.
Schools in Diamond Bar have partnered with Domino’s and PickUp Stix to provide fast food to students every few weeks. Since pizza and takeout Chinese food aren’t the healthiest foods, you might want to pack some extra fruits and veggies for your kids to snack on during the rest of the day. Otherwise, they may be stuck in a carb coma after lunch!
The Rib-B-Que Hoagies, Sweet & Sour Chicken Rice Bowl, and Mandarin Orange Chicken Rice Bowl would be healthy were they not coated in sugary sauces. Sugar is known to cause cavities. If your kids are already eating fruits, carbs, and additional Halloween treats (which all contain sugar), there’s no need to add more sugar into their meal with these sauces.
Penne Alfredo is another item on the school menu that may require you to pack a lunch for your child the day before. Alfredo sauce is mostly made of butter, heavy cream, and a little cheese. Plain penne offers little nutritional value. Instead of getting the school’s bland version of this dish, make your own version at home with whole grain penne or lentil pasta. You can also use more cheese and add tasty vegetables like bell peppers and broccoli to balance the meal.
There’s a reason why mac n’ cheese should be a side dish, not a main dish. There isn’t much protein or fiber in it! Also, as pediatric dentists, we love cheese because it has calcium and vitamins, but when mac n’ cheese is mass produced, it’s usually made from cheese powder that’s not very nutritious. Garlic cheese toast is another item that is delicious, but not necessarily appropriate as an entree. If you see it on the menu, you might need to give them extra snacks.
Below are foods that are pretty nutritious, especially when paired with the right sides.Of course, not all of these foods many comply with your child’s dietary restrictions, so make sure to check out the ingredients and nutritional information on Walnut’s nutrition guide.
- Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
- Rotini with Meat Sauce
- Mini Chicken Corn Dogs
- Popcorn chicken
- Hot Dog
- Grilled cheese sandwich
Both spaghetti and rotini with meat sauce provide carbs, protein, and a vegetable element (tomato sauce). They’re usually paired with a breadstick and salad at lunchtime, making for a pretty balanced meal!
The chicken corn dogs, tacos, and hot dogs all provide a great source of protein and carbohydrates. The grilled cheese is made with cheese, which is good for the teeth, and it’s usually paired with a tomato soup. While popcorn chicken and chicken tenders might seem like more of a snack, the school’s version is pretty healthy, without too much oil or salt.
Our top picks for elementary school lunch are those that are either a clean source of protein or include multiple healthy ingredients.
- Mini cheeseburgers
- Roast turkey
- Roast Chicken Drumstick
- Chicken and Cheese Taquitos
- Chicken Cheese Crispito
- Bean and Cheese Burritos
- Veggie burger
We like mini cheeseburgers and veggie burgers because they’re a tasty way to get protein and calcium. The school also provides a mini salad bar, so kids can add what veggies they want into their burgers. Letting your kids choose their own items will teach them to eat veggies of their own accord.
The roast turkey and chicken drumstick are both cooked in the oven, so your kids are getting a lean source of protein that isn’t fried or breaded. These items also usually come with steamed broccoli or green beans, so your children can get their vitamins and minerals, too.
The chicken cheese taquitos, chicken cheese crispito, and bean and cheese burrito all include a carb, protein, and calcium source! That’s why we love them! If your child has never had Mexican food, this is a great way to introduce them to a healthy version of it.
It’s also a good idea to incorporate extra veggies into your child’s meal! Leafy greens are particularly beneficial for brain power because they have glucosinolates that can reduce oxidative stress. They’re also bursting with healthy vitamins and antioxidants that’ll your child energized.
Items like broccoli, kale, spinach, and bok choy also have a fibrous texture that help scrub away plaque from the teeth. They also contain phosphorus, which is a compound necessary for strong, healthy teeth. Here are the veggies that most Diamond Bar elementary schools provide:
- Pinto beans
- Green Beans
- Fresh salad
- Steamed Broccoli
- Whipped potatoes
Kids are also encouraged to get various snacks at lunch, like crackers and cheese sticks. Encourage your kids to opt for fruit whenever they can. Apples, oranges, bananas, etc. are excellent for your children’s teeth and brains. They’re also mostly made of water, so they can help rehydrate the mouth and stimulate saliva to flush bacteria away.
- Spiral fries
- Sliced apples
- Bear grahams
- Assorted fresh fruit
- Dinner roll
- Orange Wedges
- Tater Tots
- Bread stick
- Smile fries
Most schools in Diamond Bar don’t offer soda or coffee, so you don’t have to worry about your children drinking these sugary, caffeine filled beverages. Kids can pick from milk, chocolate milk, or juice. Plain milk is the best way for your child to get the calcium they need, but juice and chocolate milk are pretty healthy, too.
We hope this guide helps you amazing meals for your child. If you’d like to check out the menu yourself, here is the Walnut District School Menu. It applies to schools in Diamond Bar including:
Diamond Point Elementary School
24150 Sunset Crossing Rd, Diamond Bar, CA 91765
Quail Summit Elementary School
23330 Quail Summit Dr, Diamond Bar, CA 91765
Maple Hill Elementary School
1350 Maple Hill Rd, Diamond Bar, CA 91765
Evergreen Elementary School
2450 Evergreen Springs Dr, Diamond Bar, CA 91765
Armstrong Elementary School
22750 Beaverhead Dr, Diamond Bar, CA 91765
Castle Rock Elementary School
2975 Castle Rock Rd, Diamond Bar, CA 91765
Golden Springs Elementary School
245 Ballena Dr, Diamond Bar, CA 91765
Pantera Elementary School
801 Pantera Dr, Diamond Bar, CA 91765
Our pediatric dentist serves Diamond Bar patients of all ages. She loves working with kids and their parents on dental education and preventative dentistry for their long-term dental health. If your child needs a checkup or cleaning, please give us a call or visit our Diamond Bar pediatric dentistry page here.