Football season is upon us once again, and that means inviting friends and family over to watch your favorite team play while chowing down on a cornucopia of finger foods, salty snacks, and delicious desserts. As most people could probably guess, football food isn’t usually the best for you, and the harmful effects of sugar-laden sauces, candies, and soda can have detrimental effects on your teeth as well! Instead of serving the traditional fare of enamel-destroying pretzels, pizza, and coke, try these healthy options at your next big watch party!
Hummus with Vegetables
The ideal alternative to chips and salsa, hummus with vegetables are the perfect football snack for a variety of reasons. Chickpeas (which hummus is made from) are not only high in protein and low in saturated fat, they are also rich folic acid, which helps keep the mouth healthy by promoting cell regrowth and tissue regeneration. Vegetables like cucumbers have been shown to help freshen breath and naturally whiten teeth, while carrots contain beta-carotene, which helps to strengthen teeth.
Meat & Cheese Tray
Just because something is great for you doesn’t mean it has to taste terrible! The meat and cheese tray, a football favorite, is packed with enamel-fortifying calcium, protein, and, when served with whole-grain crackers, fiber! Both cheese and crackers have a tendency to get stuck in teeth, though, so be sure to brush after the big game!
Chicken Wings (Without BBQ Sauce)
A football food staple, chicken wings contain phosphorus which, when combined with calcium and vitamin D, is what our body uses to make strong bones and teeth. Wings, then, should only be avoided if smothered with a sweet, brown sugar-based sauces–just like candy, the sugar in these sauces can erode tooth enamel and cause cavities. To protect your pearly whites, try a mustard- or vinegar-based wing sauce; if you you like your wings spicy, try using spicy brown mustard or curry powder in your recipe.
Spicy Jalapeno Dip
Though the jalapeno dip isn’t the healthiest snack, it encourages football watchers to eat their cucumbers, broccoli, carrots, and celery! Also, because the dip is sour cream-based, it is easily washed away from teeth with water!
Like chicken wings, eggs contain a lot of phosphorus, which fortifies tooth enamel and protects against cavities. Though most deviled egg recipes use a mustard and mayonnaise base for the “filling,” this gametime favorite can be made healthy by substituting mayo with calcium-rich Greek yogurt.