Like many Americans, you’ll probably hit up your fair share of barbecues, cookouts, and picnics this summer. Though they’re sure to be filled with tempting treats, too many sugary foods and drinks can take a toll on your teeth over time. Here are a few better-for-you alternatives to consider the next time you find yourself in front of a summer spread:
- Fresh fruits are always a good choice. When your sweet tooth strikes, skip the cookies and cake in favor of some strawberries or a juicy slice of watermelon.
- You really can’t go wrong with grilled or fresh veggies. Bonus: Many delicious vegetables are in season over the summer, including cucumbers, peppers, green beans, peas, radishes, tomatoes, and zucchini.
- When it comes to side dishes, avoid baked beans since they’re usually covered in a sauce made with brown sugar or molasses. Green beans are an excellent alternative. If you can’t envision a BBQ without baked beans, though, try a sugar substitute or maple syrup (less is required to make the beans sweet). Browse online for a recipe of your liking.
- If you have barbecue sauce options, steer clear of anything labeled Kansas City (KC) style. KC sauces are typically very sweet and loaded with sugar. Memphis and North Carolina sauces are better choices – Memphis is well-balanced with tomato and vinegar, while North Carolina is vinegar-based with a cayenne kick. Your best option is to skip the sauce and use salt, pepper, and other seasonings instead.
- Thirsty? Do your teeth a favor and skip the sodas. Water is always the best bet, of course, but sugar-free iced tea is also refreshing without being harmful to your smile.
With just a few swaps like these, your summer can be full of fun and good oral health. Enjoy!