The holidays are a time to be with family and friends to share the joy and warmth of the season. These gatherings are often full of delicious meals and treats that help make the season bright, but can have the opposite effect on your teeth!
Since some holiday foods can be a threat to a cavity-free, healthy smile, we reached out to our family of pediatric dentists for their input on tooth-healthy recipes to help keep both your holiday AND smile bright.
Greek Yogurt Pancakes
When you have some extra time with family this holiday, one of the biggest treats are the kind of casual family breakfasts that busy schedules often prevent. This breakfast favorite uses a combination of healthy portions and includes some healthier ingredients compared to regular pancakes, and when served with fruit, provides a great balanced start to the day.
This recipe makes 4 large or 8 small pancakes
3 ounces of your favorite Greek yogurt
1⁄2 cup flour
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- Open the yogurt container and stir the yogurt until it’s smooth and creamy.
- Crack an egg over the yogurt and stir to combine leaving. The resulting
mixture should be pale yellow in color and have a few lumps here and there.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking soda.
- Pour yogurt/egg mixture into the bowl with the flour and baking soda. Stir to
combine. The batter will be extremely thick.
- Spoon the batter onto a sprayed griddle or pan heated to medium-high.
- Flip the pancakes when they start to bubble a bit on the surface.
- Cook until golden brown on both sides and serve with fruit
Spinach & Artichoke Frittata Trees
Not only is this treat a bite-sized burst of flavor, it is rich in calcium to strengthen the enamel layer of your teeth, and folic acid and zinc which are both beneficial in fighting gum disease. NOTE: This recipe uses a silicone Christmas tree mold, but you can substitute other shapes to fit your need
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups fresh spinach, torn into small pieces
1/4 marinated artichokes, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 large Eggland’s Best eggs
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream or milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
A pinch of salt
A dash of black pepper (optional)
butter, to grease mold
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pour olive oil and minced garlic in pan and heat over medium heat until garlic begins to sizzle.
- Add torn spinach leaves and chopped artichokes and sauté until spinach is wilted. Allow to cool completely.
- If using roasted garlic just toss it in with the spinach and artichokes.
- Whisk eggs, whipping cream, Parmesan cheese, salt and black pepper.
- Toss in the spinach artichoke mixture. Pour an equal amount into each silicone mold cavity.
- Set mold on a baking sheet, for stability and bake for 24-26 minutes until puffed and slightly browned.
- When done, immediately turn your mold over and allow the frittata shapes fall out of the mold.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
When the cold weather blows in, there are few things as comforting as a steaming bowl of soup. This fall/winter favorite avoids sugary additions and relies on the natural sweetness of the pumpkin and the cream to round out the flavor profile. Rich in vitamins A and C, this delicious dish promotes healthy gums and teeth.
6 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
1½ teaspoons salt
4 cups pureed pumpkin
1 medium-sized onion
½ teaspoon thyme
1 clove garlic
5 whole black peppercorns
½ cup heavy whipping cream
Sprigs of fresh parsley
- Chop the onion and mince the garlic.
- Heat the stock in a pot on the stove, adding the salt, pumpkin, onion, thyme, garlic and peppercorns.
- Once the broth starts boiling, lower the heat and simmer without a lid for approximately 30 minutes
- Pour the contents of the pot into a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Once blended, return the liquid to the pot on the stove and simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring in the heavy cream.
- Add a sprig of fresh parsley and serve hot!
Lentil and Cashew Roast
This full-flavored, filling roast offers a healthy dose of calcium and phosphorus to strengthen tooth enamel, and everyone's favorite antioxidant, vitamin C, to maintain healthy gums. Plus, this recipe is also gluten-free and great for vegetarians.
1 large onion
2 stalks celery
1 red bell pepper
1 green chili pepper
6 medium carrots
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
2 cups lentils (brown or green)
3 cups shredded cheese
5 ounces cashews
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Soak, cook and drain the lentils.
- Chop the onion, mince the garlic and shred the carrots. Dice the celery, bell pepper and chili pepper.
- Grate the cheese, and coarsely chop the cashews.
- Cook the onion and celery in an oiled skillet, stirring until celery is soft.
- Add carrots, garlic, bell pepper, chili pepper, cumin, salt and peppercorns and cook for two minutes.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix lentils, grated cheese and cashews. Dump in the cooked vegetables, add eggs and mix well.
- Pour into a greased pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees until loaf is firm (about an hour).
- Enjoy with family and friends!
There are few foods more often associated with the holidays than cookies, but all of that sugar is bad for your diet and worse for your teeth!
This recipe replaces the sugar that would normally be a holiday feast for cavity-causing bacteria with Xylitol, a natural sweetener derived from plants which breaks down differently than regular sugar and helps promote a neutral pH level in your mouth to avoid the damage caused by the acids which cavity-causing bacteria produce when eating regular sugar.
2 cups coconut oil
1½ cups xylitol
1 teaspoon maple extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
A handful of whole almonds
- Cream coconut oil and xylitol together.
- Add eggs and beat well. Beat in extracts.
- Combine dry ingredients and slowly add to creamed mixture.
- Drop by tablespoonfuls two inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet.
- Press an almond into the center of each cookie.
- Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire racks and enjoy!
We hope you enjoy making and sharing these recipes with your family and friends, and encourage you to take pictures of your efforts and share them with us through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for the entire Children’s Dental Health family to see.
But even if you aren’t inclined to tackle these culinary treats, here are a few tooth-healthy take-aways to remember when finding or crafting your own holiday goodies:
- Avoid sticky foods, as they work their way into hard-to-clean spaces in your mouth and can become a holiday feast for the bacteria which cause cavities.
- Limit the amount of overly sugary treats and carbohydrates you eat to further starve those sugar bugs waiting to cause oral health problems.
- And ALWAYS brush your teeth vigorously twice each day and floss at least once to ensure that the joys of holiday feasts today aren’t followed by sorrows in the dentist’s chair!