Sugar’s Secret Sources

Watermelon pizza

As a pediatric dentist in Flower Mound, we know that summer is most every kid’s favorite time of the year.

We love summer too, of course, for many of the same reasons.

We get to enjoy barbecues, camping trips, pool parties, birthday parties, and great summer holiday parties with our friends and family. What could be better?

When you start thinking about the foods and drinks that come along with those fun activities, though, you realize one thing– the sugar starts to add up quickly.

All the sugary drinks (including soda, lemonade, and sports drinks), popsicles, ice cream, candy, and even fruit smoothies can catch us by surprise if we’re not careful.

We do see more tooth decay after summer vacation ends, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With that in mind, we decided to share some of our favorite, low-sugar summer recipes with you.

Cooking and Planning Together

As a parent, you have to be realistic. We understand that you can’t keep all sugary treats out of your child’s diet, especially in the summer months.

What we can do, however, is cut down on sugar in smart, strategic ways and help replace those sugary treats with foods that are equally fun, but much healthier.

Some children are pickier than others, but most every child loves sugary drinks and sweet treats. Sometimes it’s hard to get them to abandon their old ways and start eating a little less sugar, especially when it’s hot outside and there’s fun to be had.

Fortunately, we know a little trick that works most of the time.

Make meals and snacks together.  

Even if your little one isn’t much “help” when they help you in the kitchen, it can work wonders.

When you create food from recipes alongside your children, they’re more inclined to eat, and enjoy, those foods.

When they become invested in the process and the outcome, amazing things can happen.

Low-Sugar Summer Recipes

That being said, you’re probably looking for kid-friendly recipes. Most of us aren’t blessed with adventurous eaters for children, so we need to stick with healthy variations on old favorites and kid-approved staples.

This post at Daily Mom is a great start. Jessica offers recipes for low sugar popsicles and watermelon pizza, which are healthy, refreshing, and delicious.

Growing Human Kindness also has a ton of snack and dessert suggestions, all of which focus on low-sugar diets. The author shows you how to make fruit smoothies that are actually healthy and low on sugar, as well as some quesadillas that are both easy and fantastic.

You can also find 15 low-to-no-sugar desserts over at Delish, including carrot cake and chocolate lasagna.

Here are some more suggestions:

  • Watermelon Kiwi Pops – There’s a little added sugar in this recipe, but it’s nothing compared to a store-bought popsicle. These frozen treats are healthy, flavorful, and sure to please. You can find the simple recipe here.
  • Parmesan Crusted Chicken Strips – These chicken strips are flavorful and healthy, but they can be even more healthy if you serve them over spinach, with a salad, or with a sugar free tomato sauce. Recipe here.
  • Sugar-Free French Toast Casserole – This breakfast treat eliminates the traditional sugar and butter, but still tastes great. Your kids won’t know the difference. You can also prepare it the night before (it’s quick) and pop it in the oven right after you wake up. Here’s the recipe.
  • Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad – This pasta salad is cool and refreshing, so it’s perfect for barbecues. The leftovers store well, and it’s satisfying enough to be its own dish. It also avoids extra sugar and fat. Plus, it has a great, mild flavor. Find the recipe here.
  • Grilled Hot Dog Skewers and Creamy Avocado Dip – Most of us love hot dogs on a summer evening. Kids love them because they’re tasty and simple. But they don’t have to be unhealthy. This recipe eliminates the bun, which often includes sugar, and substitutes grilled tortillas and a delicious, healthy dip. You can get the recipe here.
  • Porcupine Meatballs – This clever little recipe calls for adding rice to the meatballs. When they start cooking, the rice forms (totally safe) little spikes, so they look like porcupines. Kids will love the novelty of the texture and overall look, and they’re healthy and flavorful to boot. Recipe here.
  • Zesty Taco Salad – This taco salad includes beans, greens, tomatoes, chives, some tortilla chips, and lean ground beef or ground turkey. It’s simple, it’s tasty, it’s a variation on a favorite, and it’s healthy. You can find the recipe here.
  • Garlic New Potatoes – These potatoes simmer in chicken broth and roasted garlic, which makes them extra tender and flavorful. A perfect side dish, and great for leftovers. Recipe here.
  • Sugar-Free Spiced Applesauce – This recipe is good for breakfast, snacks, or a side dish at dinnertime. It also works as a topping for oatmeal, yogurt, or cottage cheese. The recipe’s author also tells you how to sweeten (or unsweeten) the recipe to taste. You can find the recipe here.

When it comes to replacing sugary drinks, we find water is always the best option. But this watermelon smoothie and this lemon blueberry smoothie are both low in sugar and high in refreshment factor.

Working as a pediatric dentist in Flower Mound, we know firsthand how all that extra summer sugar can damage your child’s teeth. But with a little planning, some fun times making food with your child, and regular dental checkups, you’ll all get through the summer with healthy smiles.

Do you have a less sugary recipe you’d like to share? Contact us today and we’ll make sure to share it on our social media!


A Healthy Mouth is a Happy Mouth!

~Dr. Duffy

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