5 Super Snacks for the Big Game

By Dr. Sheryl Hunter Griffith, DDS and Dr. Elizabeth Chen, DDS, MS
Kids Healthy Teeth

Are you ready for the Big Game? A championship get-together demands super snacks but not at the expense of your teeth. That’s why we’ve put together a few tasty game day snacking ideas with healthy ingredients.  Of course, these are snacks, and none of them are perfect. Regardless of what you eat, don’t forget to brush!

Spicy Jalapeño Dip

Jalapeno Ranch Dip

What’s in it:

  • 1 16 oz. tub low-fat sour cream
  • 1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch (or other brand) Fiesta Dip
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and cubed
How it’s done:
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend thoroughly.
2. Serve the dip with raw vegetables such as carrots and celery.

What makes it tooth friendly:
This dip with a kick will make your veggies disappear. Raw veggies require lots of chewing which stimulates and promotes healthy gums. Carrots contain beta-carotene that your body uses to create vitamin A which works to build strong teeth. The sour cream in this dip gives your teeth a boost of Calcium which also helps to keep your teeth strong.

Hummus with Cucumber

Cucmbers and hummus dip

What’s in it:

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, one drained, one with liquid
  • 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 tablespoon parsley

How it’s done:
1. Place all ingredients in a blender in the order listed except for the cucumber.
2. Blend for approximately 1 to 1 and a half minutes, pulsing as necessary.
3. Slice up the cucumber into thick pieces for dipping.
4. Place hummus in serving bowl and drizzle additional olive oil on top with some parsley for garnish.

What makes it tooth friendly:
Protein rich chickpeas don’t contain any saturated fat or cholesterol, making hummus a good choice for your overall health. Chickpeas are also rich in folic acid, which keeps your mouth healthy by promoting cell growth throughout your body. As to the cucumbers, not only are they a healthy alternative to chips, but they are rich in vitamins B and C and have even been shown to help freshen breath and naturally whiten teeth!

The Party Standard: The Meat & Cheese Tray

Football shaped cheese and meat platter

What’s in it:
This party tray is a cheese buffet with Gouda, White Cheddar, Havarti and Chipotle Jack. Shaped like a football field on a kale turf, it includes red grapes, whole wheat crackers and summer sausage.

What makes it tooth friendly:
The cheese on the sidelines plays quarterback in this party tray. Cheese is a tooth powerhouse with tons of tooth strengthening calcium and a protein called casein which is amazingly effective in protecting the surface of your teeth. One note about the crackers, however.  We chose whole wheat crackers for their beneficial fiber, but all crackers can stick to teeth and promote bacteria growth. Again, just be sure to brush after the game!

Baked Cheese Roll

Goat cheese dip

What’s in it:

  • Goat Cheese Log
  • Grape or Olive Oil
  • 1 small carton of Grape Tomatoes (sliced)
  • Basil Pesto
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • French Bread or Crackers
How it’s done:
1. Preheat oven to 350°
2. In a jelly roll pan or small casserole dish, add approximately 1/4 inch of grape or olive oil.
3. Place goat cheese in the pan and cover with pesto, then grape tomatoes.
4. Bake for 20-30 minutes, remove from the oven and drizzle with balsamic glaze.
5. Serve with French bread or your favorite healthy crackers.

What makes it tooth friendly:
If cheese made from cow’s milk is a powerhouse, goat cheese is a touchdown. It contains more protein and calcium than cow’s milk cheese and yet has less fat and calories per serving. The higher calcium of goat cheese means even more protection for your teeth.

Healthy 7-Layer Dip

7 layer dip

What’s in it:

  • 3 Cups black beans
  • 6 Oz. Greek yogurt (plain)
  • 1 Cup shredded cheese
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 1 chopped chive
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 seeded and diced Jalapeño
Pico De Gallo:
  • 2 small diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 seeded and diced Jalapeño
  • 1 chopped chive

How it’s done:
1. Mix together all ingredients for the pico de gallo.|
2. In a separate bowl, mix the ingredients for the guacamole layer.
3. The ingredients can be added in the following order (starting at the bottom): beans, yogurt, cheese, olives, guacamole, pico de gallo.

What makes it tooth friendly:
This dish has it all and it’s a great update of what is usually a calorie dense snack.  While tomato and citrus juices can be tough on your teeth because of their high acidity, the cheese and Greek yogurt help to balance that out.  Plus, this dish is high in vitamins E, A and C, which are all essential for a healthy mouth.  Choosing celery or another vegetable over chips would make this an even better choice for your teeth.

Remember, regardless of what you choose to snack on during the Super Bowl, be sure to brush twice a day for two minutes each time!

About the Authors 

Dr. Sheryl Hunter Griffith (Practice: Kids Healthy Teeth in Katy, Texas)
Dr. Sheryl Hunter Griffith is a native of the Houston area. She attended the University of Houston at Clear Lake City, then, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; obtaining a Doctorate of Dental Surgery in 1982. She practiced General Dentistry; then, returned to UTHSCSA, graduating in 1987 with a Post-Doctoral Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry.

Dr. Griffith is involved in numerous dental organizations which promote research, education, prevention and restoration of dental diseases. Among these are the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, the Houston Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the Greater Houston Dental Society. Dr. Griffith is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and has been an Active Member since 1986.

Dr. Elizabeth Chen (Practice: Kids Healthy Teeth in Katy, Texas)
Dr. Elizabeth Chen was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She attended high school at St. Agnes Academy and went on to play collegiate soccer in Austin, TX, at St. Edward’s University. Following in her parents’ footsteps, Elizabeth returned to Houston and received her Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Texas School of Dentistry where she graduated salutatorian in 2013. Immediately after receiving her Doctorate, Dr. Chen started her residency in Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Texas School of Dentistry in Houston graduating with a Post-Doctoral Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry and a Masters of Science in Dentistry in 2015.