School’s out, new braces are on, and your kid is rummaging around your kitchen wondering what to eat. Sound familiar? Adjusting to a new braces diet can be challenging, especially during the summer months. Vacations, camps, trips to the movies, and more downtime at home mean more opportunities for snacking and access to foods that are off-limits for kids with braces.
You need to be proactive in preparing your child for these changes, but remember to keep things positive. Yes, there are many kid-favorite foods that can damage braces but there are many foods that can be enjoyed. We need to help them see that, just because they can’t sink their teeth into popcorn, sticky treats, and corn on the cob doesn’t mean that they can’t enjoy a wide variety of other fun summer eats and treats. Here are some ideas to whet your appetites.
What To Eat
In the hot summer months, there’s nothing like the refreshment of an ice cold frozen drink. We love smoothies because they are easy to prepare ahead (think individual baggies in your freezer ready to blend), the options for variety are endless, and you can sneak in more of the healthy stuff without sacrificing flavor. Also, your older child may have fun learning to use the blender. If you think they’re ready for that let them give it a whirl.
Another fun idea is breakfast for dinner. There are many breakfast foods that are safe for braces. Eggs, pancakes, oatmeal,and muffins are braces friendly foods so get online and find some creative new recipes for the weekly rotation. Be careful with some recipes that may include hard ingredients like nuts or bacon. Otherwise, the sky’s the limit on what you can try. You can even bake an egg in a potato if you want.
During busier times, you will want to have some grab-and-go braces friendly foods at the ready. Yogurt and cottage cheese are good, healthy choices; many yogurt brands offer tubes and pouches you can squeeze and eat. If your child is experiencing a sore mouth day, consider serving up soft and safe-to-eat comfort foods like mashed potatoes, pasta or soup.
What Not to Eat
As a reminder, hard, sticky and crunchy foods are ones to avoid; the worst perpetrators include Jolly Ranchers, Twizzlers, Now & Laters, Snickers, hard breads (such as pizza crusts), and ice. That said, many foods are ok to eat as long as your child is careful. When in doubt, cut the food into small, bite-sized pieces and chew slowly. For foods like ribs and fried chicken, have them remove the meat from the bone before eating — no chomping into a chicken leg!
As long as you keep hard, chewy, crunchy, and sticky foods off the menu, you have our full permission to experiment and try new foods you may never have considered otherwise! If your child feels frustrated or discouraged, get them involved in finding and tasting new braces friendly foods they may have not otherwise tried. Keep things positive and before you know it you will be celebrating a straight and smooth new smile.