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Braces-Friendly Lunches

Posted on August 22, 2022

It’s that time – back-to-school time! The school year can be hectic at times, for students and parents. With everything parents must do to get ready for school, there is one way to make each week go a little easier, and that is having plenty of ideas for simple lunches. Whether you meal prep or prepare the night before, we have compiled a list of school lunch/snack ideas for kids with Snellville braces (these work for adults too 😊)

First, let’s review the basics for food & braces in Atlanta–

What are the BEST foods to eat with braces?

When kids or teens first get their braces put on, & even after an adjustment, teeth can be very sensitive and sore for a day or two. Sticking with soft foods for the first few days will be extremely helpful in easing that discomfort. The ideal soft foods for braces include things like protein shakes, smoothies, mashed potatoes, mac n cheese, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, soup, yogurt, and anything else that doesn’t require a great deal of chewing.

Once the pain subsides, they can go back to their usual braces diet, they can still eat most of the foods that they enjoy. To prevent any breakage, have them cut or break food into small, bitesize pieces, chew with their back teeth, and refrain from biting directly on the bracket.

Foods like whole raw apples, corn on the cob, or meat on a bone are a natural no-go, but can easily be manipulated for enjoyment: thinly slice your apple, shave the corn off the cob, and remove the meat from the bone- VOILA- ENJOY!

What should you not eat with braces?

There are some foods to avoid. Trust us, this small sacrifice will be well worth that awesome smile once your child is done with treatment. A simple rule: if it crunches, that is a sign that it is probably too hard for braces. Let’s start with lunchbox & cafeteria faves:

Chips: Kids should avoid eating most chips with braces. Things like Fritos, Cheetos, kettle-cooked chips, Doritos, and tortilla chips can bend braces wires. Any chips that sort of melt in the mouth or are not hard enough to damage their braces are okay, such as certain baked chips or cheese puffs. Caution: take small bites, only one chip at a time, and be sure to brush your teeth afterward.

French fries: Absolutely!! If your child or teen is craving this salty snack, fries are better than chips! They’re soft and won’t cause an issue.

Pizza: Yes, pizza can be eaten with braces, just forgo the crust.

Popcorn: Avoid this snack! Unpopped kernels can wreak havoc on your child’s brackets and wires. Popcorn hulls can also get stuck in their gums, between the teeth, and around brackets, leading to inflammation and gum abscesses.

Salad: Patients can definitely eat salads with braces on; no excuses to skip their greens & veggies. Be sure to cut up the lettuce into small pieces, skip the croutons, & avoid large hunks of crunchy, raw veggies. Top salads with bitesize pieces of cucumber, tomatoes, finely diced bell peppers, shredded carrots, beans, avocado, shredded chicken/turkey, and shredded cheese– all the good stuff!!!

Note to our patients with palatal expanders–

If your child wears one, in addition to avoiding hard, sticky, & chewy foods, they will want to be extra cautious with stringy foods. Beef or meat with lots of sinew & oranges with fibers can get caught in their appliance, so it is best to wait until after they are finished with the expander before trying to enjoy these.

What to eat for lunch with braces from the cafeteria?

For days your child or teen will be eating lunch from the cafeteria, have them stick with choices like:

  • Salads: fresh, chicken, tuna, or egg (leave out the crunchy stuff)
  • Sandwiches with a soft crust
  • Pizza (skip the hard crust)
  • Mac n Cheese
  • Pasta
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Apple sauce/ fruit cups
  • Bananas
  • smoothies/ yogurt
  • Steam veggies
  • French toast sticks or pancakes
  • Meatloaf
  • Sloopy joes
  • Soup
  • Fish sticks

Easy School Lunch Ideas to Make From Home:

As promised, on to the easy school lunch ideas for braces wearers and we have included some of our favorite recipes for some of them:

  1. Soft pita bread with hummus for dipping, edamame, and diced peaches
  2. Creamy peanut butter (or Sunbutter) and jelly on soft whole wheat bread, sliced strawberries, and a pudding cup
  3. Turkey and cheese pinwheels (turkey and cheese on a soft tortilla shell, rolled up, and cut into rounds), cherry tomatoes, and snap pea crisps
  4. Hard-boiled eggs, easy-to-eat veggies like cherry tomatoes or thinly sliced cucumbers with dressing to dip in, and a muffin that doesn’t contain nuts
  5. Strips of marinated and baked tofu, soft-baked potato or sweet potato wedges, and blueberries
  6. Burrito bowl (beans, rice, shredded meat or tofu, salsa, and avocado- Here is a simple yet delicious favorite of ours to try )
  7. Egg or chicken salad on soft sandwich bread and a clementine
  8. Pancakes with almond butter, fresh berries, and a container of Greek yogurt
  9. Quinoa or couscous mixed with leftover roasted veggies and topped with balsamic dressing, string cheese, and a Jell-O cup
  10. Burger (beef or veggie- Here is an amazing recipe that is beef but has veggies hidden in the patty as well) Be sure to put on a soft roll and air-fried sweet potato fries.
  11. Cheese quesadilla with guacamole and salsa for dipping and a banana
  12. Whole wheat crackers (Ritz crackers will melt in your kiddo’s mouth), cottage cheese, and a fruit cup
  13. Overnight oats (these recipes are braces-friendly and delicious) and cubes of watermelon
  14. Pasta salad, grapes, and a soft-baked cookie
  15. Pasta with meatballs or veggie meatballs and snap peas
  16. Greek yogurt, berries, and cheerios (or other easy-to-eat cereals)
  17. A salad of sliced tomatoes and mozzarella, a soft roll, and applesauce
  18. Bean and cheese burrito with a side of leftover roasted veggies
  19. Mashed chickpea salad (chickpeas mashed with a fork and mixed with mayo or veganaise, sliced grapes, and thinly shredded carrots), soft pita slices, and a fruit cup
  20. Peanut butter (or Sunbutter) and banana pinwheels (peanut butter and banana slices on a soft tortilla shell, rolled up, and sliced into rounds), steamed peas and carrots, and a container of yogurt

We hope these easy school lunch ideas for kids with braces will help to ease you and your child into a wonderful school year! If your child has not been evaluated by an Atlanta orthodontist yet, or, if you are ready to kick off their smile journey, schedule a complimentary consultation at Silver Smiles Orthodontics in Snellville & Midtown Atlanta, Ga.


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Your smile’s waited long enough.

No one knows smiles like the orthodontists at Silver Smiles. If you’re ready to get a smile that makes you want to smile, you’ve found the right solution at Silver Smiles Orthodontics.

If you’re in need of general dental work like cavity repair, teeth cleaning, caps, crowns or veneers, give us a call and we’ll be happy to refer you to an outstanding general dentist in your area.