It’s often difficult to find brace-safe snack options, especially when kids and teens are used to choosing pretzels, chips, popcorn, crackers, and the like, for snacks. So let’s discuss some snacks to eat with braces!
Braces or other dental implements are pretty common with tweens and teens, so recognizing how they affect eating is important to know how to work with them and ensure your adolescent is continuing to eat well.
If you haven’t been here before, you should know I’m a big proponent for adolescent and teens’ regular eating and snacking. Snacks help them meet their nutritional needs for growth and development. “Snacks” are just another opportunity for eating; they don’t have to be anything to fear or limit!
Read more about creating nourishing and satisfying snacks
How braces affect snack choices
Braces have a few things to consider that may affect the snacks braces-wearers eat.
With all the brackets and wires, food can easily get stuck, and it can be time consuming and difficult to clean braces properly. Without maintaining dental hygiene, the risk of cavities is greater. It can be helpful to chose food that doesn’t get stuck as much.
Those same brackets and wires can break if food is too sticky or crunchy. This can be painful when wires poke plus increasing the time you need to wear braces. Avoiding these foods is generally necessary for the time you’re wearing braces.
When braces are adjusted, they hurt! The mouth is sore, and it can be painful to chew. Choosing soft foods that don’t require chewing can be helpful- like smoothies, yogurt, puffs, or soft cheeses. Some people find cold foods to be soothing, like popsicles, frozen fruit, or frozen kani sticks.
While some of the snack ideas below will address these concerns, especially preventing breaking brace parts and helping stay nourished even when it’s hard to chew, when it comes to dental hygiene, that can’t be helped with food choice alone.
It is ideal to stick to eating times (versus continued snacking or grazing) to assist with mouth hygiene. After a meal or snack, wash out your mouth (floss if able!) and then move along with a new activity. Bacteria thrive when there is constant food available for them. When there’s time without a food source (ie, your mouth is clean), there’s nothing for bacteria to eat, thereby decreasing the chance of getting cavities.
Read this post on more benefits of scheduled meals & snacks
What snacks can I have with braces?
Eating balanced meals and snacks is fully possible even with braces, as there are plenty of options within each food category. And in general, most foods just need some tweaking to make them braces-friendly!
- Fruits: sliced, canned, freeze dried, frozen-defrosted, pureed
- Vegetables: sliced, canned, pickled, baked/boiled/stir fried
- Carbs: cereal- hot, or cold in milk, bread, wraps, Popcorners, Pirates Booty or other puffs
- Proteins: soft cheeses, nut butters, turkey slices, yogurt, eggs, kani sticks
- Sweet snacks: cookies, chocolate (without caramel or nuts), ice cream, pudding, hard candy (if you don’t bite them)
Satisfying snacks to eat with braces
Because we want to make snacks satisfying and providing long-lasting fullness, combining foods is key. Choosing food with protein or fat helps with satiation and food enjoyment, while ensuring snacks have a source of carbohydrates ensures kids and teens receive their body’s preferred source of energy, and their preferred foods.
Snack ideas for braces
- Fruit & yogurt smoothie
- Puffs and turkey slices and pickle slices
- Apple sauce and peanut butter on a slice of bread
- English muffin pizza with vegetables of choice
- Muffin with chocolate milk
- Berries (fresh or frozen) and yogurt
- Cereal and milk
- Pancakes with Nutella and banana slices
- Soft pretzel with cheese dip
- Hard boiled eggs, instant ramen
- Clementine with string cheese
- Cream cheese wrap with smashed canned carrots
- Nacho platter: nacho chips, salsa, cheese, olives (avoid the crunchy chips)
- Yogurt and M&Ms
- Thinly sliced apples and cheese
- Cookies & grapes
- Nori (dried seaweed) & cucumber slices