Braces-Friendly School Lunches

If your pre-teen or teenager is home for the summer, it’s easy to provide braces-friendly lunch options. The school lunchroom, though, presents another challenge altogether. What menu selections are most compatible with braces? And what can you put in that lunch box or brown bag to provide a tempting, healthy lunch during school hours? Let’s look at some options!
From the Cafeteria

Encourage your student to stick with soft foods that don’t require biting into. Some good choices include:

Soup, either creamy or with soft vegetables
Salads without crunchy vegetables or croutons
Soft, shredded chicken or beef
Egg or tuna salad
Tofu
Pasta
Meatloaf
Macaroni and cheese
Soft casseroles
Steamed vegetables
Mashed potatoes
Soft breads or tortillas
Bringing a Lunch?

There are many great options for packing a lunch bag! Just remember to keep foods at the proper temperature, with insulated containers for hot foods and two cold sources, such as two frozen gel packs, for cold foods.

Sandwiches with soft filling (no chunky peanut butter!) on soft bread. Thinly sliced, easy to chew cold cuts will work, but cold cuts like salami are too chewy. Cut the crusts off if necessary. Cutting sandwich wedges into smaller portions will also make them easier to eat.
Hard boiled eggs
Hummus and soft pita wedges
String cheese and soft crackers
Applesauce
Yogurt
Soft fruits such as berries or bananas
Jell-O or other gelatin dessert cups
Pudding cups
When to Say “No, Thank You”

If you have to bite into it, if it’s chewy, or if it’s crunchy, it’s best to choose something else! Here are some common culprits when it comes to broken brackets and wires:

Caramel
Hard candy
Popcorn
Whole carrots
Whole apples
Hard rolls
Pizza
Corn on the cob
And remember to send your child to school with a brush and floss to clean teeth and braces after lunch. Dental hygiene is very important now, because brackets and wires can both trap food particles and make brushing them away more difficult. This can lead to increased plaque, cavities, and staining around the area of the braces. If it’s impossible to brush, be sure to remind your student to rinse thoroughly with water after eating.

Lunch hour should be a time to relax, get together with friends, and recharge for the rest of the school day. Talk to us about the most (and least) braces-friendly foods and recipes. By learning what foods to avoid and adjusting some old favorites, your school-age child can continue to enjoy healthy, tasty lunches. Most important, visiting Drs. Fidler and Huang at our Bellevue, WA office for an emergency repair will not be on anyone’s list of afterschool activities!

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