Smile-Friendly, Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids With Braces
Summer is officially here! That means no school, days spent soaking up the sun, and, for parents, let’s face it, a whole lot of snack requests. While thinking up healthy snack ideas for kids can be challenging any time, when your child or teen has braces, it can feel even more daunting. Well, you’re in luck! As your go-to orthodontist in the Upstate of South Carolina, we’re sharing 7 braces-friendly, healthy snack ideas for kids.
What to Eat With Braces
Before we dive into the snack ideas, let’s have a quick refresher of what to eat with braces, as well as the foods to steer clear of. When your child or teen has braces, they can still eat most of the things they love. However, when they first get their braces put on and following adjustments, their teeth might be a little sensitive. Having them forgo hard foods to chew and stick with soft foods, as well as cold foods and drinks, can be helpful until any discomfort subsides.
Some of the best soft foods for braces include yogurt, applesauce, smoothies, ripe bananas, soup, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and protein shakes.
When your kiddo is ready to tackle their usual diet again, it’s actually less about what to eat with braces and more about how to eat with braces. Have them cut or break foods into bite-sized pieces and chew with their back teeth. They should refrain from biting into or tearing at foods with their front teeth.
Foods to Avoid With Braces
There are some foods to avoid with braces, particularly anything really hard, chewy or sticky. Not only are many of these hard foods to chew when you have brackets and wires in your mouth, they can also damage braces, resulting in the need for a repair appointment.
Sticky Foods to Avoid With Braces:
- Tootsie Rolls
- Gum that contains sugar
Hard Foods to Avoid With Braces:
- Popcorn (the unpopped kernels can damage braces)
- Hard taco shells
- Pizza crust
- Hard rolls
- Hard candy
- Corn chips
Chewy Foods to Avoid With Braces:
- Very chewy bagels
- Beef jerky
Foods You Have to Bite Into:
In addition to the foods you can’t eat with braces mentioned above, it’s also important that kids don’t bite directly into foods like:
- Whole, raw apples and carrots (you can cut them into small, thin slices)
- Corn on the cob (take it off the cob)
- Meat on the bone (take it off the bone)
While kids can have treats like ice cream, soft cookies and plain chocolate, we always recommend that our South Carolina braces patients enjoy them in moderation. Since the brackets and wires create more places for plaque and food particles to hide, eating a lot of sugary and starchy foods can increase your child’s risk of tooth decay.
Our Healthy, Braces-Friendly Snack Ideas for Kids
Okay, now on to the good news. As we said, kids and teens can continue to enjoy most of the foods they did before braces. So, snacks like fruit, yogurt and cheese are all still on the menu. But, if you’re looking to liven things up a bit in the snack department, here are 7 ideas:
- Tropical Green Smoothie
Simple Green Smoothies has a recipe for a super delicious green smoothie that contains fresh spinach, banana, frozen pineapple and frozen mango. The key to preventing bits of spinach is to thoroughly blend the spinach with the water prior to adding the other ingredients.
This smoothie is one of our favorite healthy snacks for kids with braces (or any kids) because it delivers a serving of vegetables with zero spinach flavor. Even the pickiest of eaters will like it. Since it’s cold and doesn’t require chewing, it’s ideal for the first week of braces treatment or after adjustments. Get the recipe here.
- Banana Boats
Banana boats are great snacks for kids since they’re simple to make, easy to eat and healthy. Peel a banana and slice it in half. Slather each half with peanut butter, almond butter, or, if your child has a nut allergy, sunflower butter. Sprinkle some coconut flakes over the peanut butter and enjoy.
- Fruit and Yogurt Popsicles
Popsicles are a braces-friendly food as long as your child doesn’t bite directly into them. Instead of the usual variety that’s packed with sugar, make your own. Sally’s Baking Addiction has a recipe for blueberry yogurt swirl popsicles that only contain three ingredients (Greek yogurt, fresh blueberries and a small amount of honey or agave). They’re packed with protein, calcium and antioxidants. You can swap out the blueberries with your child’s favorite soft fruit, such as chopped peaches, strawberries or raspberries.
- Zucchini Muffins
Everyone needs a treat now and then, and zucchini muffins are like a healthier form of dessert that kids are allowed to eat for breakfast. Cookie + Kate has an excellent zucchini muffin recipe (just leave out the optional nuts). This version is naturally sweetened and there are instructions to make the muffins vegan, gluten-free and/or dairy-free if needed.
- Hummus and Snap Pea Crisps
Looking for healthy, store-bought snacks for kids with braces? Hummus and snap pea crisps are a great option. Snap pea crisps (Harvest Snaps is a tasty brand) provide the crunch of chips but they’re so light, they won’t damage braces. Plus, they’re made with wholesome ingredients. Kids can dip them in hummus for a filling snack that delivers essential vitamins and minerals. If you can’t find snap pea crisps, cucumber slices are another way to get a nice, braces-friendly crunch.
- Overnight Oats
Overnight oats are so popular because they can be made in advance, they taste good and they contain protein and complex carbohydrates to keep growing kids and teens feeling full for longer. While often eaten as breakfast, overnight oats can serve as a braces-friendly snack, too. Try these peanut butter overnight oats from Minimalist Baker.
- Mini Crustless Quiches
Last, but not least, in our round-up of healthy snacks for kids with braces are mini crustless quiches from Healthy Little Foodies. The quiches are simple to whip up and full of protein, calcium and an array of vitamins. Not only do they freeze well, but you can also customize them with your child’s favorite veggies.
Now that you have plenty of healthy snack ideas for kids with braces, is helping your child or teenager get a beautiful smile on your to-do list this summer? Schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Buddy, Dr. Adam or Dr. McKee at Davis Orthodontics in Greenville, Greer, Simpsonville, Anderson, Clemson, Walhalla or Spartanburg, SC today!