Happy New Year! Now that we’ve made it through 2020 (*breathes sigh of relief*), most of us are probably hoping for a fresh start in 2021. Whether that involves the always popular New Year’s resolution to eat healthier or not, who couldn’t use a few nutrient-packed, delicious recipes? Being that we’re a Tarrytown Pediatric Dentist and Orthodontist, we’re putting a braces-friendly twist on things by sharing six healthy, braces-friendly recipes to start 2021 off right.
What to Eat With Braces: An Overview
Before we dive into the recipes, let’s have a quick refresher on eating with braces. When it comes to what to eat with braces, you can still enjoy most of the foods you love with a few exceptions, which we’ll get to shortly. However, when you first get your braces put on and sometimes after adjustments, your teeth can be a little bit sensitive. If that’s the case, sticking with soft foods and cold foods and drinks can be an excellent form of braces pain relief.
Some great soft foods to eat with braces include yogurt, smoothies, soup, mashed potatoes, applesauce, ice cream, scrambled eggs, oatmeal and protein shakes. Once any discomfort subsides, you can go back to your normal diet. In general, it’s actually less about what to eat with braces and more about how to eat with braces. Never bite directly into foods. Instead, always break, cut or tear food into small, bitesize pieces and chew with your back teeth. This will keep your appliance safe.
What Can You Not Eat With Braces?
A common question we get is, what can you not eat with braces? Patients sometimes have a misconception that they have to give up a ton of foods during their treatment but that’s not the case. That said, there are some foods to avoid with braces because they can cause broken brackets and loose wires, which could necessitate a repair appointment. Here’s what not to eat with braces:
- Really hard foods like nuts, unpopped popcorn kernels, pizza crust, Doritos, big pieces of raw carrot and hard taco shells
- Sticky foods such as caramel, Starburst, gum, licorice, Sour Patch Kids and taffy
- Chewy foods including hard, chewy bagels, tough meats and beef jerky
- Foods you bite directly into like whole, raw apples, meat on the bone and corn on the cob (meat off the bone and corn off the cob are fine!)
While soda, sports drinks and sugary treats don’t necessarily fall under what not to eat with braces, you should indulge in them in moderation. When you have braces, the brackets and wires create more places for plaque and bacteria to hide and an excessive amount of sugary foods and drinks can increase your risk for cavities. Okay, now that you know what to eat and what not to eat with braces, it’s on to the recipes!
Healthy, Braces-Friendly Recipes
Here are some of our favorite tasty, healthy recipes that are safe to eat with braces:
- Creamy Kale Smoothie – If you’re looking for braces pain relief, a smoothie will work wonders since it requires no chewing and it’s cold, which helps numb your mouth. Plus, you can cram a whole bunch of healthy ingredients into a single serving without much effort. Prevention has a recipe for a creamy kale smoothie (it’s number one on this list) that contains kale, pineapple, Greek yogurt, almond milk and honey. The Greek yogurt provides a dose of protein, as well as calcium for teeth, while the kale is incredibly nutrient dense. Don’t worry, you won’t taste the leafy greens!
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese – Mac and cheese is one of the go-to soft foods to eat with braces. This healthier, gluten-free version from Eating Well relies heavily on butternut squash to achieve the creaminess we all know and love. While it still has cheese in it, hey, it can be written off as a way to hit your daily value of protein while getting some important calcium for teeth. The addition of chickpea pasta will supply an extra protein boost too.
- Plant-Based Lentil Sloppy Joes – These vegan sloppy joes from Minimalist Baker are just as saucy and sloppy as your meat-based ones. The healthy, braces-friendly recipe uses lentils instead of ground beef as the source of protein and texture. Not only is this meat-free meal a good source of vitamins and minerals, low in saturated fat and easy to make gluten-free, it’s also delicious and fast to whip up.
- Chicken and Bean Burritos – While hard taco shells might be on the list of what not to eat with braces, soft tortillas are not, making Cooking Light’s healthy recipe for chicken and bean burritos fair game. The high-protein, high-fiber meal will leave you feeling full and satisfied. To make it even more braces-friendly, avoid getting the tortilla too crispy and cut the burrito into small pieces to eat.
- Curry-Roasted Cauliflower Sweet Potato Salad – This healthy, braces-friendly recipe has it all: veggies, spices and vitamins and nutrients galore. The roasted vegetables are soft, making them a good braces food and the dish happens to be whole30, vegan and gluten-free friendly, checking quite a few common New Year’s resolution boxes.
- Healthy Homemade Ice “Cream” – Even though ice cream is another fan favorite among the soft foods to eat with braces and it’s great for braces pain relief, let’s face it, it’s more of an occasional treat. This healthy version from All Recipes gets that ice cream texture with frozen bananas, frozen strawberries, almond milk and vanilla extract. It has no dairy and no added sugar.
There you have it, six healthy, braces-friendly recipes to start your year off right. If you also resolved to get a beauty, healthy smile this year, schedule a complimentary in-person or virtual consultation at 914 Smiles in Tarrytown, NY today!