Do you need ideas for soft foods for braces to feed your child, tween, or teen? Read on to find my list of tips and ideas for what kids can eat with braces, especially new braces or recently adjusted braces where teeth are tender. I have some ideas to share as a parent of a child recently new to braces. I’m living this road of parenting right now so I hope my ideas can help other parents in this same scenario:)
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Our Story & What We Didn’t Expect
As a parent, you know it’s possible your child may need braces for their teeth someday. We were told our oldest wouldn’t need braces for his teeth until surprise…he did. The dentist found an impacted canine that got missed on a previous x-ray; plus, they said hey, that canine in his mouth is actually a baby tooth. Say what? My teenage son thought he had lost all his baby teeth and the canine was just a smaller tooth. Nope. Wrong. We needed braces for our son, including a plan for oral surgery to attempt to pull his canine tooth out of the roof of his mouth and into place.
We were all not happy; and ugh for the pain of it all and ugh for the cost. However, we knew we needed to do it. Plus, his orthodontic evaluation brought to light other issues that braces could fix for him. This was to be our road, like it or not.
I waited patiently in the waiting room for the two hours it took the orthodontic staff to apply the braces on my son’s teeth. We were headed out the door and the orthodontist’s advice for him was to eat soft foods for braces and take ibuprofen. I thought, okay, we can do that.
However, I came to find out quickly that I would have liked more information than that.
An extra few bumps…
I would have liked more education than “eat soft foods” being a parent new to a child with braces. We got home and as my son became hungry, he found he was completely unable to chew. He told me he couldn’t chew because his top and lower jaw could no longer meet due to “these glue bumps that had been added” to his teeth on both sides. The staff had told him the glue bumps on his teeth were for his overbite. He was told this was to protect his top teeth from knocking off his lower braces and it would wear down with time. We expected the soreness, but we did not expect his complete inability to chew so I was not prepared with foods at home that would work for him and these unexpected bumps.
I quickly read the pamphlets the orthodontic staff sent home with my son and there was a list of foods he was not supposed to eat, but there were no ideas of what he could eat. I had to run to the store brainstorming ideas for soft foods with braces.
Soft Foods for Braces; What You Can Eat With Braces
So, not only did we need soft foods for braces as all kids with braces must turn to, we needed foods that didn’t need to be chewed with the extra bumps added to two teeth on either side his lower jaw.
Food ideas that Do Not Require Chewing:
That day when the braces were fresh, I had to brainstorm ideas for foods that did not need to be chewed and quick because I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t realize what I needed to have on hand. This is where I wish the orthodontist would have filled me in on all this when we had our evaluation, but I just didn’t get that. So, I hope this helps my fellow parents out so you don’t end up in a scramble as I did.
I have found the following ideas for food to be great for right after the braces were put on and after adjustments when the teeth may be more sore or tender. I’m a mom and a nurse so being healthy and offering proper nutrition to my son are super important to me. Growing kids need their calories, vitamins, and other nutrients to continue to grow and be healthy, plus to be full and happy (no hangry tweens/teens please).
- noodle soup with very small short noodles, or any soup that is smooth like tomato soup, cream based soups or bisque
- yogurt or Gogurt®
- yogurt drinks
- smoothies (adding ripe bananas to smoothies works very well)
- cream of wheat
- applesauce or other fruit sauce
- milk, dairy or non-dairy
- protein drinks
Muscle Milk Pro Series Protein Shake, Knockout Chocolate, 40g Protein, 14 FL OZ, 12 count
- breakfast shakes by far my son’s fave is the breakfast drinks:
Carnation Breakfast Essentials Ready To Drink, Rich Milk Chocolate, 8 Fl Oz Bottle, 24 Pack
- ice cream without chunks
- shakes or malts
- iced tea
- protein powder added to smoothies or yogurt
- sports drinks
- soda pop (our orthodontist recommends none or up to one a day)
- broth to sip on
- coffee drinks with milk added
- fruit juice popsicles like apple, orange, or grape
- very soft cheeses like American cheese that can dissolve quickly in the mouth or softened by the tongue
- peanut butter on a spoon, just as it sounds, scoop up peanut butter on a spoon and eat it (my boys have always loved to do this!)
- scrambled eggs (my son was able to eat this the next day after braces, I chopped them up as fine as possible)
- hot chocolate made with milk (or warm if hot hurts their teeth)
- cottage cheese
My son has never been a fan of soup, so we used the other ideas more than the soup idea. But, soup is literally perfect because you often don’t have to chew it and it fills you up.
Food ideas that require minimal chewing because they are cooked or soft:
These types of soft foods for braces will be perfect throughout the whole treatment with braces.
- soup with small pieces of food
- french toast
- french toast sticks
- oatmeal with small chunks of food
- grapes with soft peels
- pears with the peel removed
- cucumbers (with peel removed)
- cooked vegetables
- macaroni and cheese
- pasta with red or white sauce
- scrambled eggs
- canned fruit like peaches or pears or pineapple
- baked squash
- mashed potatoes (white or sweet)
- shredded cheese
- refried beans
- small pasta rings with spaghetti sauce and grated Parmesan cheese
Food to progress to with time as teeth become less tender:
My research and my experience have brought me to the realization that cooked foods are better than uncooked foods for braces.
- However, very small pieces or slivers of raw carrot or apple are okay if your orthodontist approves (ours does)
- sweet bean chili
- soft crackers
- soft bread
- string cheese
- slices of block cheese
- sandwich meats that are sliced thin
- pizza with soft crusts…my son LOVES pizza, so I will buy the take and bake pizzas and cook them at home to slightly undercook them to make sure the crust is soft
- eggs; fried, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, etc.
- soft dried fruits like raisins
- Chicken and rice
- baked potatoes
- boiled and buttered potatoes
- crepes (may need to be cut up)
- baked beans
- baked salmon
- cooked vegetables
- grilled cheese or grilled ham and cheese
- fried egg and cheese sandwich on soft bread
- toasted slices of bread with jelly, jam, peanut butter, cocoa hazelnut spread
- PB&J sandwiches
- soft bread rolls
- donuts and donut holes (though omitting or limiting sugar is extra important with braces)
- potato salad
- pasta salad
- egg salad sandwiches
- cereal that has been softened with milk (let it sit before eating)
- french fries, if soft
- soft dessert cookies or soft breakfast cookies or bars
- soft shell or tortilla tacos with ground beef or ground chicken taco meat
- meatless tacos with refried beans and shredded cheese and salsa, or better yet smooth taco sauce
- burritos (cut up)
- soft grilled meats cut up into small pieces
- sloppy joe’s on soft buns (cut up and eaten with a fork might work best)
- au gratin potatoes
- quiches or egg bakes
- chicken fingers that aren’t too crusty
**Tips for Soft Foods with Braces: cook it, cut it up, use canned foods**
I hope this post helps you in your journey to parent your child through braces. It’s definitely a challenge, especially for picky eaters. I’m always learning as a parent and I hope to share my new findings along the way. If your child has or had braces, I’d love to see your food suggestions in the comments below. We can help each other out.
Thanks for reading!
Looking for other tips for parenting tweens and teens? Read these:
Eat well and enjoy life!
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