As you probably know, many gooey, gummy, chewy, sticky, and hard foods can easily cause problems with braces. This rules out a number of things that kids typically like to eat, making it just a little harder to come up with meal ideas your son or daughter will go for. So, we thought we’d offer a little inspiration if you need healthy lunch ideas for kids with braces. These work at home, or if your child is bringing lunch to school.
Even with avoiding foods that can damage braces, remind your kid that proper brushing and braces care are still important, and that he or she should even brush after lunch at school.
And, as a side note, we mention whole grain breads and crackers below; avoid those that contain pieces of grain or seeds, as these are prone to getting lodged behind braces brackets or wires.
Braces-Friendly Lunches for Kids
- Sandwiches on whole wheat bread with a deli meat like turkey or ham, tuna salad, or egg salad are a healthy and satisfying option. Add some shredded soft cheese, lettuce, and tomato. The bread can easily get stuck in braces, though, so again, cleaning them after the meal is important. Cutting the sandwich into bite-size squares can help, though only younger children are likely to appreciate that.
- Mini sandwiches on whole grain crackers are a fun alternative to traditional sandwiches that are less likely to gunk up braces as much as bread can. Just provide the crackers and each element of filling (e.g., appropriately sized circles of deli meat or a mayo-based salad, thin and small slices of a soft cheese, chopped or shredded lettuce, etc.), and your child can build his or her own mini sandwiches.
- Wraps cut into thin coins are another alternative to sandwiches or mini sandwiches on crackers. Because some tortillas can be a little tough, cutting the wrap into smaller pieces makes it easier and safer to eat. And of course you have all the same filling options as with a regular sandwich.
- Pasta salad made with a whole grain pasta, olive oil, some chopped up soft veggies, and a protein like chicken or beans makes for a healthy, braces-friendly lunch. A soft cheese like fresh mozzarella or feta can work well too in many recipes.
- Pita triangles with hummus are healthy, satiating, braces-friendly, and even fun to eat. If your kid likes cherry tomatoes or pitted olives (make sure they’re pitted!), these make good accompaniments.
- A thermos of soup—any kind of soup your child likes—is easy to eat with braces, and it can be made with all sorts of proteins, vegetables, and whole grain pastas. It’s a little more time-consuming to prepare than the other options here, but a large batch will keep for a while and provide multiple meals for multiple people in your family.
- Yogurt and berry parfait is so easy to throw together, and it offers protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and more, making it one of the simplest healthy lunch ideas for kids with braces.
- Any soft fruit, like berries, grapes, melon cubes, or applesauce, makes an excellent side for a braces-friendly complete lunch. Soft veggies like slices of cucumber or bell pepper with some ranch dressing or other dip are another good side option.