One of the first things our Vancouver and Coquitlam braces patients want to know is what to eat with braces. While Dr. Lee and our team at Evergreen Orthodontics always make sure to go over braces-friendly foods and explain what’s off limits (e.g., taffy, gum, whole raw carrots or apples and popcorn), we know sometimes patients are left scratching their heads when it comes time to put their braces diet plan into action. First, we have to say you can still eat most of the things you love, however, when you initially get your brackets and wires put on, and after adjustments, your teeth might feel a bit sensitive, so soft foods and cold drinks will be your best friends. The same goes for our Invisalign patients who may experience sensitivity when they wear a new set of aligners. Being the helpful, food-loving office we are, we’re eliminating the guesswork for you with a compilation of 20 awesome braces recipes.
1. Jump-Start Smoothie from Delish
This smoothie is one of our favorite recipes for braces wearers because it’s cold and soft and will soothe your mouth. Plus, it contains antioxidants from the fresh strawberries and blueberries, vitamin C from the orange juice, the slightly spicy flavor of ginger and protein and calcium from low-fat yogurt.
Steamed vegetables are definitely among the top soft foods to eat with braces but let’s face it, they can be boring on their own. Betty Crocker found a way to amp them up. The recipe combines fresh steamed vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots make great choices) with a sauce made from butter, garlic, grated lime peel, a teaspoon of finely chopped Serrano chili pepper, salt and fresh lime juice.
3. Pancake Sandwiches from Yummy Toddler Food
Looking for ideas for braces-friendly school lunches? Well, we have a cool one for you! Instead of a hard roll that can run the risk of damaging brackets, make sandwiches with soft, fluffy pancakes. Simply add a thin layer of peanut butter and some slices of banana (make sure your child rinses with water or brushes after since peanut butter can get stuck in braces) or a bit of cream cheese and a drizzle of honey.
4. California Sushi Roll from All Recipes
Sushi is the ultimate braces food. It’s bite-sized, healthy and soft. This recipe for California rolls is fairly easy to make. Add it to your list of recipes for adults with braces, though kids and teens will probably love it too.
5. Banana Green Smoothie from Buzzfeed Food
You’ll get a serving of veggies (without even tasting them) from a cup of baby leaf spinach, a dose of protein from almond butter and unsweetened nonfat Greek yogurt, calcium from almond milk and a touch of sweetness from the vanilla extract and frozen, peeled banana. Yum!
Avocado is nice and soft and brimming with good fats and the tomatoes and red onion in this salad are cut into small pieces, making them easy to eat with braces. Add chickpeas for a protein boost. The simple dressing of olive oil, lime juice, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Tiny orzo pasta barely requires chewing and grilled zucchini is tender, yet it’s the Mediterranean flavors that make this a must for our list of braces safe recipes. In addition to the aforementioned orzo and grilled zucchini, you’ll find olive oil, shallots, the zest and juice of lemons, fresh dill and feta cheese for one tangy dinner.
8. Applesauce Puffs from Moritz Fine Designs
These braces friendly snacks will satisfy all ages but are especially good to throw in lunchboxes. They’re made with Bisquick, sugar, cinnamon, applesauce, milk, egg, oil and melted butter and then scooped into a muffin pan. The little puffs are a sweet, soft, muffiny treat.
9. Simple Chicken Soup from Food Network
Chicken soup is a classic, satisfying, warming choice, particularly when teeth are feeling extra sensitive. This recipe combines chicken, broth, carrots, celery, chopped onion, white rice, parsley and a sprinkle of kosher salt that will taste like it came from grandma’s kitchen.
10. Vegan Tofu Vanilla Shake from Simple et Chic
This high protein, healthy, vegan version of a milkshake is the ideal food for braces wearers. We know some people have preconceived notions about tofu but the silken variety this recipe calls for gives it a thick, rich feel. It has no flavor so the shake takes on its dessert-quality from the vanilla, banana and agave. Almond milk, chia seeds and rolled oats round out the ingredient list.
When it comes to recipes for kids with braces, mac and cheese is always a sure bet. Homemade is a lot healthier than the kind that comes in a box and this version is a breeze to whip up. Elbow macaroni, butter, flour, milk, cheddar, salt, pepper and dry bread crumbs come together for a gooey, delicious meal.
Straighten your teeth and have your comfort food too! Cooking beef in a crockpot ensures it’s soft and easy on the mouth and mashed potatoes are a braces patient’s go-to. The combination is warm and hearty.
13. Fish Sticks from Eating Well
Fish sticks are a surprisingly braces-friendly option since they’re soft on the inside and easy to cut up or bite with the back teeth. Plus, they tend to be kid-approved. This easy recipe involves tilapia coated in bread crumbs, cereal flakes, flour and spices.
14. Tangerine Pudding from Southern Living
Of course, we have to include dessert for braces patients and this is a twist on your ordinary pudding. Fresh tangerine juice is thickened up with tangerine peel, cornstarch, sugar, eggs and butter. The recipe isn’t hard but it does require a lot of whisking and some chilling time. It will be well worth it when you taste it. If you’d prefer a traditional version, try this chocolate pudding recipe
15. One-Bowl Carrot Apple Muffins (Vegan and Gluten-Free) from Minimalist Baker
These muffins are perfect for anyone with dietary restrictions and they make a healthy breakfast or snack. We’d recommend skipping the raw walnut topping if you’re wearing braces unless you crush or grind the walnuts up really fine. We love that this recipe can be made in one bowl too. If you’re feeding them to the kids, the banana, applesauce, agave nectar and cinnamon will throw them off the carrot scent.
16. Shredded Pork Tacos from Real Simple
While biting into a hard taco shell can be risky when you’re wearing braces, soft tacos get the green light. The shredded pork in these soft tacos will melt in your mouth and the spices add tons of flavor. Top it off with sour cream, cilantro and lime wedges for serving.
17. Deviled Eggs from Epicurious
Deviled eggs are soft and a good source of protein. Have them for a snack or make them for your next party or barbecue. If these are for the kiddos, maybe skip the cayenne pepper and just sprinkle them with paprika. If you love spicy food, you could even increase the cayenne. As a bonus, you can put these together quickly.
18. Kid-Friendly Pasta Salad from Food Network
Since pasta salad doesn’t require heating up, this is another great idea for school lunches for braces wearers. Mix pasta in a fun shape with pieces of bacon, grape tomatoes that have been cut in half, small pieces of cheddar cheese, thinly sliced green onions and chopped basil leaves. The dressing consists of mayo, whole milk, white vinegar, salt and a pinch of sugar.
After a braces adjustment, turn to soup! Pumpkins pack a wallop of nutrients and you won’t miss the dairy in this recipe. Onion, garlic, pumpkin puree, vegetable stock, olive oil, lite coconut milk, maple syrup, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of cayenne pepper combine to make a healthy but substantial soup with warm flavors.
20. Scrambled Tofu Fried Rice from Kitchen Treaty
Crumbled up firm tofu replaces egg and infuses the dish with protein, iron and calcium. It’s stir fried with onion, garlic, toasted sesame oil, ginger, spices, brown rice, corn kernels, peas and soy sauce for a quick, nutritious and braces-friendly meal. After the rice is made, the total prep and cooking times is a mere 12 minutes so it works well for busy nights.