With braces, it’s important to avoid sticky, chewy, and tough foods. This includes a number of very common fruits and vegetables – and we know it can be tough to get kids to eat those to start with!
But kids can still enjoy a wide variety of fun foods even while they have braces. You might need to substitute certain ingredients or change the way you prepare them, but it will be worth the effort.
Some seasonal foods might be off the menu during the “summer of braces,” but that doesn’t mean there are no treats children can enjoy. With a little help from you, they can spot options that keep them on the road to straight, healthy teeth!
Let’s see some common summer scenarios and which snacks are up for grabs:
Summer Cookout Foods
Summer is the time for barbecue here in Florida! Barbecues are common in July – before, during, and after the Fourth of July. Kids don’t have to miss out on the fun, but help them make the right choices so they don’t bend a bracket or break a band!
Here are some picks for summer cookouts:
1. Grilled Cheese
2. Hot Dogs
Hamburgers and cheeseburgers can present problems for kids with braces depending on how they are cooked. On the other hand, hot dogs are almost always acceptable as long as they’ve been cooked through. Condiments like ketchup, mustard, and relish give plenty of flavoring options. You can’t really go wrong here, just be sure toppings you’d usually serve up raw (like onions) are cooked to soften them up.
Soft tortillas filled with cheese provide another great option that can be cooked up on the grill in just a few minutes or prepared with a pan in the kitchen. The traditional way to enjoy meat fillings here is to shred them, making them easy to chew. Be sure to brush afterward to keep pieces from getting stuck.
Theme Park Concession Stand
Now’s the ideal time to head out to your favorite carnival, theme park, or water park. Between the rides and slides, you’ll no doubt want to stop for a bite to eat. Luckily, there are plenty kids can have in these parks. Just beware of the sugar!
1. Soft Pretzels
The traditional soft pretzel with salt and a soft hint of butter is an iconic theme park treat that’s just fine for braces. In fact, just about anything “pretzel-like” works. For example, cinnamon churros are nearly always safe. If you’re not quite sure, taste one yourself before the kids do!
2. Cotton Candy
Cotton candy might just be the most sugar you’ll find in one place, but from the perspective of a Port Orange orthodontist, it’s safe for braces. Cotton candy melts within seconds in the mouth and won’t get stuck – but don’t eat it within the first few days of getting braces, because teeth will be sensitive.
3. Ice Cream and Popsicles
It may be best to get your ice cream in a bowl rather than a waffle cone since crunching down on the cone could get shards stuck in braces. Popsicles are a terrific alternative, too, since they are meant to be savored without chewing.
Beach Picnic Foods
It may be a little bit of a drive from Port Orange, but it can be wonderful to see some of Florida’s lovely beaches when the weather warms up. There are bound to be food trucks selling yummy treats on the beach, but you can also pack treats from home that will be just as good.
1. Mashed Potato Bowls
Most kids like mashed potatoes, and there are all sorts of mix-ins you can use to pep them up. Shredded cheese, sour cream, and even (shh!) steamed vegetables can make their way into the bowl. For extra fun, let your kids add their own toppings when you’re at home packing up for your picnic.
Smoothies present no problems for braces most of the time, but keep an eye on what’s mixed in – little cookie and fruit bits can get trapped in brackets. Drinking a smoothie through a straw makes the process go faster and is safer on the braces.