Food for Kids With Bracesby A. Elizabeth Freeman
When your child has braces, there's probably a lot of focus on the foods he can't eat, such as sticky candy, hard fruits and popcorn. Chewing gum is off limits, too. Distract your child from craving the foods he can't have at the moment with some delicious braces-friendly foods that are good for the rest of his body as well.
While some fruits, such as bananas and peaches, are all right to eat whole when your child has braces, others, such as apples and berries, may be off limits because of their hardness or the presence of seeds. Pureeing fruits eliminates their hardness and straining them removes any pesky seeds. To make the smoothie, pour 1/2 cup milk into a blender, then add 1 sliced banana and another cup of your child's favorite fruit, cut into small pieces. Puree in a blender, and then push that through a fine mesh sieve and into a glass to strain any seeds in needed.
Crispy potato chips may be off limits to your child with braces, but most other potato preparations are safe for braces. Serve a batch of mashed potatoes as part of dinner after your child gets his braces tightened or when he gets them for the first time. Grate potatoes and fry in oil for hash browns or mix with shredded onion and an egg and fry for latkes. Top the latkes with sour cream and applesauce, if you wish. If you want to add more fiber or beta carotene to your child's meal, trade regular potatoes for sweet potatoes or try mashing several root vegetables, such as turnips, carrots and potatoes, together.
Most children with braces need to avoid raw vegetables, since they are too hard and can damage the metal work. Sautéing in oil makes vegetables, such as zucchini, carrots and onions, much softer and adds a bit of flavor to the proceedings as well. Slice the vegetables into thin rounds or cut into matchsticks to make them easier for your child to eat. Heat a bit of olive oil in a pan, then add the vegetables. Cook them until tender and soft, at least 10 minutes.
Scrambled eggs are soft, fluffy and a great source of protein. Serve them to your child for breakfast or for an off-the-beaten-path dinner. If you would like, add finely chopped vegetables to the eggs before cooking. You can serve the eggs with pancakes or another soft bread product, but avoid giving your child chewy breads, such as bagels.
Children with braces can safely eat pudding, since it is soft enough to slip past their teeth without getting trapped on the wiring. Pudding is a great option for a dessert immediately after a trip to the orthodontist, since it requires minimal effort to eat. Soft desserts, such as brownies, cake and muffins, are also great sweet treats for children with braces. Make sure you avoid giving your child any treats with nuts, though, as they can damage the braces.