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Getting Braces? Meal Plan for the first week!

bracesIt's sad when your tween has the same diet as your baby!  Blog reader, Heather, emailed me desperate for ideas beyond yogurt and applesauce.  Her poor child WAS a great eater, but now that she can't eat nuts, granola, popcorn, crusty bread, and "pretty much anything that crunches", she's been struggling to know what to eat.

This is actually perfect timing, as my Erica is about to get her first appliance in a couple of weeks.  So, here is our best attempt at


What foods are off limits:

  • Hard nuts, candies, hard fruits (like apples and pears)
  • Hard vegetables (like carrots and corn on the cob)
  • Chips
  • Taco shells
  • Pizza crust
  • pretzels
  • Sticky stuff like taffy, gum, caramels
  • Foods high in acidity that could cause discoloration like lemons, limes and sodas.

So, here goes our First week of braces meal plan:

  Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
Monday Oatmeal prepared with milk, mashed pears, and cinnamon Cold pasta salad with very small tomatoes and cucumbers (peeled) and shredded chicken Homemade tapioca or pudding Spaghetti with pureed veggies in the sauce (carrots and spinach) and lean ground beef
Tuesday Crispy rice cereal with yogurt on top (the crispy rice gets soft in the company of the yogurt) Tuna salad Avocados, mashed or chopped with salsa. Baked potato bar (topped with cottage cheese)
Wednesday Fluffy scrambled eggs (made with milk to make fluffy).  Banana cut into small pieces, or mashed Blueberry muffins with strawberry, ruhbarb applesauce Cottage cheese mixed with diced peaches Chili
Thursday Swiss Muesli with finely chopped dried fruit and soaked all night Creamy Polenta Hard boiled egg with soft cheese and olives Grilled Tofu Satay
Friday Smoothies (like the power gold smoothie) Homemade macaroni and cheese Plain Greek yogurt mixed with chopped strawberries Miso Soup with veggies and tofu
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01/30/2011 7:43am
I bought my daughter the carrots that are cut like chips. They are still hard but she can eat them with braces without damaging her brackets. She can also eat apples if she slices them up. Braces can definitely be frustrating! She especially misses popcorn.
01/30/2011 7:58am
Thanks Rachel! I'm sure we'll be cutting up many things.
01/30/2011 8:05am
[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Healthykids, Martell Thornton and Iva Young, Healthykids. Healthykids said: Do you have a child getting braces? Eating yogurt and applesauce gets boring. Try this meal plan for more options.... [...]
01/30/2011 1:01pm
Take heart, TK had braces for about 9 months when he was about 9. It was not nearly as bad as I anticipated... we mostly just cut more (apples, corn on the cob, etc). We don't really allow gum anyway but he did miss popcorn.
01/31/2011 10:16am
This is a fantastic idea, but my daughter is a vegetarian. Do you have other meal plans that don't include meats?
01/31/2011 10:27am
Funny thing Kim, I was trying so hard to find more protein foods when I was making this. This meal plan is quite skimpy on the meats, and would be super easy to just take it out. However, my Dr. Fuhrman menu probably takes second place with a little amount of meat here: I'll see if I can come up with some more vegetarian alternatives. Thanks for reading!
01/31/2011 12:37pm
I have worked as an Orthodontic Assistant since 2002 and thought I would share some info with you... :) The soreness will abate within a week and your child will go right back to eating normal foods. After that first period of soreness they may have a day here or there where they are sore, but never again like the 1st week of braces. Great ways to get them through it are with Smoothies and Hot tea/chocolate. The warm and cold help loosen up those ligaments and many times Orthodontists use Heat Activated wires, so sipping something cold helps with the rigidity of the wire as well. You can also try giving them some Advil 20 minutes before meals to make eating less painful and have them chew sugar free gum as it doesn't stick but also the chewing motion loosens up the ligaments around the teeth. I hope this was helpful to you, the first week can be absolutely miserable but it doesn't last forever, luckily. :)
01/31/2011 7:32pm
Thanks for sharing Brooke! It is good to know it won't last forever!
01/31/2011 7:36pm
Thanks Michelle. I remember always cutting my corn off the cob! I was so sad not to eat it altogether! :) I got over it though.
01/31/2011 7:36pm
Rachel- I don't blame her. I love popcorn!
02/03/2011 9:37pm
As a mom with braces, I'm on board with Brooke...after every tightening I'm eating soft foods for a few days, but then I'm back to normal. And, the first couple weeks with them on had me wondering why I wanted straight teeth...but that pain passed too. I will have to say, if Alex or Soph end up with braces, this is one Mom that will know all the tricks from recent memory ;D (I'm about 2 months from being braces free though and can't wait!!!)
02/10/2011 8:37pm
Not that I'm the best expert, but I have two 10-yr-olds in braces since July of last year. They regularly eat taco shells, pizza crust, crackers, and pretzels. They can eat apples as long as they are sliced, same with pears. I guess we're lucky because they have the braces that are self-adjusting and they never have "tightening" so there's been very little pain. We absolutely stay away from gum, caramels, sticky stuff, etc., but the "hard" healthy foods we thought were out haven't been a problem at all.
01/16/2012 9:04pm
I'm going to get braces sometime this year and some of my friends have them and I absolutely DON'T WANT TO GET BRACES!!!!!!! Can you help me change my mind?
01/16/2012 9:08pm
I might be getting braces this year and I have no idea what to eat and what. it to eat but this really helped me find out is there anything for me to eat that is something that I can now??
02/22/2012 9:15am
My daughter got braces about a month ago - wish I had this plan then! We're adjusting well - still getting used to all the dietary changes. (That girl LOVES her crunchy snacks!) She has done lots of smoothies - the coldness helps alot. For a trip to the movies with friends, I bought her individually packaged Pirates Booty, and she didn't miss the popcorn. We've also done some baked casseroles - butternut squash mac & cheese has been a real comfort food for her - also a yummy turkey shepherd's pie.
04/13/2012 10:35am
i got my braces yesterday, and they hurt alot... i cant eat anything properly.. i miss my cruchy food alot... i cant even chew anything... wen i try to chew i feel as if my tooth is goona brake... i dont want these braces... let my teeth be howere it wants to be... tats the though which always comes on my head... i hope this pain goes away soon.... coz its horrible :(
07/10/2012 8:21pm
im new to braces im getting them on tommorow at 1:00pm what should i eat with my new braces for the first time ever and stop the pain when the brackets rude against my gums and the wire pocking me in the back any help plz!!!:)
10/04/2012 7:39am
I just got braces yesterday and dont like them what so ever they really hurt and i am so hungry what makes it worse im pregnant and need to eat aot of food to keep up my energy i just wanna take them out myself :)
Shelley Green
12/10/2012 6:59pm
I am 29 years old and got braces about a month ago. Due to a deep bite and turbo brackets on my front two teeth, I can not touch any of my teeth anywhere in my mouth. Nobody has really mentioned this online. I am not in pain but am unable to chew because my teeth don't touch...literally. I am running out of meal ideas and seem to be eating mashed potatoes and meatloaf way too often. I don't weigh much as it is, so getting a little worried. Any other ideas?
12/18/2012 8:13pm
So sorry to hear about that! Here is a link for more soft food ideas: Good luck!
05/15/2013 2:40pm
Wish I'd seen this blog-stream when it started! I'd love to point people to my books, website, blog and FB pages that address "taking the bite out of braces!" After getting my three teens through braces, plus having my own second-round, adult braces, I've gathered many comfort, care and cooking ideas. Please see so we can all share what works. Regarding the need for really soft (no-chew) foods, pureed sweet potatoes and cream of wheat with protein powder mixed in are two possibilities. If you can manage meatloaf, then I think scrambled eggs with melted cheese and protein powder or tofu mixed in would also work. Best wishes everyone - it's so worth it.
07/21/2013 2:53pm
Thanks! This helped me out a lot... I got my bottom braces on Thursday and my teeth have been killing me ever since... Besides the fact that my braces gave me a huge ulcer on my gum but oh well... Finally i'm excited to try some of this stuff so that way i can finally eat something! Thanks!
08/21/2013 2:57pm
Would love to know how you're doing, now that your braces have been on for a month. Any favorite recipes yet?

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