When you have a child with braces, one of the toughest adjustments for them can be a change in diet. Unfortunately, braces may prevent your child from eating some of their favorite foods, especially if those foods are extra crunchy or sticky. If you want to make sure your child maintains a healthy, balanced diet while they have their braces, here are a few tips to help you out.
Roast Crunchy Veggies
When your child has braces, they’ll likely need to stop eating crunchy foods that could damage their brackets and wires. That means a lot of crunchy veggies will be off the table for a while. But when the average time a person spends with braces on is about two years, it becomes apparent that you need to find some way to help them get the nutrition they need from veggies. One of the best ways to do this is oven roasting. Oven-roasted vegetables are much softer than their fresh counterparts and can still offer the same nutritional benefits. Not only that, but roasted veggies can be packed in school lunches and even snacked on throughout the day. Carrots are a popular choice for roasting because they’re typically too crunchy for someone with braces to eat.
Blend Veggies into Dishes
You’ve probably hidden vegetables in your family meals before. While it may have been a last-ditch effort to get a serving of vegetables in at the time, it now serves as an opportunity to help your child with braces maintain a healthy diet. When the best time to begin orthodontic treatment is around age seven, you might still be dealing with a picky eater, as well. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to slip some fruits and vegetables into savory and sweet dishes. A few of the best ways to do this include:
- Blend roasted carrots or peppers into your tomato sauce.
- Sneak some leafy greens into a fruit smoothie.
- Add pureed squash or carrots to macaroni dishes.
- Add some shredded zucchini to your favorite muffin recipe.
- Make your next batch of brownies with avocado.
- Use bananas as your egg substitute in your pancakes.
These are just a few of the many ways you can use hidden veggies and fruits to help your child maintain a balanced diet without harming their braces. And you just might find that your family likes these veggie-stuffed recipe variations more than you planned.
Opt for Soups and Stews
Soups and stews are inherently comforting meals for people. And when your child is struggling with braces for the first time, a little bit of comfort might be exactly what they need. Even though the most common reason for braces is aesthetics, the process of actually correcting dental issues can be a massively uncomfortable one that takes a toll on self-esteem. If a batch of soup or stew can help your child eat some hearty vegetables with ease, it’s worth the effort. And in reality, sometimes it doesn’t even have to be a hassle! Most soups and stews can be made in a slow cooker, which means lots of flavor and nice, soft ingredients for everyone. If you’re not in the mood to make a hot soup in the middle of a warmer season, consider vegan variations of cold soups like vichyssoise, gazpacho, or borscht. These soups are hearty and refreshing at the same time and can help provide a much-needed serving of vegetables for your child with braces.
When you’re dealing with diet changes for a child who has braces, it can feel like a real challenge in the kitchen at first. But with these tricks, you’ll be well on your way to making sure your child maintains a healthy diet while they have braces.