Braces-Friendly School Lunch Ideas

Teen with Braces Eating Grapes Makes Smart Lunch ChoicesThe school year has started and whether you’re the parent of child or teen who wears braces or you yourself have chosen to straighten your smile with discreet adult orthodontics, you’re probably concerned with packing healthy lunches that are easy on sensitive mouths and won’t cause a teeth-cleaning nightmare afterwards. Luckily, despite the common misconception, your food choices while wearing braces are not just limited to yogurt and applesauce. When you’re doing your meal-planning, take some time to browse Pinterest and other websites or just use our list of simple lunch ideas for people with braces.

Cold Lunch Ideas

Sandwiches and wraps are great a classic cold lunch idea, but special precautions need to be taken so that they’re truly braces-friendly. Be sure to avoid rubbery or chewy lunch meats (boiled hams, thickly cut ham or roast beef, and some cheaper types of lunch meat tend to be rubbery) that could pose a challenge for braces wearers. In addition, you may want to consider buying wraps rather than traditional tortillas, which can become stiff and hard to chew when they get cold. Alternately, lettuce wraps are an extra-healthy way to eat your traditional sandwich fillings.

Good sandwich options include tuna or chicken salad; cheese, peanut butter and jelly (be sure to rinse after eating, since PB can stick to teeth), higher quality lunch meats like ham and cheese.

Warm Lunch Ideas

Some teens and most adults have access to microwaves at lunch time, which broadens the range of foods you can send for lunch

  • Macaroni and cheese or literally any variation of pasta with sauce, like bowties and pesto or angel hair and marinara
  • Hot sandwiches like grilled cheese, BBQ pulled pork, or roasted veggies with hummus
  • Soups, casseroles, and ground meat dishes like meatballs and meatloaf are very easy of braces and quite filling at lunch time

The No-No List

As a parent, you control the majority of the foods your child consumes, so just as important as what your child can eat when she’s wearing braces, is what she can’t eat. Your orthodontist will provide a comprehensive list of no-no foods and drinks, which will probably include:

  • Hard, crunchy foods like chips, popcorn, taco shells, and raw fruits and vegetables (think apples or carrots)
  • Sticky foods like bubble gum, taffies (like Starburst or Tootsie Rolls), or caramels
  • Acidic foods and drinks like citrus juice, soda pops, energy drinks, or sports drinks