Braces-Friendly Lunches for School

Are you looking for a kids orthodontist with tips on braces-friendly foods? If your child has braces, then there are certain foods they need to avoid for a while. This can be annoying to many kids, but it can also be annoying to parents when it comes time to pack school lunch. Finding healthy and tasty food that your child can still eat is often a challenge, and made more of a challenge by the limitations of packing lunch. Your kid’s orthodontist will have suggestions, but you will need to be responsible and ensure that your child avoids foods that can damage their braces or, worse, their teeth.

This is particularly the case in the first week after getting braces and for a few days after they are tightened. Some foods, however, such as taco shells and hard candy, stay off-limits until the treatment is over. Here are a few things you can give to your child for lunch.

Sandwiches with Soft Fillings

The number one, of course, is sandwiches with soft fillings. PB&J is fine as long as you choose smooth, not chunky, peanut butter. Tuna, chicken, and egg salads are also good choices. Talk to your child about their favorites. Other soft choices for sandwiches include hummus, sun butter, and soft jams.

If their mouth is particularly sore, then you may want to cut off the crusts. At the very least let them know it’s okay to skip the crust if it’s hurting their teeth. Avoid very crusty bread such as baguettes, or bread with large seeds in it (the seeds can get stuck in the wires). For right after getting braces, also avoid rolls, even relatively soft ones. Your best options are sliced bread; you can use any bread your child prefers and is used to.

Soft Alternatives to Potato Chips

Potato chips and other crunchy snacks, such as popcorn or trail mix, are off-limits, so if you normally put a bag of them in your kid’s lunch, then you will need to find alternatives. Cheese puffs are a great alternative, although perhaps not for every day, most kids love them because they aren’t so healthy. Corn puffs (not popcorn) are another possibility.

Check the snack aisle for softer alternatives. A lot of these don’t come in smaller packages, so be prepared to use sandwich bags to portion off lunch-sized servings. In some stores, it’s worth checking out the gluten-free snack area too for less crunchy options. Be aware that most vegetable chips are just as bad for braces as the potato variety, despite being better for your child in other ways.

Soft Fruit

Although packaged fruit snacks are often a great on-the-go “dessert,” they are sticky and thus should be avoided with braces. Instead, choose soft fruits such as melons, grapes, and bananas. Oranges and tangerines are a good choice except for the first few days after tightening (when citric acid can cause pain). Avoid apples and unripe pears, or cut them into small pieces so they can be chewed just with the back teeth. If your kid is really addicted to fruit snacks, get berries instead. You can also get applesauce or pureed fruit cups as a good alternative. Non-pureed fruit cups are also a good choice as long as you check what is in there.

Be aware that raw vegetables are out, for the most part, especially carrots. Tomatoes are generally good, though; otherwise, feed your child their vegetables at home where you can cook them. You could also cut the vegetables up into very small pieces so your child is not biting into them.

Soft fruit, yogurt, and granola bowl, kids orthodontist concept


Yogurt is great for kids with braces, and dairy-free alternatives are available if needed. It’s good for them and most kids will enjoy a cup of flavored yogurt with their lunch (check the sugar levels). Avoid yogurt cups that contain nuts or other crunchy bits to improve textures.

Soft Cheese

Avoid hard cheeses, but soft cheese is great. String cheese is actually a pretty good alternative (and we all know that child who is addicted to it), as it can easily be peeled apart and broken down and lasts without refrigeration better than most soft cheeses, some of which should not be included with a packed lunch.

Crackers should, however, be avoided; instead, serve cheese with soft bread or pita wedges. You can also shred hard cheese and use the shredded cheese as a sandwich filling, as this means the kid is not biting into it.

Lunch Meat

Meat can be a particular problem for people with braces because it tends to be stringy. Choose softer lunch meats (bologna is good, but ham and turkey are definitely doable) and put them in a sandwich or separate to be eaten plain.

As with the cheese, avoid crackers, which tend to be a problem when wearing braces. Soft pita wedges work well instead, but many kids will eat slices of lunch meat plain. Well, so will plenty of adults.


If you want to provide your child with dessert, pudding cups are a good choice. You can get them in multiple flavors or make your own (and if you make your own you can sneak in healthy ingredients your kid is generally averse to the taste of). Making your own is the best option if you have time, and they also make good on-the-go breakfast food. (And they’re easy enough that you might just be able to teach your kid to make their own!).

Hummus with Soft Pita Wedges

If your child likes hummus, you can give them a small pot of it with soft pita wedges for dipping. Again, avoid crackers, but hummus itself is great for braces. For variety, get flavored hummus, but avoid very spicy flavors for the first week after fitting or tightening braces. (Pita wedges can also work well with cheese strings). You might also consider a bean dip as an alternative.

Just remember not to give hard vegetables such as carrots or celery, no matter how much your kid might prefer them. Some people find tomatoes and strawberries to be a good option, though.

Visit Our Kids Orthodontist in St. Augustine, FL.

If your child needs braces, then you need a good kids orthodontist in St. Augustine, FL. We can provide a reliable kids orthodontist! To find out more about how your child can benefit from orthodontic treatment and how to manage their diet while they have braces, contact Henry Advanced Orthodontics today.