Braces-Friendly Summer BBQ Ideas

What do the end of the school year, July 4th and Labor Day have in common? They’re all the perfect cause for a summer celebration. And for the team at Richard Chan Orthodontics, summer parties are synonymous with summer BBQs. We’re talking juicy burgers, grilled chicken, and corn on the cob! Summer food really is the best food.

We’re sure you love chowing down on all your summer faves as much as we do, but many of the patients at our Alaska, Bothell, Monroe and Mill Creek orthodontic practice have braces, making it trickier for them to eat certain things. Soft treats like ice cream or fall-off-the-bone meats like grilled ribs are perfectly safe foods for braces — but hard, crunchy or sticky things are a no-go. And if you have braces, you’ll want to cut your corn off the cob before diving in.

While there are definitely foods you’ll need to avoid with braces, there are so many yummy things you can still enjoy. Braces or not, we want you to get the most out of your summer, so here’s a list of summer BBQ ideas that are safe for the whole family.

Summer Foods to Avoid with Braces

Before we get to the good stuff, it’s important for people with braces to understand why they shouldn’t eat certain foods. Firstly, your teeth will be sensitive during treatment, especially right after you get your braces and after each time you get them adjusted. That’s why it’s best to eat soft or even cold foods that are soothing to your teeth. Yogurt, soft fruits (like kiwis, bananas and melons), steamed veggies or cooked beans are all great options.

Basically, if you have braces, you’ll want to avoid anything sticky, crunchy or chewy, or foods that you have to bite into. Hard or crunchy foods like popcorn, raw veggies, nuts or chips all run the risk of damaging your braces. Same goes for things you bite into, like corn on the cob or apples. And if a bracket breaks off, that means an extra visit to Dr. Chan ‘s office which, let’s be honest, nobody wants! Sticky foods like bubble gum, chewy candies or marshmallows are also not compatible with your hardware. They can get stuck in or behind your braces, making it harder to keep your teeth healthy and clean.

 

Summer BBQ Ideas for Braces

Now that we’ve covered all the foods to avoid with braces, let’s talk about all the amazing summer BBQ foods you can enjoy to your heart’s content! 

As we mentioned, soft foods are your friend when you have braces. That makes potatoes the perfect braces-friendly food. We always recommend potatoes to our braces patients because they’re so versatile. From baked potatoes to sweet potato wedges to potato salad, there are so many different ways to serve potatoes at your summer picnics and BBQs. Try one of these delicious recipes:

While it’s best to avoid tough or stringy meats like well done steak or beef jerky, BBQ meats make the ideal braces-friendly meal. BBQing makes the meat super tender, juicy and easy to bite through, so you won’t have to worry about damaging your braces or aggravating already sensitive teeth. Instead of things like chicken wings that you have to bite into, go for boneless chicken breast, fish or pork. Hamburgers and veggie burgers are also great BBQ foods for those with braces. Give one of these recipes a go for your next picnic:

We’ve covered the meat and potatoes, but what about other braces-friendly sides? The good news is that many summer BBQ side dishes are totally safe for braces. Eating your corn straight off the cob might be off the table, but you can always cut it off and make it into a delicious salad. Or whip up a batch of baked beans or chili. Both of these side dishes are soft and easy to chew, making them ideal for anyone with braces. Here are a few recipes to get you started:

As you can see, braces don’t have to get in the way of enjoying your favorite summer eats. You’ll need to make a few changes and avoid certain things, but the options for braces-friendly foods are endless. From fruit and veggies to grilled chicken and fish to tasty salads and sides, your summer BBQs will be full of delicious foods that everyone can enjoy. And if all else fails, ice cream is always safe for braces — just make sure to brush and floss extra well after you indulge!

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