Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, anything in between, or all of the above, we know one thing, the festivities will probably include a whole lot of delicious food. While this is one of our favorite parts of the holiday season, we understand that if you have braces, you might be worried you’ll have to skip your favorite dishes. The good news is, with a few exceptions, you can still eat most of the things you normally would. In fact, the team here at Richard Chan Orthodontics is sharing 60 braces-friendly holiday foods to consider adding to your menu this year.
What Food Can You Eat With Braces?
We know, we know, we promised you a list of mouthwatering holiday treats, but let’s have a quick refresher on the foods to eat with braces first. When you get your braces put on and, sometimes after adjustments, your teeth can feel a little bit tender. You’ll want to stick with soft foods, as well as cold foods and drinks, until the sensitivity subsides.
Some of the best soft foods for braces include mashed potatoes, yogurt, applesauce, protein shakes, smoothies, ripe bananas, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, and soup. When you feel ready to tackle your normal diet again, be sure to cut or break food into small, bitesize pieces and chew with your back teeth. Never bite into food with your front teeth.
What are the Food You Can’t Eat With Braces?
There are some foods to avoid with braces (believe us, it will be well worth your amazing results!). In general, we tell our Alaska, Bothell, Monroe, Mill Creek, and Everett, WA braces patients to stay away from anything really hard, chewy, or sticky that could damage their appliances. Here are a few common holiday foods you can’t eat with braces that fall into those categories:
- Nuts (either on their own or in foods like stuffing, pecan pie, or brownies)
- Hard candy, such as candy canes
- Whole, raw carrots, and other really hard vegetables
- Candy apples
- Hard rolls
- Hard gingerbread cookies
- Meat on the bone (off the bone is okay)
As you can see, there aren’t a ton of holiday foods you can’t eat with braces and, in many cases, making some adaptations like taking meat off of the bone or thinly slicing raw veggies will make them braces-friendly.
60 Holiday Foods to Eat With Braces
If you’re feeling bummed about not being able to eat those candied nuts this year, you’ll be happy to know there is so much more you can have! Here are 60 of our favorite holiday food you can eat with braces:
- Fork-tender turkey (taken off the bone)
- Fork-tender beef (i.e., brisket, roast beef, corned beef, etc.)
- Fork-tender lamb (off the bone)
- Fork-tender chicken (off the bone)
- Fork-tender pork, including ham
- Fork-tender duck
- Soft-cooked fish, shellfish, and seafood
- Plant-based meat alternatives, such as the Gardein Holiday Roast or Tofurkey
- Cooked blackeyed peas, lentils, and other legumes
- Salad (thinly slice any crunchy vegetables and forgo the croutons)
- Soft cheese
- Spinach and artichoke dip
- Pita bread, soft tortillas, or crackers that melt in your mouth like Ritz for dipping
- Deviled eggs
- Mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, mashed turnips, etc.
- Baked or roasted potatoes, yams, and/or sweet potatoes
- Roasted vegetables (e.g., cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, etc.)
- Steamed/cooked vegetables (e.g., spinach, collard greens, carrots, green beans, etc.)
- Creamed corn or creamed spinach
- Corn (take it off the cob)
- Green bean casserole (hold the almonds!)
- Sweet potato casserole
- Stuffing without nuts
- Cranberry sauce
- Macaroni and cheese
- Spoon bread
- Soft rolls
- Challah bread
- Cooked grains (e.g., barley, farro, etc.)
- Hot chocolate
- Soft-baked cookies (yup, that includes gingerbread cookies)
- Plain chocolate
- Brownies without nuts
- Pumpkin pie, apple pie, and any other fruit pie
- Cream pies
- Ice cream
This isn’t an exhaustive list and there are many more braces-friendly options. As long as something is relatively easy to chew and isn’t hard, crunchy, or sticky enough to damage your braces, you’re free to enjoy it.
Give Yourself the Gift of a Healthy Smile
We hope everyone has a happy and healthy holiday season! And, now that you have at least 60 holiday food you can eat with braces, are you feeling ready to perfect your smile? Book a complimentary consultation with Dr. Richard Chan in Mill Creek, Bothell, or Monroe, WA or Juneau, AK.