While in the process of straightening teeth with fixed braces, eating may seem like a chore rather than a pleasure, especially in the early stages while your mouth, especially your tongue, gets used to the metal and wires being in place.
The first week with braces is usually the trickiest, while you adjust to a different eating experience. Stick with simple smooth foods like mashed potato, soup, and yoghurt. However, once you are confident and any discomfort has eased, you can start to enjoy a varied range of foods again.
Dr Asif Chatoo says:
“Having braces doesn’t mean you have to stick to soft and bland food, in fact it’s a great time to get creative in the kitchen and explore some new recipes. It is important to avoid certain items which may damage your brackets, such as popcorn, nuts, crusty bread or uncooked fruit and vegetables. Our advice is that if you can’t easily cut your food with a knife and fork, you should avoid it.”
Below are some quick and easy meal suggestions to help mix up your daily menu and give you the confidence to enjoy eating while in braces.
Breakfast: Easy overnight oats
Oats are a great way to start the day, and by mixing them with a few simple ingredients they can be an easy-to-eat and filling breakfast. Try mixing a handful of jumbo oats with oak milk, cinnamon, fresh ginger, cocoa powder, vanilla, grated apple, chopped apricots, honey and a pinch of salt, and leave to chill overnight. When ready to eat, the oats will be soft as well as delicious.
Lunch: Poached eggs with avocado, chilli, and rosemary
If you find that your usually reliable crusty sandwich bap gets a little caught up in your braces, try switching to something softer like eggs or a smooth soup. A simple lunch which really hits the spot is poached eggs and avocado, topped with finely chopped chilli and rosemary, and crumbled feta. If you want to add in a carbohydrate, try serving your eggs on a slice of seed free, crustless, toasted bread.
Dinner: Creamy chicken and sweet potato curry
It is important to make sure you are incorporating enough fruit and vegetables into your diet, even while adjusting to a new way of eating. A creamy slow cooked curry is a great way to pack in your five a day and ensures veggies are soft enough to avoid damaging your braces. Try mixing up some chicken pieces, sweet potato, courgette, carrot and squash and cooking with chopped garlic, coconut milk, chilli, ginger, and a curry paste of your choice – we love a red Thai paste. For maximum flavour leave over night to absorb the spices and serve warmed with a bowl of rice and a squeeze of lime juice.
Head over to our recipes section where nutritionist Farzanah Nasser has put together some delicious recipe ideas to help you eat comfortably and well during your treatment.
It is important to remember that each person adapts differently to having braces and it may take you a little more or less time than others to feel confident eating again. If you do find a bracket or wire comes loose while eating, make an appointment to see your orthodontist as soon as you can.