Navigating Braces: The New Food Order

by Laura on March 31, 2014

in Blog

Baby Bites for Braces

Baby Bites for Braces

I’m back at it – cutting foods into bite-sized pieces for my kids. No, I’m not feeding a toddler – ensuring that the bite-sized pieces are easy to chew and swallow. This time, it’s my ‘tweens. And I’m doing this so that can better navigate the new hardware in their mouths.

braces300With a lingual arch in one, and top braces on the other, I find my kitchen prep regressing to the days when I had new eaters to accommodate.  Just like those times when toddlers dominated the household, I am  chopping up carrots and apples into bite-sized pieces. I’m offering up more soft foods  – from yogurt to mashed potatoes. I’m searching my cookbooks to find soft-serve foods that require little chewing. This time around, though, one thing has changed. I am happy get some support from the orthodontist in our attempt to minimize all that sticky candy and gum they are always begging to eat.

It’s only been a week, so I’m still in the learning phase. But, I am beginning to remember to chop up the carrots and apples for their lunch. I am slowly rewriting my list of snacktime foods – taking popcorn, nuts, and chewy dried fruits off the list. And at dinner time, I’m searching for patience as I hear the complaints, “Mom, it hurts my mouth to eat this. What else can I eat?”

Through it all, I’ve had some momentary lapses of braces-food fails. The other day, I made granola bars only to realize just as I’m cutting them up to pack them in their bags for afterschool snack, that they’re just too sticky for my braces-wearing children to eat. Other times, I neglect to cut up their lunch foods – only to find them returned just as they looked when the kids left the house 8 hours earlier.

On the positive side of things, the list of foods which are ideal for those wearing braces are plentiful – and, healthful. I’ll be glad to push the oatmeal, berries, yogurt and soft cheese. Because of the braces, the kids are more amendable to eating the grains (couscous, risotto, quinoa and polenta), and currently on board with the no sticky candy rule. Perhaps it’s because they’ve realized that juice smoothies are destined to move higher on the after-school snack list.

I’m new to navigating the waters of braces-friendly foods. So, if you have any thoughts or recipes to make the going more smoothly, please share them with us. I’m sure a few weeks down the road I’ll loose my excitement for those chopping and pureeing everything in site.

Here is a recipe that is sure to please everyone – with or without braces.

 Cozy Orzo

4-5 servings

Preparation time 10 minutes

  • 1 lb room-temperature cottage cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup minced chives or scallions
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lb orzo
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • grated pecorino or parmesan cheese for the top

Combine the cottage cheese, salt, chives or scallions, lemon zest and black pepper in a medium-sized bowl, and mix well.

Cook the orzo in plenty of rapidly boiling water until it is tender. Place the peas in a colander in the sink and drain the past right into the peas. (This will defrost the peas and cook them slightly.)

Shake off the excess water, transfer the orzo and peas to the cottage cheese mixture, and stir gently. Sprinkle with grated pecorino or parmesan, and serve warm or at room temperature, in bowls.

Source: Mollie Katzen’s Vegetable Heaven, Hyperion, New York; Copyright1997, Tanta Malka, Inc.

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