At Appel Orthodontics, we’re all about helping our patients smile. This means helping you find ways to keep your teeth clean and your orthodontic appliances—including braces—in good working order.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of foods that can damage your braces—including things that are especially hard, chewy, or sticky. But don’t be discouraged by the foods you can’t have during treatment—there are still a lot of good options out there that are not only braces-friendly, but good for you, too.

In this blog post and the next, we’ll explore some healthy snacks that go easy on your dental appliances.

Fruit

We’ll start with the obvious one. Fruit is nature’s perfect snack. Whether you prefer old standbys like bananas and oranges, or are in the mood for something off the beaten track like pomegranate or starfruit, fruit packs a lot of flavor and a good dose of nutrients. Berries, especially blueberries, are among the healthiest natural foods you can eat. And pears contain compounds that can help prevent cavities.

Of course, keep your braces in mind when enjoying these delicious treats. Be sure to cut apples, pears, and other firm fruits into slices so you don’t damage your brackets.

Hummus

Did you know that in the U.S., hummus sales have gone up 6500% percent in the past 15 years? Talk about exploding in popularity! This tasty dip, a traditional part of many Middle Eastern cuisines, has taken America by storm, and it’s not hard to see why. Hummus is simple, savory, keeps you feeling full, is a source of healthy protein, and comes in all different flavors—everything from garlic & herb to Buffalo sauce.

For snacking, hummus makes a great dip for veggies as well as for warm pita bread. Yum!

Munchie veggies

Vegetables can be crisp, refreshing snacks, and they’re so good for you can eat as many as you want. Sliced bell peppers, snap peas, cucumber slices and more can be delicious on their own or with a low-fat dip (such as hummus—see above). To protect your brackets, be sure to cut up hard veggies such as carrots and broccoli so you can chew them with your back teeth.

Kale chips are also pretty popular right now, as is edamame (ed-uh-MAH-may)—steamed soybeans that you eat hot (don’t eat the husk though!).

Mozzarella sticks (a.k.a. “string cheese”)

If you’re craving a snack that’s fast and filling, reach for a pack of low-fat mozzarella. This convenient “string cheese” is a good source of calcium (good for keeping your teeth strong!) and protein that will help satisfy your hunger.

Of course, keep in mind that all cheese is fatty, so choose part-skim varieties over the full-fat kind. Also, don’t go crazy—eat this snack in moderation!

Sweet potato fries

This one isn’t a typical snack, but if you find yourself unable to resist drive-thru French fries during the day, try swapping them out for sweet potato fries you make at home. Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients and have more flavor than their white-potato counterparts.

Baking the fries in the oven is far better for you than deep-frying them (not to mention easier to clean up after). You can find sweet potato fries in the frozen section of your grocery store, but they’re even better for you when you make them yourself.

We’ll add more ideas for healthy snacks in the next post, but in the meantime we hope this helps you to a good start!

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