In a whirlwind of shopping for school supplies, clothes, and groceries, a balanced braces-friendly lunchbox can fall to the sidelines. It can seem easier to turn to the school cafeteria, but unfortunately the average school-provided lunch can’t measure up to a healthy homemade lunch (and their high carb and sugar content can be hard on braces).
To make back to school a little less overwhelming, we’ve searched high and low to bring you four mix-and-matchable and braces-safe brown bag lunch ideas that will keep students smiling.
PB&J on whole wheat bread with sides of cucumber slices, yogurt or ranch dip, and string cheese
Peanut butter is a great source of protein and fiber, while cucumber is one of nature’s toothbrushes. Cheese is high in calcium and phosphorus, which promote strong tooth enamel. The whole grain or whole wheat bread contains more natural vitamins, minerals, and fiber than white bread for an added boost. Pro tip: toasting your bread slightly before putting together your sandwich can make it less crumbly and less likely to stick to braces!
Turkey and cheese rolled together with sides of apple slices and Greek yogurt
Turkey, cheese, and Greek yogurt power this protein-packed meal. We advise patients to avoid whole apples to protect braces, but cutting up these fresh fruits makes them braces-friendly. Apple slices are high in fiber and fun to eat, complementing the soft foundation with a braces-safe crunch.
Bean salad with sides of melon wedges, blueberries, banana, and reduced-fat cheddar cheese cubes
Beans can provide the foundation for a balanced lunch with their high density of protein, and melons and bananas contain fiber. Just be sure not to overdo it on dried fruits or fruit juice, which are high in artificial sugars and stick to teeth and braces, increasing the risk of tooth decay.
Sliced hard-boiled egg with sides of bell-pepper strips, strawberries, and a mini corn muffin
For this lunchbox, eggs provide the protein, bell pepper and fruit contain fiber, and a mini corn muffin is a teeth-friendly alternative to packaged sugary desserts.
A nutritious midday meal ensures students have the energy and focus needed for the entire school day—and can even have a positive impact on their report card. Packing a braces-friendly school lunch doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive as long as you plan ahead and encourage the entire family to help choose from a variety of healthy options. You’re well on your way to that perfect smile!