Congratulations, your middle schooler just got braces! There will be lots of changes to help them complete their treatment successfully, and what they eat is only part of the puzzle. Fortunately, there are still lots of options for a middle schooler in braces, regardless of how far along they are on their journey to a healthier smile.

Here are a few recommendations to make lunchtime easy and comfortable:

Right After Appointments

If your child just got braces or recently had an adjustment, their teeth may be a little bit more sensitive than usual. Stick with especially soft lunch foods for a couple days after visiting the orthodontist, including soup, jello, applesauce, cottage cheese, or hummus with vegetables.

Throughout Treatment

Other than directly after an orthodontic appointment, your child shouldn’t be worried about discomfort – but that doesn’t mean they’re free to eat whatever they want! Continue to pack foods that are not sticky or super crunchy. Traditional lunches like sandwiches, lunch meat and cheeses, and salads are all great choices.

Kids and teens in braces are more likely to end up with cavities after treatment, so help combat infection with low-sugar foods. Though they can enjoy fruits and certain candies, keep them to a minimum and make sure your child is equipped with everything they need to brush and floss after lunch.

During Hot Lunch

Fortunately, being in braces doesn’t mean your middle schooler has to skip the hot lunch line! While they may want to avoid especially crunchy meals like nachos or thin crust pizza, they should feel welcome to softer foods like hot dogs, burgers, chicken nuggets, tacos, pasta, and more. Don’t worry, a soft cookie or ice cream sundae will also be a special treat that is easy on their braces (but don’t forget to brush afterward!).

Things to Avoid

There are a couple foods that cause the majority of broken brackets and wires. Regardless of whether you’re packing or purchasing lunch, be sure to avoid these top 5 culprits:

1. Whole apples and carrots
2. Hard candies and caramels
3. Corn on the cob
4. Popcorn
5. Granola bars