School is back in session for our Papillion braces and Invisalign Teen patients. We know for parents, the beginning of the school years is a busy time as you get back into the swing of juggling a million things. Hey, Dr. Hawley and a lot of our team members are parents too, so we can relate! While we can’t help you get everyone out the door on time in the morning, we can help with some awesome ideas for healthy snacks for kids and teens. These recipes are simple to make, nutritious, perfect for after school and they’re braces-friendly!
Before we get to our recipes, let’s do a quick recap of the foods to eat with braces. When kids first get their braces put on and following adjustments, the teeth might be a little sensitive, so choosing soft foods and cold treats is the way to go. Things like smoothies, milkshakes, ice water, mashed potatoes, yogurt and soup are all great options.
As for what not to eat with braces, we recommend staying away from really hard, sticky or chewy foods since they can damage the braces. Avoid things like toffee, caramel, nuts, popcorn, hard taco shells, whole, raw apples and carrots, Starburst, Skittles and hard candy. Don’t eat tear at things like corn on the cob or meat on the bone with the front teeth or bite directly into them. Instead, take it off the cob or bone and eat it that way. Other than that, all of your favorite foods are still on the table with braces. Now, on to our healthy snack ideas for kids and teens!
AVOCADO BERRY SMOOTHIE (4 SERVINGS)
Smoothies are such easy snacks for kids. You can even chop up the ingredients in advance and put servings in storage containers in the fridge for teens to make themselves after school. Plus, they’re an amazing treat after getting braces put on. This avocado berry smoothie is delicious and brimming with antioxidants and healthy fats to keep kids full until dinner.
- 1 avocado
- 2 bananas
- 1 cup berries of your choice
- 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
- ½ cup milk or unsweetened soy milk or almond milk
- Handful of ice cubes
- Put ingredients into a blender and blend on high-speed until smooth. That’s it!
CHICHEN AND VEGGIE QUESADILLAS (4 SERVINGS)
These quesadillas make for protein-packed healthy snacks for kids. You can throw them together using leftover chicken from last night’s dinner and any veggies you have lying around.
- 8 ounces cooked chicken breast, diced
- 1 cup zucchini, diced
- 1 large red or yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 large tomato, diced
- ½ yellow or red onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 large whole wheat tortillas
- Salsa and sour cream for serving (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a medium bowl, mix diced veggies and chicken. Add lime juice and stir to coat. Add the cheese and mix.
- Spray a large sauté pan with cooking spray or a light coating of oil and heat it on medium heat. Place a tortilla flat in the pan and put chicken and cheese mixture on one half of it. Fold the tortilla to cover it with the other half. When tortilla is lightly browned, flip it over and brown the other side. Place it on a baking sheet and repeat the process with the other tortilla.
- Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and all of the veggies and chicken are warm.
- Serve with sour cream and salsa and have braces wearers cut them into bite-sized pieces to eat.
Chunky Monkey Overnight Oats (2 Servings)
Overnight oats gained so much popularity because they’re simple, filling, nutritious and taste fantastic. Though they’re often eaten for breakfast, they’re one of our favorite healthy snack ideas for kids. You can put them together the night before and when kids get home from school, they can just grab a jar and enjoy. These “Chunky Monkey” overnight oats are loosely based on the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor. We combine banana and, in this case, nut butter instead of whole walnuts and cocoa powder instead of chocolate chunks to make it braces-friendly.
- ½ cup old-fashioned, rolled oats (gluten-free oats work too!)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 cup milk or milk alternative like soy milk, almond milk or flax milk
- 4 tablespoons of peanut butter, almond butter or a nut-free choice, such as SunButter
- 4 teaspoons of maple syrup
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- Grab two mason jars and split the ingredients between them.
- Mix all of the ingredients together, put on the lids and pop them in the fridge to sit overnight.
Note: The bananas will get mushy overnight, which some kids like. However, you can also add the banana slices right before serving.
Edamame Dumplings (4 Servings)
This recipe for dumplings comes from Genius Kitchen, which happens to be an excellent source of healthy snacks ideas for kids and teens. Because the dumplings are steamed, they’re easy on braces.
- 1 cup frozen edamame, shelled
- 2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Red pepper flakes, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 20 wonton wrappers
- ½ cup water, divided
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Make a dipping sauce by combining the green onions, soy sauce and honey in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Cook edamame according to the instructions on the package. Rinse edamame with cold water and then drain well. Mix edamame, lemon juice, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, cumin, garlic and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Cover the wonton wrappers with a wet towel to keep them moist. Take one wrapper out at a time and spoon one teaspoon of the edamame mixture into the center. Moisten the edges of the wrapper with water and fold opposite corners to form a triangle. Pinch the points and seal the wrapper. Place the folded wontons wrappers on a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornstarch.
- Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat it over medium-high heat. Put half of the dumplings in a single layer in the pan and turn the heat down to medium. Cook for about 1 minute or until the bottoms start to brown. Flip them over. Add ¼ cup of water to the pan and cover. Cook for 30 seconds. Remove cover and cook for one minute more or until the water evaporates. Remove the dumplings from the pan. Repeat the process for a second time with the other half of the dumplings.
- Serve warm with the dipping sauce.
We hope you enjoy these easy, healthy snacks for kids and teens! If you have any questions about the different foods to eat with braces, feel free to contact us. Or, if you’re ready to start your child on the path to a beautiful, healthy smile with orthodontic treatment, book a free consultation at Hawley Orthodontics today! Schedule your visit by emailing us at [email protected] or calling the office at (402) 592-3200.