The most memorable part of any holiday is the people you share that time with. That, and the food, of course!
As the months get colder, you might notice your sweet tooth demanding more holiday treats. Parties with friends, family, and co-workers may tempt you to have more sweets than you normally would.
When you have braces, the holiday buffet table is a tantalizing minefield. Does that reindeer-shaped cookie have a pretzel for antlers? Will that get stuck in my braces? Or worse, could it cause a major orthopedic issue like a broken bracket?
On top of this, staying healthy during the holidays can be a challenge for anyone. And finding a recipe that won’t harm your braces isn’t easy.
Looking for delicious food for braces that are also healthy desserts? There are plenty of holiday treats that won’t cause you or your braces issues. Learn exactly which treats to steer clear of to keep your braces intact and 4 new recipes that are safe for braces.
What You Can’t Eat with Braces
If you’re looking for a list of foods you can’t eat with braces, we’ve got that covered. The main thing to avoid are foods that can easily get stuck in your brackets.
Stay away from:
- Peanut Brittle
- Anything with nuts
- Candy Canes
- Hard Pretzels
What Makes These Treats Bad for Braces?
Every food you see above is hard, crunchy, sticky, or chewy. These are foods you must steer clear of if you have braces.
Sometimes, these foods can be tricky to avoid or they might hide under a mound of marshmallows. But biting into these foods might cause damage to your braces, and being extra cautious about what you eat is crucial.
One unlucky chomp could bend or even break your metal brackets. But there are plenty of festive treats you can enjoy that will protect your teeth!
While it may feel like you have to avoid a lot of holiday foods, there are still plenty of braces-friendly treats around the table. So if you see these items, feel free to dig in!
Soft desserts for braces:
- Ice cream
- Hershey’s Kisses
- Hot Cocoa
- Plain or fruity cheesecake
- Frosted sugar cookies (no sprinkles — they’re too crunchy!)
What Makes These Treats Safe for Braces?
Certain foods are great for people with braces. These are treats that require very little chewing because they’re soft. But it’s important to remember that the items on this list can come with exceptions.
So if the cheesecake is topped with nuts, you need to pass the plate and head over to the hot cocoa station instead.
Healthy Ortho-Approved Holiday Treat Recipes
1. Chocolate Avocado Mousse
This recipe is great because it takes hardly any prep work, you can throw it together quickly, and it’s the texture of pudding, so you can enjoy it worry-free!
The avocado makes this mousse so creamy, but you won’t taste it. If you want to make this even healthier, use sugar-free maple syrup as a sweetener. Top with whipped cream and pomegranates for a holiday look!
- 3 ripe California Avocados
- 3 tablespoons cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup milk (any kind)
- 2–3 tablespoons maple syrup (more if you like it sweeter)
- 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon salt (start with 1/2 teaspoon and add more to taste)
- Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender.
- Blend until your mixture smooths out.
- Make sure to chill this dish in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
2. Sugar-free Sugar Cookies
Frosting sugar cookies is a holiday tradition you shouldn’t give up, even if you’re on the hunt for sugar-free desserts. Invest in a sugar-free sweetener, grab a fun cookie cutter, and preheat your oven!
These cookies are soft enough to eat safely, even with braces. We suggest skipping the sprinkles though, as they’re small and crunchy and could get caught up in metal braces.
- 2 ¼ cups almond flour
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons butter softened
- ½ cup swerve sweetener, granular
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered swerve sweetener
- 2-4 tablespoons water
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Natural food coloring
- Preheat your oven to 325F.
- In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, & salt.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sweetener together until creamy. Add egg & vanilla extract.
- Combine bowls and create your dough.
- Take your dough and place it on your prep station. Using your hands, pat the dough into a circle. Place parchment paper on top of your dough ball and roll out until the dough is only ⅓ of an inch thick
- Use a festive cookie cutter. As you make your shapes, re-roll the dough as needed with the scrap pieces. Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking pan.
- Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes, or until their edges are golden. Rotate pans halfway through.
- In a large bowl, whisk sugar and water together one tablespoon at a time between whisks until you get the consistency desired.
- Whisk in vanilla extract
- Spoon into different bowls and add food coloring. (Do this in small amounts!)
Wait until your cookies have cooled to start icing them. Pro tip: Stick them in the freezer once they come out if your family is ready to get the ball rolling.
3. Strawberry Santa Hat Brownies
While this is the least healthy option on the list, it’s also the most festive, so we had to include it. Plus, it’s easy on your braces because it’s soft. If you have a favorite sugar-free sweetener, you could swap that out when you’re baking.
- 12 brownies (use your favorite recipe or store-bought)
- 12 fresh strawberries
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tbs half & half
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Arrange brownies on a platter
- Mix butter, sugar, half & half, and vanilla for 2 minutes or until fluffy
- Using a piping bag or Ziploc bag swirl frosting on each brownie
- Cut green tops off strawberries & place strawberries cut side to icing
- Add one final dash of icing on top of the strawberry tip
4. Baked Pears with Ice Cream
Can you eat ice cream with braces? So long as it doesn’t have small chocolate chips or hard candies that could get stuck, go for it! Vanilla is a safe bet, plus it pairs perfectly with warm pears and cinnamon in this recipe.
- 4 pears
- 2 tbsp (60 ml) maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 scoops ice cream
- Preheat oven to 395F
- Peel pears, making sure to leave the stem. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
- Mix maple syrup, vanilla extract, and cinnamon in a small bowl
- Place pears in a baking tray and top with the maple syrup mix
- Bake for 20-30 minutes or until caramelized
- Once the pears have cooled, add ice cream when ready to serve
Caring for Your Braces During the Holidays
Caring for your braces is a full-time job. If you enjoyed a crunchy treat during the holidays and are wondering if those spiced chestnuts could have done damage, there are a few things you can do to check.
Occasional mild pain or discomfort from your braces is normal. But if you notice persisting pain even after you take over-the-counter medication, it could be signaling something more serious.
If you feel a broken bracket, come in for an appointment right away.
Tips for Keeping up with Your Dental Health During the Holidays
The holidays are a time to indulge. Just make sure you’re brushing after every meal and flossing at least once a day. This helps keep your braces clean and your gums healthy.
If you find yourself eating more sweets this season, don’t worry! We’re happy to help you stay on track with your orthodontic goals all year long.