|SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center|
I Have Braces. How Can I Eat Fruits and Veggies?
I have braces, and I am trying to get to a healthy weight. I read about eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day. But I can't eat apples and things like that. What do I eat to still eat healthy?
Having braces is a great time to make healthy changes in your diet. That's because people who wear braces need to avoid certain foods — and many of these are less-than-healthy foods like candy, gummies, corn chips, and other hard snack foods. (Your dentist has probably already told you to pass on these!)
Of course, as you point out, some fruits and veggies fall into the "hard foods" category. But that doesn't mean you can't eat them — it just requires a little preparation. Try cutting apples (and other hard fruits like pears) into small pieces or thin wedges. Or go for unsweetened applesauce or canned fruits in their own juice. The same goes for veggies — you can cut foods like raw carrots into small slivers. Cooking crunchy vegetables also can make them easier to eat.
If any food seems too difficult to eat, cut it into small pieces and chew slowly. Because it takes time for our bodies to notice and send signals when we are full, chewing your food slowly gives you another health benefit: If you eat slowly, you are less likely to overeat.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.