eating with braces. What are some good substitutions?

Great Food Substitutions for When You Have Braces

One of the several adjustments you’ll have to make when you get braces is adhering to some food restrictions. Even though it may seem like a challenge, keep in mind it’s temporary and that limiting your diet to certain foods will allow your treatment to be completed on time. Plus, you can still enjoy tasty snacks and meals while you have braces by choosing the right food substitutions.

Can I Eat Crunchy Foods?

While crunchy snacks and foods are delicious, they are one of the most important types of foods to avoid while you have braces. Crunchy foods are hard on the brackets and archwire of your braces and can cause them to warp or even break. When this happens, you’ll need to have your braces replaced, which sets you back on your treatment.

However, you can easily replace some common crunchy snacks with some alternatives. For instance, regular Cheetos are too crunchy to eat with braces, but Cheetos Puffs are perfectly fine foods for braces. Similarly, popcorn is a bit too crunchy for braces to handle safely. But you can replace this snack with softer corn puff snacks like Pirates Booty. So if you’re looking for a tasty snack to munch on during your next movie night, reach for this snack instead of popcorn.

Unfortunately, pretty much any kind of nut will be too crunchy for your braces, but peanut butter or other nut butters are safe. Just be sure to get the creamy versions rather than the crunchy variety.

What About Chips?

You’ll have to be careful with the types of chips you eat while you have braces since they tend to vary quite a bit in consistency. Most regular potato chips, like Lays or Pringles, are actually just fine. However, some chips are made with extra crunch, such as Kettle Chips or Ruffles. You’ll want to avoid these chips while you have braces since they will be too hard on the brackets and wires.

When it comes to tortilla chips, pretty much any variety will be too hard for your braces. Fortunately, you can replace them with triangles of pita or flour tortillas if you need something to dunk in hummus or guacamole.

Is Candy Okay?

Hard candy you might be tempted to crunch on, like Jolly Ranchers, or really chewy candies, like taffy, are off-limits while you have braces since they can seriously damage your braces. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, stick to plain chocolate or softer options, like Reeses Peanut Butter Cups or Three Musketeers bars. You can also satisfy your sweet tooth by eating non-candy treats like ice cream or brownies. Just be sure to keep these foods for braces to a minimum and to brush your teeth afterward to avoid tooth decay.

What Foods for Braces Should I Have for Dinner?

While softer meats like chicken or seafood are generally fine, be sure to avoid tough steaks. If you’re going to have meat off the bone, you should cut it off first to avoid accidentally biting the bone and damaging your braces. You should also keep your side dishes soft, so cook your carrots instead of eating them raw, and cut corn off the cob and eat it with a fork.

To learn more about how to care for your braces, contact Milnor Orthodontics today!

At Milnor Orthodontics, our experts are here to help you achieve a priceless smile. Call our office at (970) 230-3187 or visit to learn more. We're located at 1103 S. Shields St. in Fort Collins, Colorado.