Weekly menu plan + Eating with braces

It's been 9 months since I last posted a menu plan here. Too long! :) Here's my menu plan for the week ahead.

Breakfasts: Fruit smoothies (using milk and frozen fruit, including our blackberries!) and oatmeal.

Lunches: Peanut butter and honey sandwiches, bananas

(Weekend lunches: Leftovers)



Slow-cooked Herbed Beef and Gravy, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli and carrots


Lemon-Dill Baked Cod, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli and carrots


My mom's chili, cornbread, and green beans


Veggie Bean Soup with Spinach, leftover cornbread


Whole wheat blender pancakes, scrambled eggs, steamed broccoli


Beans and rice, steamed broccoli


Grilled salmon, cooked rice, green beans

This was a difficult menu to plan because everything needed to be fairly soft and easy-to-chew.

We've been eating a lot of soups and soft foods the past two weeks. Joshua had his wisdom teeth plus two other teeth out, and this Thursday he's getting braces! This is one of the things I mentioned at the beginning of the year -- something we've been trying to save for and hoping to do for quite a while. I'm so excited that it's finally happening!

I am not, however, looking forward to the eating restrictions he'll have while things are being fixed. (He won't be able to close his mouth all the way, with a bite plate.) The kids got pretty tired of soup after the first week. (Me? I may have lost a pound, and I think Joshua lost about 5!)

I'd love to hear any tips for what to eat when you can't chew very well / have braces! Soups in the blender worked pretty well, but between those and smoothies, it was just too much dairy (Joshua is lactose intolerant)... and by this point (week 3 of liquids and/or soft foods) we're all craving something besides potato soup, broccoli cheese soup, and gourmet bean soup! ;)


Hi Tammy :)

We've been backing off on dairy for my son, who has bad allergies/asthma, and the dairy really doesn't help with his cough. You can make "slushies" (or smoothies minus the dairy) in the blender, too. Frozen fruit (bananas help increase the creaminess) plus a cup or two of water in the blender make a delicious alternative to dairy smoothies. I've even added kale, spinash or other greens if I have them in the house. The kids don't like those as much, but it is an easy way to sneak in some greens. We don't have a fancy juicer, either, BTW. Just a blender. :)

Hope that's helpful!

Vicky :)

Thanks for the slushie/smoothie ideas, Vicky! Joshua likes bananas (and eats 2 in his lunch every day) but for some reason doesn't like bananas in smoothies. I may need to do more rice milk or make/get/keep some kind of non-dairy milk on hand... :)

I have not personally tried it, however I have heard frozen mango may help things be creamier...

Oh how I remember those days. :) Well for starters, the very first week is the hardest--but that depends on the pain tolerance of the person and what all is being done. There really is no specific lists of foods that braces wearer have trouble with.

From what I remember liquid food is a really good idea for that first week (or any painful days).

Smoothies are another option...I know it's not exactly the "right" time of the year, but it's good for breakfast.Oatmeal/Cream of Wheat/Grits or any other hot cereal are also good breakfast foods. Warning: the grains will get stuck in the brackets.,,but that will just be part of life with braces. :) Brush up after, and all is well.

Once the pain has subsided, it shouldn't be too hard to eat "normal"...but I will have to say, it really depends on the patient. :) I didn't have trouble eating hardly anything. From what I remember, steak and corn on the cob are the two things I had a bit trouble eating. My mom had more trouble and often cut up her "trouble" foods (one of which I know was pizza) into bite-sized pieces.

I don't know how helpful this was. :) But blessings to Joshua on his new journey. How long does he need to wear them? And congrats on the new life. :) How very exciting! I'm sure your older ones are excited. :)

Thanks for the tips! We've been doing lots of oatmeal (cooked and made kinda thin so it's easier to eat) and scrambled eggs. Joshua said at least he's not used to chewing his food as much as I am! ;)

The orthodontist says Joshua will need to have braces for about 26 months, with jaw surgery in the middle of that time. (The jaw surgery was one of the things holding us back from getting this dental work done years ago!) :)

Thanks for your congrats! And yes, the older kids are very excited. They talk about it all the time!! :)

I never had a bite plate, but my teeth were really sore for a few days after getting my braces on. I would imagine that anything that is softish will be ok to chew after the first few days. Beef that is cooked really well (the tougher cuts that you cook forever in stew or gravy) would probably work, pasta, eggs, fish, etc. The main things he won't be able to chew would be tougher things like steak (and most meats), raw veggies or veggies that aren't cooked very well, etc. as well as thing you have to bite into like hamburgers and sandwiches.

Thanks for the ideas, Noah! :)

Some of these are already on your menu but throwing out ideas as they come to me...
- Ground beef chops into small enough pieces to avoid being a choking hazzard if its too difficult to chew. Mix it with a cream sauce (such as mushroom soup mixes w/ a bit of water) to make it less dry going down.
- Scrambled eggs, poached eggs, even diced boiled eggs (such as egg salad)
- Pasta, just choose the smaller pieces so if they get swallowed w/o chewing they are not a choking hazzard.
- Soups of about any kind.
- Pudding (made with soy milk)
- Fish of about any kind
- Malts or smoothies (this is a great opportunity to sneak in a bit of nutrition by throwing in fruit and Carnation instant breakfast)
- Rice dishes (not fried) with creamy sauces. Broccli and cheese rice is also good if you can find a cheese sub that he can tolerate.

Oh, thank you for these ideas! We had already thought that fish would probably be a good soft protein, and we have lots of fish, so yay! :) We may need to get some protein powder... we haven't had any on hand for quite a while (since Joshua stopped drinking the homemade mocha cappuccinos at breakfast), but that would be a good way to add protein to smoothies (and whey protein is lactose-free). :)

My son's orthodontist calls the bite plates "ramps." He's had them (and the braces) since January, and he adjusted very quickly. The worst days are when they put new wires in, but for my son the pain has only lasted one day. We're on the last leg of our braces journey, and he just had the "power chain" placed a couple of weeks ago- that is the only time he's been sore for more than one day. On new wire day, I try to plan things that don't require a ton of chewing- pasta is always good. Good luck to Joshua- I hope his journey is as painless as possible!

I'm always happy to see a post from you Tammy.

When I had braces, whenever they were tightened it helped me to just eat anything in small pieces that didn't require biting with the front teeth. So I could eat toast, as long as I cut it up and used a fork...but I don't know how a bite plate affects that. So it may not be helpful at all. I hope that his teeth move quickly and relatively painlessly!

ground beef gravy over potatoes (my girls can swallow the beef without really chewing if necessary) is the favorite of my girls who are both in them currently

Mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, baked potatoes (without eating the skin)
pancakes, especially soaked in syrup ;)

well-cooked veggies

Mac & cheese is generally OK the second day. So are biscuits (and gravy, for protein).

Tammy it sounds like even when you get past the few initial days of pain there will still be times where he'll need soft foods. So I would keep a list for those times. I had a friend that had her jaw wired . She was putting her meals in the blender and drinking through a straw.

Cheesecake is soft. I'm sure he'll love that.
Pumpkin muffins, pancakes,... - good source of vitamins
sweet potatoes
beef stew using ground beef instead of stew meat - cut our vegetables really small
this recipe sounds good
lentil dishes

Hi Tammy,

I'm so glad Joshua is going to be able to take care of his dental situation. Good luck with everything and take care!

Sydney in Kansas

Thank you, Sydney! :)

One additional soft food idea I haven't seen in the other comments would be bread pudding. I've seen savory versions of bread pudding, too--with mushrooms, onions and cheese. I've never tried making bread pudding with anything other than regular milk, but with the lactose-free "milks" and other products available now, maybe you could find a substitute that would work.

I use fat free greek yogurt I buy at BJ's for smoothies. Because it's thik it gives the smoothy some nice creaminess. My oldest son is lactose intolerant and it doesn't bother him. I also use his lactose free milk sometimes.

I had braces when I was a child and I remember eating peanut butter and fluff sandwiches on soft white bread when I first got them put on. I would break off bite size pieces and chew them in the back of my mouth.

Oh, and I sometimes buy the lactose brand ice cream for my son and use that to make shakes. I buy big bags of frozen strawberries at BJ's so I throw them in with the ice cream (or the yogurt). It's a nice treat for him.

Didn't read everyone's tips, but I make my homemade almond milk every five days. I also use to use fresh spring water, coconut milk or 2 TBS coconut oil as a base for smoothies when I fist started battling my eczema. Strawberries and oranges were always good fruit bases when I didn't have bananas. And instead of adding greens to my fruit smoothie, I always took chlorella, spurilina or bluegreen algae seperately. The Almond milk also comes in handy for puddings, hot chocolate etc! If you can't find truly raw almonds, it comes out to less per quart than store-bought....without the preservatives!

Two of our kids were in braces at the same time. Dustin had a bite plate and the soreness seemed to last about 3 -7 days (depending on what was done at that appointment). It sounds gross but things like shepherd's pie and spaghetti were good as long as there were no "chunks" everything cut up finely. After the first week he was pretty much able to eat anything(except the no nos, like ribs, corn on the cob and nuts) It just felt very strange and he had to be careful to clean well after eating. I hope Joshua's braces experience goes by quickly and easily.

I had four teeth out and had braces, it was just difficult at first until that healed up. Otherwise I could eat pretty much anything, my mouth was only a little sore when they would tighten them. Then you would have to eat soft stuff, but it would adjust pretty quick. But then maybe I just had high pain tolerance. Once he gets used to them he should be able to eat much of anything, just stringy food is difficult cause it gets stuck in them, otherwise just brush after every meal with an electric toothbrush! :)

Thanks for all the tips and ideas, everyone! I'm feeling a lot more confident about meal-planning now. :) Tomorrow's the big day! :)

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