Gone are the days of Barbie lunch boxes and Dora thermos. I have teen age girls now. In 12 years of being in school, they have never bought their lunches. Not because I didn’t let them. I was lucky that they typically liked what I packed in their lunch and never had to deal with chicken nuggets or pizza. We saved those battles for dining out.

These days are different. One has gone through a vegetarian phase while the other is suffering with orthodontic pain having had her braces tightened. It was easy to pack their lunches when they were little. But until they are able to drive and spend money on groceries (no times soon, unfortunately), we parents are still in charge of what goes in their lunch boxes.If your child does have braces, it can make eating a really unpleasant experience (for both of you)!

Here are a few ideas if your child has braces since they can’t live on just fruit cups!

  1. Yogurt- if your child will eat Greek yogurt, this is a lower sugar option with a thicker texture. It has more protein, which will fill them up between meals. If they’re not fond of Greek yogurt, get them traditional, blended yogurt without fruit chunks.
  2. Bean or lentil soup- this is a great option for both the vegetarian and kid with braces. It’s high in fiber and protein and you can make a big batch and freeze it if needed. Soup can be pureed or further processed to make “chewing” easier.
  3. High calorie supplements- I am normally not a “meal replacement” person, but if your kid absolutely cannot chew, this will get therm through the morning until they can resume oatmeal or toast. Ensure Plus, Boost or a store brand will do in these cases. Try different flavors to keep things interesting.
  4. Fruit cups- get a variety- applesauce, fruit cocktail, diced peaches or pears, etc. Pineapple not welcome right now!
  5. Nut or seed butters like Justin’s or 88 Acres. While your child might not be able to chew toast, soft crackers like saltines might be tolerated OK with a smooth nut butter.These come in convenient pouches that can be packed in your child’s lunch and eaten as part of a meal or for after school snack.They’re a great source of protein and healthy fat.
  6. Pudding- yeah, I recognize this is “dessert”, but when your child needs calories, let them eat what they can!

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