Gluten & Dairy-free Foods for Braces

Get a list of foods that are gluten and dairy-free that are also safe for people to eat with braces.

Gluten & Dairy-free Foods for Braces

Note: I am a proud Amazon, Chomps, MunkPack, and Thrive Market affiliate and am happy to recommend their service and products to you. Please know that as an affiliate, I may receive a small commission on the products you purchase after clicking through my links. For more info, please see my disclosure policy here.

Over this past summer, my son got introduced to the wild world of orthodontics. He started with a palate expander, where we’d have to turn a key on the top of his palate every night, then every other night for about a month.

At the same time of getting this expander put on, he had braces put on all his lower teeth, even though no adjustments have been made yet. We’re working on correcting an overbite and trying to make sure his top and bottom teeth don’t touch each other in the long term.

What a weird world that we live in that we can just say “hey, his teeth don’t look quite right” and then put metal inside his mouth and manipulate what was his smile and bite into what dentists and doctors say it should be. 

Of course, as a mom I’ve had mixed feelings about orthodontics. On one hand, I feel like my kid’s smile is perfect. It’s exactly how it should be – and how dare you try to change what’s already so good and beautiful!! 

On the other hand, I realize that in the long term, having dental issues that could add up to major dental and health problems in the future is probably worth nipping in the bud now before his mouth and jaw are fully developed.

The first few weeks he had braces on, it was interesting to say the least. Navigating what foods he could and couldn’t enjoy was a little tricky. We’re about six weeks in now and it’s still a little tricky.

My husband and I decided to go all in with him to cut out a lot of crunchy, sticky, and hard foods, so he didn’t feel like he was missing out on something good that he couldn’t enjoy. We’ve all made a big adjustment in what and how we’re eating due to his braces.

Gluten & Dairy-free Foods for Braces

One thing that I’ve been thinking about as we’ve been going through this time is how resilient we can be and how different seasons of eating come and go. 

I’ve been thinking about how there was a time when I ate all the wheat and dairy products. And then I had to give them up to follow a gluten and dairy-free diet. 

There was a time (eight whole years) when I was eating no eggs, only to discover from an allergist that yeah, I actually can eat them and they won’t kill me! I might not feel amazing every time I eat them, but they won’t hurt me.

There are times when we just have to adapt, knowing and hoping that our bodies or our circumstances REQUIRE us to make a change. And it’s usually for the better.

In this case, my family is cutting out all foods that are:

  • Hard
  • Sticky
  • Chewy
  • Crunchy

And for me, that’s in addition to gluten and dairy.

So I thought I’d share with you a few things that I’ve been learning along the way in how I’m eating within these parameters.

If you (or your kid) just got braces or you need to follow a softer food diet for another reason, here are some of the foods we’ve been eating and some of the things I’ve been keeping in mind so we still have full bellies and no broken brackets.

Gluten & Dairy-free Foods for Braces

Tips for eating with braces on a gluten & dairy-free diet

If you have braces or need to follow a softer food diet while also avoiding gluten and dairy, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Choose soft and non-sticky foods

When this comes to a gluten and dairy-free diet, be sure that you’re choosing healthy options that minimize discomfort – especially just after an adjustment. 

You’ll want to avoid foods like nuts, dried fruit, hard cookies, crackers, or snack foods, and anything too hard that you might have to bite into (like apples, carrots, or celery sticks).

Foods like mashed potatoes, dairy-free yogurt, and smoothies are a good option for days when you’ve visited the orthodontist.

Cut foods into smaller pieces

At our orthodontist, we were advised to cut certain foods up into smaller pieces to prevent damage to the braces. Apples and bell peppers can still be enjoyed if they’re cut up into thin slices. Meats should be cut into smaller pieces so they aren’t too tough to chew.

Breads for sandwiches can be cut in half or into quarters to make them more manageable and easier to break down while wearing braces. Pizza needs to be soft, as well as cut into small bite-sized pieces rather than a whole slice at once.

Gluten & Dairy-free Soft Foods for Braces

Avoid hard and crunchy foods

Many fruits and vegetables are too hard to enjoy raw, but we were encouraged to cook many of these ingredients before eating them. Carrots and celery are good examples of foods that you can still enjoy with braces, but only if they’re cooked.

Other foods like popcorn, nuts, pizza with a hard crust, hard candy, hard pretzels or chips, and ice should be avoided all together.

Find gluten and dairy-free alternatives that work for your diet

After getting braces or needing to get started on a soft foods diet, you might feel like you can’t eat anything that you love – especially if you’re both gluten and dairy-free already.

This is a great time to embrace foods that are naturally gluten and dairy-free and opt for some of those alternatives you can find at the store that cater to this diet. Quinoa, rice, and corn are all soft and safe for a gluten-free diet – these can easily be made into a meal.

Dairy-free options with almond, coconut, cashew, soy, or rice milk are good choices for your dairy-free baking or dessert recipes. Dairy-free ice cream and yogurt are both okay with braces.

Take good care of your teeth

Obviously, if you’re spending oodles of money to fix up your teeth, you’ll want to be sure you’re taking care of them! Make sure you brush and floss as directed by your orthodontist, and keep food particles from getting trapped in your braces to sit on your teeth all day.

This has been the hardest part for my son, so I’ve been sending him with “go-betweens” to school to help pick out lunch leftovers from his brackets before going back to class. He rinses very thoroughly afterwards as well. 

Gluten & Dairy-free Foods for Braces

Gluten and dairy-free foods to eat with braces

With these tips in mind, let’s go over a few specific foods you can eat with braces while still avoiding gluten and dairy. It’s not as scary as it might sound!



Gluten & Dairy-free Foods for Braces


  • Gluten-free pasta with meat sauce, soft meatballs, chicken apple sausage, or Italian sausage (smaller cuts of pasta are better than long noodles)
  • Cooked chicken, salmon, shrimp, or tofu with soft roasted vegetables (nothing too fibrous). Asparagus, bell peppers, zucchini, and onions are all good ideas.
  • Quinoa or rice bowls topped with your choice of protein cut into small bites, steamed vegetables (maybe slightly overcooked so they’re mushy), and a sauce of your choice (honey mustard, BBQ, dairy-free ranch, salad dressings, etc)
  • Taco bowls with ground turkey or ground beef, thinly sliced lettuce, diced tomatoes, guacamole, and salsa. Serve with cooked black beans and/or rice.
  • Veggie or chicken curry made with coconut milk, served with rice or potatoes
  • Chili, stew, or soup: cooked low and slow, these dishes are great because they’re soft, full-flavored, and jam-packed with healthy ingredients



Gluten & Dairy-free Foods for Braces

Tools to make your life easier with braces on a gluten & dairy-free diet

While this is certainly not a blog about orthodonture and I have zero authority on the topic, what I do know is what we’re doing in my house. Here are a few products that we’ve been using to make sure my son’s experience with braces work for our family.

I hope they help you if you’re navigating life with braces and/or a soft foods diet.

Remember that with every adjustment of your diet, it might not be forever. Maybe today you’re following a soft food diet for braces. But in a year from now, you’ll be back to enjoying your favorite foods again. 

There are so many seasons and phases of life, so don’t get too discouraged when it feels like your choices are limited. Nothing is forever – especially a soft foods diet – and if it is, well, then I hope your teeth are REALLY straight!

f you loved this post, I hope that you’ll share it with your friends on Facebook and pin it for future reference on Pinterest.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button