If you love food (and really, who doesn’t?), Thanksgiving is probably one of your favorite holidays. All of those foods that are too time-consuming to make the rest of the year make their appearance on this day dedicated to being thankful, spending time with family, and eating. Fortunately, the majority of traditional Thanksgiving foods are perfectly fine to eat, even if you had braces recently put on and are still a little sore.

What Appetizers to Eat or Avoid with Braces

Families often gather to visit long before the turkey is done, so appetizers are brought out to keep our stomachs from growling before the main event. While many of these foods may be hard on braces, there are some that can keep you satisfied without causing harm.

Appetizers to avoid: crunchy raw vegetables, chips, popcorn and nuts.

Appetizers to enjoy: cheese chunks or slices, salami or pepperoni slices, soft dips with bread, meatballs or cocktail weenies in sauce.

Thanksgiving Dinner

This meal is one of the best for those with braces because so many of the foods are soft and not sticky.

Salads: Leafy green salads are great without crunchy carrots, nuts, or croutons. Waldorf salad or other fruit salads with crunchy apples or nuts in them should probably wait until next Thanksgiving when you are brace-free.

Turkey or ham: Either of these main attractions are fine to eat with braces as long as they are cut in small pieces and not eaten off the bone. Sorry, no turkey legs this year if you have braces.

Stuffing: Stuffing is generally soft, which makes it fine for braces. Just steer clear of the outside edges that may have become crunchy in the oven or any pecans or walnuts that might be hiding inside.

Vegetables: This may or may not be a good thing for you, but you can eat as many cooked vegetables as you’d like. This includes sweet potato casserole without nuts and mashed potatoes and gravy.

Don’t Forget Dessert

If you love pumpkin pie, you’re in luck, because it is the perfect dessert to eat with braces. If you prefer pecan, you’ll either have to forgo it this year or just eat the sweet filling and the crust and give the pecans to someone else. Most other pies, including cream or fruit pies are just fine.

Caramel apples are a fun fall dessert, but they are definitely hazardous to braces. Between the crunchy apple and sticky caramel, this is one to avoid for now. If cookies are an option, avoid any with nuts and break them into smaller pieces to eat instead of biting them if they are crunchy.

As with all other meals, it’s important to brush and floss after you’re done with your Thanksgiving feast to remove any food that may be lurking in your braces. You’ll also want to brush after any turkey sandwiches, stuffing and gravy snacks, or extra pieces of pie later in the day.

So, enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner, and try not to over-indulge. Well, not too much anyway. Happy Thanksgiving!