Snacks are a great way to keep your energy up between meals. But don’t reach for that unhealthy bag of chips or a chewy granola bar that will aggravate your jaw. Take advantage of the bounty of fresh produce of the season, and try these TMJ-friendly ideas for a healthy and happy summer!
Crunchy, raw veggies are often too difficult for TMD patients to chew. So take advantage of summertime grilling and throw your favorite vegetables on the grill! Many vegetables do well wrapped in some foil and sprinkled with olive oil and your favorite herbs. This gives them a softer texture and an incredible flavor without sacrificing their healthy attributes. Asparagus, squash, peppers, eggplant, mushrooms and many others will cook well on the grill.
Protein for Muscles
If you need a quick burst of energy, don’t reach for a chewy protein bar that could hurt your jaw (and probably contains lots of sugar). Instead, try cottage cheese, a high-protein, low sugar snack that can be dressed in a variety of ways. Top it with soft berries for a sweet treat, or toss it with salsa, cucumber, or avocado with seasonings for a more savory dish. Your muscles, including your TMJ, need protein – so reach for protein-rich, healthy options whenever possible.
Potassium is an important mineral for muscle health, and you can find it in many soft, TMJ-friendly summer foods. Bananas and apricots are refreshing and healthy snacks anytime, especially with some Greek yogurt for protein. Sweet potatoes are delicious grilled or roasted, and can be tossed on a salad or sliced and baked into “fries.”
Smoothies and Summer’s Bounty
Smoothies are an excellent choice for TMD patients any time of year, because they’re a delicious way to get your nutritious fruits and vegetables without worrying about jaw strain. And in the summer, you have access to the freshest berries, watermelon, cherries, pineapple, plums, and more. All you need is a blender and your favorite fresh fruits and vegetables. One to try: Combine one cup each of pineapple, cherries, strawberries, and baby spinach with one cup of Greek yogurt and blend until smooth.
Smart Summer Sipping
When you’re enjoying an icy cool beverage with your snacks, it’s important to know that certain beverages could aggravate TMD, just as foods can. Caffeine can increase grinding, stressing your jaw joint and potentially damaging your teeth. Iced coffee drinks and iced tea are refreshing, but you may be consuming far more caffeine than you realize. Stick to caffeine-free herbal teas, or make your own sun tea with decaffeinated tea bags.
Skip the soda, which contains caffeine – and loads of sugar that can cause tooth decay. Sugar can be of particular concern if you have jaw pain and proper brushing and flossing is difficult for you. Be on the safe side and avoid these sugary drinks that have no nutritional value or benefit for your oral health.
You can enjoy summer snacks without aggravating your TMD. If you have jaw pain or symptoms of TMD, contact MedCenter TMJ to get the problem under control. Schedule your appointment today!