As simple and natural as it seems to sit down to enjoy a meal with family or friends, there are many complex sensory factors at play. When trying a new food, you don’t only have to get used to how it tastes, but also how it looks, smells, and feels (texture, temperature, shape).
If your child has a limited diet or avoids certain foods or food groups, please consult with your pediatrician and your occupational therapist for appropriate treatment.
Here we provide some fun ways to introduce new foods, but they are not meant as a replacement for OT treatment.
Hierarchy of Eating
There are many small stepping stones to tolerating a new food. Your child may not be willing to eat that new fruit or vegetable, but they may be willing to sniff it, touch it with their fingers or their whole hand, kiss it, lick it, or take a bite and then spit it out.
Learning About the Food
Borrow a book from the library about the food. Learn how it’s made or where it’s grown. See if there is a you-pick orchard or garden in your area where you and your child can interact with the food in its natural state.
Play with Your Food!
Drive toy race cars through applesauce. Feed baby carrots to plastic dinosaurs. Make train tracks out of pretzel rods. Get creative! Playing with food is a fun, non-threatening way to get comfortable with new food items. Take nibbles of the snacks throughout your game and your child may even join in!
Involve your child in the grocery shopping and cooking process. Allow them to help pick out food from the store. Then look for recipes and cook them up together. When your child is more involved in selecting and preparing the food, they are often more likely to give it a try!
Tip: make it into a game by having them select their favorite color of apples or see if they can find the biggest avocado.
Call today at 586-323-2957 to schedule your FREE 30 minute PT, OT, or SLP screening!