At Home Tricks for Picky Eaters

At Home Tricks for Picky Eaters

 

  1. ALLOW YOUR FUSSY EATER TO EXPLORE AND PLAY WITH THEIR FOOD
    1. Using the tactile or touch sensation will allow your child to explore the textures of foods more easily and “safer” through their hands first. Using fingers first, then progressing towards their mouth, is much less threatening and will lead to a better overall response and outcome.
  2. GRIND UP THE FOODS
    1. Grind up the foods that the rest of the family is eating using a food processor or chopper. This helps the child to get used to the taste first, and may help the child get used to the texture.
  3. MODIFY THE FOOD
    1. Increase the child’s tolerance of a food by changing the following:
      1. how the food is cooked (raw, boiled, baked, fried, microwaved)
      2. how the food is cut/shaped (round, stick, cube, use cookie cutters to make fun shapes like a heart or star, shredded, sliced)
      3. what color the food is (rainbow goldfish versus the traditional orange goldfish, fruit flavored applesauce such as strawberry which is pink)
      4. the temperature of the food (cold, room temperature, hot/warm)
      5. the form of the food (apple, applesauce, baked apples with cinnamon/sugar; grape versus raisin; dried fruit chips versus raw or pureed fruit)
  4. GIVE YOUR CHILD CHOICES WHENEVER POSSIBLE
    1. Provide your child with 2 choices to give them more sense of control
    2. The choices should be decided by the parent, such as 2 unpreferred foods, but let the child choose which unpreferred food they would like to taste that meal
    3. Let the child spit the food out after tasting. This reduces the negative experience of tasting new foods, and can help take away the “fear” of that food. Eventually, this can also help desensitize the child to the food the more often they put it into their mouth whether they swallow or not.
  5. PRAISE YOUR CHILD OFTEN
    1. Let your child know you are proud of them during any kind of interaction with unpreferred foods
    2. If they did more than the time before, then something was accomplished
    3. If they licked it, smelled it, chewed it, spit it out, played with it –the child should receive positive reinforcement, no punishment!
  6. INCLUDE DIFFERENT FLAVORS WITH CONDIMENTS OR DIPS
    1. Use different sauces or dressings to give more flavor to foods. Some kids prefer more spicy or flavorful foods to increase oral motor awareness for chewing or swallowing.
      1. Ketchup, spicy mustard, honey mustard, yellow mustard, barbeque, ranch dressing, mayonnaise, gravy, steak sauce, honey, pizza or spaghetti sauce, sour cream, cream cheese, hummus

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