Fun with Food!

Welcome to Fun with Food! This site was designed to help parents and caregivers find, share and ask about fun foods for your selective toddler!

As a speech-language pathologist specializing in pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders, I encounter many children who have experienced negative associations surrounding food. These children often have accompanying oral motor feeding difficulties and sensory processing difficulties--making eating a very stressful experience instead of an enjoyable one.

This website will hopefully serve as an "idea place" for meals as well as questions and support from other parents and caregivers. Enjoy!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Oven Baked Squash "Fries"

This recipe was inspired by a toddler's love of Tings--a dairy free puffed corn chip very similar to Cheetos. My daughter Loves them and many of the kids I work with love them too! If you have a 'picky' toddler or VERY selective eater, you may notice that he/she has a diet full of yellow foods, do I hear an Amen? Most crunchy snacks are yellowish as well as breading for lots of toddler accepted foods. I find that a lot of toddlers and older children love the feedback that these crunchier foods give them. Parents wonder why in the world their child will not eat wonderfully cheesy casseroles or vegetables with butter, etc but these textures and tastes may be "too much" for them to handle from a sensory standpoint. Meet your child where he is at by exposing him to these foods--but at no point should you ever force the issue. One thing I have my families I work with do is keep a list of "accepted foods"--I then help find a starting place to expand on those foods. Similar tastes, colors, shapes, textures and always a subtle change. I will list some examples below:

Accepted Food--Spiral noodles with melted butter
Food to Try--Spiral noodles with melted butter + seasoning such as salt or garlic powder/salt (depending on child's likes) or different shaped noodle with melted butter

Accepted Food--French fries
Foods to Try--potato smiles, tator tots

Accepted Food--silver dollar pancakes
Foods to Try--bread cut into small circles, potato smiles, circle sandwiches

Accepted Food--beef hot dog
Foods to Try--turkey dog, pork hot dog, ham (Some kids may only accept the hot dogs when cut into circles, so you would want to present the turkey dog in circle shapes as well when first introducing)

The goal is to expand on each accepted food, no matter how small the change because you are aiming for a goal your child can actually REACH. It feels good to accomplish a goal and your child needs to feel that he can do this. I realize that this is a Very different approach than some feeding clinics across the country but I think there is a lot to be said about the feeding process and actually enjoying it!

I was recently told about a book called Food Chaining in which this like-minded approach to increasing your child's food repertoire is discussed in a 6 step program. I have not even read the book and am already recommending to people based on what I have read on their blog. I also highly recommend reading Expanding Children's Diets by Suzanne Evans Morris. I'm pretty sure all of us would get along really well if we ever met in person!

Getting back to "Squash Fries"-- As you can see from previous posts I enjoy creating and pairing foods together and presenting them in a way that feels 'safe' for children. I've recently become a fan of Panko bread crumbs as they produce a nice Crunch to foods and they are also appropriate for milk and egg free diets. These came out delicious with a nice and crunchy coating!

Recipe for 1-2 servings of Squash Fries
1 yellow squash, cut lengthwise and into fries (cut about 1/4 inch thickness)
1 bag of "tings" (or favorite crunchy chip)
2-3 tbsp Panko breading
olive oil spray
sea salt

Place Tings in food processor or blender, blend into fine crumbs
Mix with Panko
Coat pan and squash with oil spray and sprinkle coating all over and roll to fully coat
Bake at 375 for 25 minutes....enjoy!


Anonymous said...

This is a great idea! I love coming up with fun foods for the kids! Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for your comments! I am feeling very lucky these days as my 4-year old now loves to try new foods and eats pretty much anything. Today, she ate a curry-spiced lamb shank with ginger!