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!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New Foods in New Ways

If you are asking yourself "Are those skewered green beans?!" the answer is Yes! They are. Sometimes it pays to be weird--or non-traditional I should say-- and when it comes to new food for your cautious child food kabobs can be a wonderful thing! Not only is the food presentation novel and fun, but eating food in this manner is also easier for a child who has a difficult time with food textures on hands. Sure you are working on goals to help your child tolerate food on hands, but for introducing very new foods just the simple novelty of the way in which a food is presented can help decrease anxieties.

Try this at home: Does your child have a favorite food? How about a certain food you are trying to introduce? Why not take those 2 foods and make a kabob? In this picture you can see the cheese, representing the favorite, and the blackberry, representing the new food. I'm going to pretend the child already eats something similar to a blackberry, maybe a blueberry or other berry, so it is not too scary for him when he sees it. The blackberry is placed in the middle so that after the favorite food is eaten off of the end, he somehow has to bypass the blackberry to get to the rest of the cheese! Maybe he'll eat it, but more than likely he will slide it off as quickly as possible :) How bad does he want the cheese? Bad enough to slide it through the blackberry juice? See where I am going with this? If he eats the cheese off of the skewer that is considered success because the blackberry is on the very same toothpick. If he slides it through the blackberry juice then eats the cheese that is HUGE. Remember the older post about seeing the Bigger Picture? Well this is a step toward getting there!

If you have a great food presentation idea I'd love to hear about it! As you may have noticed with your own child, many babies have aversions to utensils and shudder at the sight of a spoon. Try using graham cracker sticks or other foods as a 'spoon' to dip into other foods or dips. My daughter likes to use a little appetizer fork that we purchased at World Market. Its metal just like she sees mommy and daddy use all the time and it is her 'fancy' fork so that makes it extra special. The bamboo forks and toothpicks in my pictures are also from World Market. In the spirit of non-traditional food presentations and utensils I used the wine bottle cheese tray just for the pictures! My mother makes these in her kiln using recycled wine bottles and I wanted to show mine!