Food sensitivities often co-exist with language delays. Many times parents think that their child is just really picky until it is brought to their attention that a repertoire of so few foods is not healthy or typical.
Often kids will eliminate textures, flavors, or colors. Some examples of this are that a child will only eat crunchy salty foods or they will only eat bland colorless foods such as rice or potatoes. There are many ways to incorporate new textures and flavors into a child’s diet but I have found food chaining to be most successful for this type of sensitivity.
This blog is a great place to start http://cheriandlaura.blogspot.com/ and here are some quick tips and tricks I give to many parents.
- Introduce new foods slowly. If he is aversive to a food, put it in a bowl next to his plate and over time transition it to his plate.
- Do not force foods on him.
- Do encourage him to play with foods (especially food that he is aversive to)
- Fingerpaint with pudding (then lick your fingers)
- Use dips like BBQ, ranch, humus, sour cream, gravy
- Add a small amount of a new food to his preferred food but let him see you add them (add 2 small cooked carrot pieces to his mac & cheese)
- Eat with him and play with his food with him.
- Use his dips for your food
- Make mealtime fun and encourage siblings to model for him
- Encourage him to help with mealtime preparation
- Transition new foods slowly and do not ever force him to eat the new food.
Children are usually most successful with this through a trained speech-language pathologist rather than a parent initially. Parents will be transitioned into mealtime training over time.