Encourage Eating – Kids Co-op

When my Sensory Seeker was younger I wrote about Fussy eating. Since then we discovered that he has Sensory Processing Disorder, so encouraging him to eat food was not going to be as easy as we first thought. The thing to remember is that are lots of different senses at work when it comes to food. Writing down what he would eat made us feel better as the list was actually a lot longer than we first thought. Trouble is depending on how that food is presented can be a key factor in whether your Sensory Seeker (or avoider) will eat. With me I have found it is a lot of trial and error – maybe keep a diary.

encouraging eating

Our Sensory Seeker prefers food to be cold and he does not like foods to be touching. We found that a segregated plate helped, so that he could visually see that the foods were not touching. At a party someone asked if he wanted a cheeseburger but then put it on his plate on top of tomato ketchup. He just would not eat it. Now it’s not even that he does not like ketchup on his cheeseburger, and if he had put the two together that would have been fine. I have long since learnt not to try understand the logic behind how he behaves but just to try and best help him. In this instance I got him another cheeseburger (without ketchup on the bottom). Similarly he will not even try to eat toad-in-the-hole – but loves both sausages and Yorkshire puddings.

encouraging eating kids co-op

To encourage eating we tend to put at least one food on his plate that we know he does like, and one that is new, or we would like him to try. We often use bribery (pudding/computer games etc) rewards to encourage him. We start slowly – maybe getting him to touch the food for several presentations, then lick it, before eating a small piece. We pick our battles. So although we would love him to use cutlery we have decided that stretching his diet is more important for us at this time. Or if he wants to play with the food, and smear it over himself first, we tend to let him do that too – as we know it can result him in eating more. We do have to be careful that he does not stuff too much food into his mouth though – especially hard foods such as raw carrot. We have managed to get more foods into our Sensory Seeker by him seeing them as a treat – such as pancakes and bananas for breakfast.

encourage eating kids coop

Things to consider about mealtimes  for the child with Sensory Processing Disorder:

What smells are around – from food, other people and the general environment?

What is the temperature like – again from food, for the child, and in the environment?

The appearance of the food – how does it look? Do the foods touch each other? Is it clutter on the plate? Our Sensory Seeker will not eat chicken roll that has bread crumbs around the edges – even if you remove it first.

What colours – is your child with Sensory Processing Disorder under or over stimulated by the colours of the food or their environment?

The textures of the food – is it lumpy, smooth etc?

Is the food cooked? – Our Sensory Seeker loves raw carrots but will not entertain them cooked. If you have any more hints, tips, problems or ideas please add them in the comments below.

Here are some great fun ideas for encouraging eating from last weeks Kids Co-op

I like the idea of making shapes with the food – such as this tree on Crystal and Comp.

Encouraging eating kids co-op

I am loving the idea of utilising their interests, such as recipes from stories and lunchboxes based on the stories. Check out Lunches on Keitha’s Chaos, Little Red Hen Printable Picture Recipes - Pre K Pages

encouraging eating kids co-op

Having trouble getting your child to eat fruit and vegetables but no problems with things such as cake? Why not try making some carrot muffins! (from A Bountiful love).

Encouraging eating kids co-op

Or these date barsfrom Blessed but Stressed.

encouraging eating kids co-op

Frozen Strawberry Pops - Craftulate

encouraging eating kids co-op

No Junk apple cinnamon and strawberry muffins - A Mummy too

encouraging eating kids co-op

I think children getting involved really helps, so really like Cooking with small child – Roasted Chickpeas - Eats Amazing

encouraging eating kids co-op

51 thoughts on “Encourage Eating – Kids Co-op

  1. My youngest is fussy, but that’s how I was as a littlie and I know from experience that forcing them to try/eat things they don’t want to only makes it far worse in the long run. I know she’ll grow out of it and try new things when she is ready x
    Polly recently posted…Bluebells and SunJelliesMy Profile

  2. my son has always been a pain with eating, I have now got him to take fruit to school and eat it on the way instead of sitting at a table eating breakfast with others as he pointly refuses , he wont eat a meal but when the other 6 are at school he sits at the table with me for dinner perfectly , i honestly think he can not be bothered with their noise but slowely the teatime meals are working

  3. There are some fabulous tips here but I think the best is not to try and understand it but learn how best to help and work with your child. This goes for all children too as we have problems with food touching and stuffing too much in the mouth and my little one likes food to be warm or cold rather than hot. It is definitely true that if you build something up as a treat they will eat more. I managed to get my son to eat leeks and peppers this evening as I put them in pancake batter and made a savoury pancake. He hates leeks and peppers but surprise, surprise he likes these savoury pancakes!
    Kirsty recently posted…The Gruffalo ActivitiesMy Profile

  4. We have the same issue. T will only eat the crusts of bread, nibbles the edges of most foods, likes crunchier foods and nothing can touch. He’s been really bad of late wanting to eat about three foods but has just started being interested in what we are eating and wanting some. If we rush and then serve him some on his own plate, he won’t eat it. So we let him mooch off us and then he will eat. Oh the confusion sometimes!
    sam@happyhomebird recently posted…Allotment round upMy Profile

  5. Great tips! My kiddo does not like to eat hot food, have his foods touching, or have foods mixed together like in casseroles. His picky eating style is part of the reason I started making him story themed lunches for school. He tends to eat more when his food is presented in an interesting manner. Thanks for including a link to my lunch post.

  6. Great links, thanks. I wouldn’t like a cheeseburger dumped in ketchup either, and it always irritates me how people who will eat any food, any old how, are not at all tolerant of those who prefer it a different way – mashed up, separated, cold, whatever that is!! :)

  7. Great tips! My son has ADHD and he has had similar problems with sensory eating. It’s hard to remember, especially when you are in a hurry. But either you do, or you’ll have a melt down in your hands.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge