Although it may sound counterintuitive, nutrition isn’t always about eating the food in front of us.  

An excellent first step in broadening your child’s food choices is to learn and play before eatingAnd what better time to learn about new food than over the holidays?  

Toys and books are great ways to add nutrition education to the holiday break. Sometimes, nutrition means reading a funny book about bananas your child will remember the next time they are offered a banana. It could be a sorting game that leads to sorting real food. Or it could be a pretend kitchen your child plays in where they learn about kitchen safety, and more!  

If you, your child, or a family you know is working to add variety to their dietsee below for toys and books that can provide nutrition focused play.  

1. Play kitchenWayfair kitchen setStove cooking toy set –  These play kitchens are an excellent place to introduce topics of safety, food storage and following instructions. Have your little chef open their own kitchen for a day while learning cooking skills.  

2. Taco & Tortilla set, Chinese breakfast play food , Multicultural food play set – Following the idea of a pretend kitchen, these pretend food sets include a variety of ingredients meant to be culturally inclusive. Your child can pretend to make food they may see in their home or environment!

3. Books – reading about new foods before trying them can connect real food to food the characters were exposed to in books! Try these exciting stories to start.

    1. Pancakes Pancakes – Eric Carle
    2. Eating the Alphabet – Lois Ehlert
    3. Indestructibles: Baby, Let’s Eat! – Amy Pixton
    4. Cora Cooks Pancit – Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore
    5. DW the Picky Eater – Marc Brown

4. Super sorting pie & Farmer’s Market sorting set – Some children prefer more visually stimulating tasks over pretend play; that’s okay! These play sets help sort food into colors and work on fine motor skills at the same time. You can sort and label the food as you go, try it first with play toys then with real food when your child is ready.

5. Gift card Finally, grocery store gift cards make excellent presents – they can help fund food exploration without worrying about food waste. Trader Joe’s, Jewel Osco, Whole Foods, and Target offer gift cards and options for purchasing food in bulk! When you shop, keep an eye out for foods of similar colors, textures, or shape of currently preferred foods to introduce to your selective eater. 

For additional gift ideas or questions about nutrition therapy, don’t hesitate to reach out to your BBD team and dietitianHappy holidays  

Blue Bird Day fosters socialization, sensory regulation, and pre-academic learning in children ages 2-7 years in therapeutic rotations that simulate  preschool and kindergarten settings. Our compassionate therapists practice a relationship-based and family-centered approach, provide parent training, and collaborate on goals and individualized intensive treatment plans for your child.

We believe in a collaborative and multi-disciplinary team approach to therapy. A team of occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, dietitians, developmental therapists, behavioral therapists, physical therapists, and therapeutic assistants are created for each child to ensure child and family are fully supported and the best possible results are achieved.  

Options for individualized, group and virtual therapy sessions are available as well. 

Want to learn more or you have a specific question? Feel free to connect with us here! 

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