It’s been said that a child may need to be presented with a new food 10-15 times before they will eat it. So how can we make the most of these presentations while spiking a child’s interest in the food? Here are some ideas:

Present foods in small amounts

  • When there are large amounts of foods or several different types of foods on a child’s plate, they are likely to feel overwhelmed and anxious. 

Place an “All Done Bowl” on the table 

  • This concept of your child being able to place unwanted items in the “All Done Bowl” reduces throwing unwanted items on the floor, but also encourages your child to touch the food item! 
  • Once your child is comfortable touching the food item to put into the “All Done Bowl,” you can ask them to give the item a kiss goodbye before they discard it. This gets the food item moving closer to the mouth! 
  • Once your child is comfortable kissing the food item goodbye, encourage them to give it “one little lick” before placing it into the “All Done Bowl” 
  • Once your child is comfortable licking the food item before discarding, encourage them to take a small bite and spit it out into the “All Done Bowl” 
  • Keep in mind your child may skip some of these steps on their own or may need to stay at a given step for several presentations of the food 

Talk about foods, their properties, and their benefits for your child’s body

  • Ex: Carrots: “Carrots are orange. They are crunchy. Carrots help our eyes to see well!”

Present foods in different shapes 

  • Use cookie cutters to cut foods into fun shapes. You can find “small shape food cutters” on amazon! 
  • Cut foods in different ways. Ex: Present cucumbers cut into sticks as well as cut into circles

Present foods in different consistencies/textures 

  • If your child doesn’t like food, it very likely could be because of its texture. Try presenting the same food in different consistencies to get your child used to the flavor. 
  • Ex: Apple Options
  • Full apple with skin 
  • Full apple without skin 
  • Apple slices with skin 
  • Apple slices without skin 
  • Apples cut into bite-size pieces with skin 
  • Apples cut into bite-size pieces without skin 
  • Pureed apple/applesauce 
  • Thicker/chunkier pureed apple/applesauce 
  • Apple juice 
  • Add apples to a smoothie 

Offer dipping sauces 

  • Dipping sauces are great incentives to get your child to eat a food or at least lick it to get the sauce off!
  • Suggested sauces: 
  • Peanut butter 
  • Nutella 
  • Hummus 
  • Ranch dressing 
  • Ranch dip 
  • Ketchup 
  • Vegetable dips 
  • French onion dip 
  • Greek yogurt 
  • Barbecue Sauce 

Present with different seasonings 

  • Play around with different seasonings as well as the amount of seasoning on presented foods! Just like adults, some children like more flavorful foods while other children like more mild foods. 

Play with foods

  • While we do want children to eat their food, playing with their food does get them closer!
  • Play ideas:
  • Pretend to feed foods to your child’s favorite characters 
  • Pretend foods are train whistles 
  • Pretend foods are people, cars, animals, etc. and act out play routines 
  • Sing songs with food 
  • Have your child pretend to be various animals while eating/trying foods. “How would a dinosaur eat that cracker?!” 
  • Have your child help you prepare foods 
  • When preparing meals for your family, have your child help. Children are more likely to try a food item that they took part in making!   

Have your child help you prepare foods 

  • When preparing meals for your family, have your child help. Children are more likely to try a food item that they took part in making!   

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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