How to Get a Child to Eat - Achieve Beyond

How to Get a Child to Eat

Achieve Beyond is sharing tips in order to help you prepare your kiddos for their return to school! Join Sonu our NYC EI Clinical Director as she discusses 2 tips to help encourage your child to eat!

Presented by: Sonu Sanghoee, MS,CCC-SLP – NYC EI Clinical Director


Hello, everyone. My name is Sonu. I’m a speech-language pathologist and I’m currently working at Achieve Beyond. As summer is over and children are ready to go back to school, I wanted to share a few useful, easy feeding tips to prep the children to increase their food repertoire and just to have a schedule, like a structure, for the mealtime.

Get Your Child to Eat With Food Chaining

For increasing food repertoire, something that I really like and I use a lot is food chaining. What is food chaining? Food chaining is using the child’s preferred food and altering one property at a time. It could be changing the shape. It could be changing the color. It could be changing the taste. And then it could be changing the texture and changing the temperature.

Incorporate the Three T’s

These last three, I call them three Ts. Taste, temperature and texture. Just taking an example, how does food chaining work and what you can do, let’s take an example of an apple. That could be a preferred food. And apples are in season right now for children.

Use Visual Representation

Visual presentation counts for children too, so when I was talking about changing the shape, you can just make it a fun shape. Cut the apple slice from a cookie cutter in a star shape, it could be a heart shape. So, you can present that as a fun shape. Changing the color, you can use Red Delicious apples, Golden Delicious, which is yellow, the green Granny Smith. That changes the color.

Changing the Taste, Texture, and Temperature

And there’s something fun changing the taste. You can sprinkle cinnamon on the slices, or you can sprinkle brown sugar or powder sugar, so that changes the taste. Changing the texture, you can present the freeze-dried version of the apple slices which will be more crunchy.

And then, lastly, changing the temperature by presenting baked apples one day. That is how you can change one property at a time, and it makes it fun for the children. That was food chaining.

Use Structure to Plan Meals

And coming back to structure, I know with the pandemic our structures have been kind of out of the door. We’re getting used to the new normal. And then, also, getting back the children centered toward that is, probably choosing or taking 15 minutes from your daily routine to share a meal, maybe lunch, together or having snack time together.

Establish the Rules 

What you can do is, during the time, teach them some rules which might be in effect now in school too. So, washing the hands, laying the table. And then, if you have siblings or other family members, sitting at a distance.

And then you can make the part of the meal fun. Okay, well, I’m going to take a bite. Now, your turn to take a bite. And then, once you’re done, it’s all done, let’s go back and put our utensils back in the kitchen. The children can learn the beginning, learn the social distancing rules, cleaning of hands and you can bring them center, for them to get used to that schedule of mealtime back in school. Thank you.

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