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Exploring Holiday Foods

Can you believe that we are already nearing the end of the year?! We can’t either! As we get closer to the end of the year, with that comes the holidays. And many of them! Halloween is right around the corner, and we also have many holidays in November and December. These holidays can provide great opportunities for kids to explore and learn about new foods. There are many fun play ideas that go around the various holidays, and lots of fun foods to explore, too!

Before we dive into how to help your child learn about new foods, we need to review the Steps to Eating Hierarchy’s six major steps, because eating does not begin at the mouth. First, we must tolerate the physical presence or the look of the food. This might even include just being in the same room as the food. Then, perhaps, we can interact with the food without directly touching the food to your skin, maybe by using a kitchen utensil like a mini food chopper or a fork. Next, our body needs to process and manage the smell or odor of a food.  The play then expands to include touching the food with your fingers, hands, body, and mouth. Think about that baby first learning to eat! Tasting comes next, which might look like quickly poking the food with the tip of your tongue, or maybe putting the food in your mouth, and spitting it out. Finally, we are ready to practice chewing and swallowing.In therapy, we have been creating all sorts of Halloween costumes out of food—things that you can do at home with your little one, too! Just yesterday, one of our therapists made masks out of all different types of food. She used cookie cutters to cut holes into sliced American cheese, placed them on their face like a mask, and they pretended like they were Elastigirl from the Incredibles (what the little girl is dressing up as for Halloween with her family). With another child, they used chocolate pudding to paint on their face, and pretended like they were raccoons! This therapist also had another little one that wasn’t ready to touch the food to her face yet. So, she did work at the lower levels on the Steps to Eating Hierarchy. This child was going to be a Poppy from Trolls, so they painted their fingernails with strawberry yogurt to help “make her costume”.

The grocery store can be filled with all sorts of neat holiday-themed food. It is a great time to learn about new foods! Check out this food one of our families found! They found it at the grocery store and brought it into therapy. It is called Buddha’s Hand, and it is one of the oldest citrus fruits! The grocery store advertised it as a “Halloween food”, and I am sure you can see why! We learned about it in therapy by studying the physical properties of the food. Then we did a quick internet search and figured out people use it like lemon zest, so we had fun with the cheese grater! We sprinkled it on top of this child’s favorite yogurt to change up the flavor a bit. The child’s older sibling then found a recipe to turn the fruit into jelly, which he made with his mother at home after the session.

Be sure to explore all of the different foods the grocery stores have to offer around this time of year! Does your child eat Veggie Chips? Check out these seasonal Veggie Chips that are shaped like bats and ghosts! Your child may look at them and say they are different. However, turn it into a learning experience! Compare them with their original Veggie Chips. Show them how they are the same color, but a different shape. Talk about how they may smell and feel the same. Do an experiment to lick both of them, and see if they taste the same. You can do the same experiment with the Winter Oreos (red filling, but tastes the same as regular Oreos). See if your child can spot the similarities and differences between the winter Oreos and the regular Oreos.

This holiday season, be sure to not just do your regular route around the store (or buy your usual foods online). Involve your child in the shopping, and explore all of the different foods that they have to offer during this holiday season. Who knows what new favorite you might find!

For more ideas, check out our Membership Options.

Understanding Picky Eaters and Problem Feeders

Are all children picky?

Many parents have been told by well-meaning professionals that they do not need to be worried about their child’s eating habits. However, it is not true that all children are picky.  Nor is it true that they will all outgrow it. Keep reading to learn more about what we know about Picky Eaters.

Parent/Caregiver Workshop

This 2-hour Workshop will teach Parents and Caregivers about the foundational skills needed for eating. Practical Strategies are discussed so Parents and Caregivers can help their children learn to have a lifelong healthy relationship with food. This Workshop will be addressing common feeding issues often seen in young children, to struggles that “picky eaters” may have, and the challenges of the “problem feeder”.

Why we don’t use the ARFID diagnosis

ARFID is a diagnosis that the American Psychiatric Association created in 2013 to replace the old diagnosis referred to as Feeding Disorder of Infancy and Early Childhood. Read more about the challenges with this new diagnosis and what diagnosis we prefer instead.

Why You May See Increased Feeding Challenges During Times of Stress or Change

When children and their families are undergoing major changes in their lives, whether this is related to stress or a positive life event, any child’s eating or feeding can be easily disrupted. Read about the 4 main issues and learn strategies to get your family back on track

Setting Your Family Up for Success

Preventing Picky Eating: Strategies to help your family get back on track

This quick article outlines our first three recommendations for almost any family who comes in for a feeding assessment. Watch how these three strategies start to shift mealtimes at your home.

Great advice when introducing those first baby foods to your little one!

We found some great advice in the baby food aisle at the grocery store!

Tips for Picky Eaters and Problem Feeders

Managing Stressful Times with a Picky Eater or Problem Feeder

Learn how stress and adrenaline can wreak havoc with your child’s appetite and make mealtimes more challenging, as well as strategies to support your child and family.

Need New Ideas to Help Expose Your Child to New Foods?

A common concern parents share is that it can be hard to expose your child to new foods, especially if they aren’t able to eat meals at the same time with the family or if they are reluctant to even being in the same room with you if you are eating something different. Here are a few simple ideas that you can start incorporating tonight!

Supporting Your Child’s Posture for Meals (and Schoolwork)

Postural stability is an essential aspect of your child’s learning, whether they are learning how to eat, learning about new foods, or learning about math! It supports your child not only at mealtimes but also for online school and homework. Learn how to adapt your child’s chair to provide stability and watch meals, and schoolwork, get a little bit easier.

Planning for School Lunches

With a little bit of planning, you can help set your child up for success during meals and snacks at school.

Seasons and Holiday Tips

Valentine’s Day Strategies for Picky Eaters

Holidays can be tough on kids – keep reading to learn why and make a plan to make this holiday go a little more smoothly!

How are you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?

Keep reading for some fun food ideas with a rainbow theme!

Fall Fun with Apples (and Pears!)

Check out this article with some great ideas to introduce your child to apples and pears.

Strategies for a Happier Halloween with your Picky Eater

Learn why holidays can be so difficult for your child, and help set them up for success!

Exploring Holiday Foods

The grocery store can be filled with all sorts of seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as holiday-themed packaged foods. Choosing something unfamiliar can be a fun learning experience for the whole family! Check out this article for more ideas on how to use the novelty of the changing seasons to help your family learn about new foods!

Winter Fun in Food School!

Have you ever wondered what feeding therapy using the SOS Approach to Feeding looks like? Take a peek at some of our sessions this week.

Fun with Food

Exploring Holiday Foods

The holidays can provide great opportunities for kids to explore and learn about new foods. There are many fun play ideas that go around the various holidays, and lots of fun, seasonal foods to explore, too!

Fun Food Books to Explore with your Child

Sometimes, learning about new foods during a meal is just too hard, especially if everyone is stressed. Sometimes, even getting your child to the table for meals can be hard. One way around this is to start conversations around food, separate from mealtimes (without the pressure to eat or taste it).

Pull Up a Seat in the Garden

We want to talk about gardening as the therapeutic table we can set for our kids be it in the summer or even all year long.  Here are some helpful tips and ways to engage your kids even if you yourself are a novice gardener.

Quick Recipes with High Calories and Nutrition

Check out these fun, kid-friendly recipes for fudge and milkshakes (both with dairy-free options) that have some great nutrition and easy to consume calories!

Oatmeal Banana Cookies

These simple cookies come together very quickly and only require a few pantry staples – and use up those spotty bananas! This is a very kid-friendly recipe, so it is okay if the measurements aren’t exact. Make sure you try out the Food Scientist Tips at the bottom to personalize them!


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Parent & Caregiver Memberships
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