Eating around the Plate: Use a sectioned plate with 3 or 4 sections. Place 3 preferred foods on the plate and one new food on the plate. Have the child “eat around the plate” by taking one bite of each food at a time. You can put the food in any order you would like. The child can start with smelling or licking the new food, and progress to taking bites.
Alternate bites: Have your child pick one of their favorite foods, and a new food that they/or you would like them to try. Start with their preferred food and have them alternate bites of their new foods. Again, they can start slow with the new food (smelling, licking, holding in their teeth) and work their way to a full bite. This method is best for snack time.
Positive Reinforcement: This is one of my favorite types of feeding therapy. I like to call it feeding therapy with a “touch” of ABA. Like the other methods you start with a preferred food and a new food that you would like to add to the child’s diet. This time you are also going to add a FUN reward to the routine. This “reward” can look different to each kid. Some kids like to add a board game, iPad time, or a craft. Get creative! You will start by having the child take a bite of their preferred food. Next, they will experiment with their “new” food (smell, lick, take a tiny bite). After they try their new food they get their reward (2 min on the iPad, a couple min. of the board game, etc.) Keep cycling through the preferred food, new food, and rewards for approximately 30 min. Have fun with it! As your child’s feeding regiment improves you can adjust the rewards and foods. For example, add 2 new foods and/or lessen the reward time.
If you have any questions or are looking for further advice on how to better help your picky eater, be sure to contact our office to arrange an appointment with a feeding therapist.
Lindsay Mastroeni, SLPA