Mealtimes with selective eaters can be a daily ordeal. Frustration, anxiety, and concerns about proper nutrition can make dining a challenging experience for both parents and children. However, food chaining is one structured, gradual approach that can be used to expand a child’s food preferences.
Food chaining was created by speech therapists Cheri Fraker, CCC-SLP and Laura Walbert, CCC-SLP and was developed to help children with feeding difficulties and selective eating. It’s rooted in the belief that selective eaters have distinct sensory and motor challenges related to food, and therefore it’s important to introduce new foods while respecting the child’s preferences and sensitivities. The method gently guides children to explore new tastes and textures; it is NOT about forcing children to eat new foods!
When food chaining with clients, it’s often easier to work with clients who are looking to change. This technique works best with children who are older and who are looking for ways to transition to new foods. Food chaining with younger children, or with children who aren’t yet ready, can sometimes have an adverse effect. You run the risk of altering or “losing” a food they love. I HIGHLY suggest food chaining with kids or young adults who are actively involved in the process.
Here are just a few ideas of fall foods I have started and ended within a food chain with clients:
Interested in learning more about food chaining? Send us an email at email@example.com or send us a message on our Instagram (@pickyeatersonline)!
Kelly is a Speech Language Pathologist who specializes in providing therapy and coaching from children to teens and young adults with feeding challenges. She prides herself on individualizing therapy sessions so that you meet your goals, whether that’s expanding your food repertoire, ordering something off a restaurant’s menu, or just appreciating your food preferences so that you can be present at social events. Contact Kelly at Picky Eaters Online to get your questions answered and to take the first step towards your journey, You can contact Kelly and Picky Eaters Online at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out her website at https://pickyeatersonline.com/ to book a free consultation.
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