Ideas to Inspire Picky Eaters
I went to a conference yesterday on feeding strategies for kids on the autism spectrum. Susan Roberts, MDiv/OTR/L shared some useful approaches on improving mealtime for these kids (and their parents). I was the only dietitian in the group which ended up being a great thing since I learned a ton from the OT’s and speech pathologists. It struck me that many of the strategies suggested apply to any “picky eater”.
One of the most salient points was the importance of interactive play – and not just with toys but with food too! Playing with kids provides an opportunity for mirroring. Mirroring has been shown to help with brain development. I remembered this NPR segment on mirror neurons I heard a few years ago. To find out more about mirror neurons listen here npr/mirror-neurons.
Another interesting point Ms. Roberts made was the importance of story-telling and engaging children in the meal preparation process. She gave the example of the Passover Seder story which provides explanation of the symbolism of all the foods included in this sacred meal. Coincidentally, A client of mine shared a story today about a mother she knows whose notoriously picky toddler ate all of the Passover Seder meal. Other stories that may inspire some culinary exploration include the ‘The Very Hungry Catepillar’ and ‘Stone Soup’.