Eat To Succeed
As a mom, I know I am frequently needing new ideas for what food to put in front of my child and easily get stuck in a rut. I also catch myself feeding my child when I get hungry and forget that their little bodies are metabolizing and growing at a much more rapid rate than I. Below are some simple meal reminders, kid schedule ideas, and food ideas. As a therapist and a mom, I hope it helps you too.
To help your child perform at his/her optimal level nutritious food is key. Our bodies need proper fuel to be able to grow our bones and muscles, build our neuro pathways, and help our brains function.
Kids need a mix of Protein (eggs, beans, meats, nuts, soy), Veggies (peas, carrots, celery, zucchini, broccoli, spinach), Fruits (berries, apples, grapes, oranges, bananas, pears), Dairy (cheese, milk, yogurt), and Grains (oatmeal, whole grains, quinoa, rice).
Some children can be sensitive to sugars and additives, possibly increasing behaviors.
You can try a variety of ways to eat fruits and vegetables. Such as offering baked versions, freeze dried versions, canned versions, or fresh options. Trying them as smoothies, solids, incorporated into baked goods or crunchy treats can provide a variety of texture and possibly a new favorite. Exposure through sight, touch, play, and fun is helpful in expanding palates.
Ask your Occupational Therapist (OT) or Feeding Therapist (FT) for suggestions on ways to introduce new foods, hide needed foods, or explore and expand your child’s palate! ☺
*Always work with or check with your doctor if you your child has allergies or special dietary or medical nutrition needs*
*Refer to Feeding Littles School Lunch Cheat Sheet for more ideas
Sample elementary school meal (portion sizes will vary depending on child’s needs and activity level this is just an example):
Breakfast: ½- 1 cup Oatmeal with fruit (berries/apple/banana) and glass of milk
Snack: 3 apple slices with cheese or peanut butter
Lunch: ¼ -½ cup peas, ½ cup strawberries, ¼- ½ quesadilla (w/ or w/o avocado), Greek yogurt
Snack: tortilla chips and beans or salsa
Dinner: ½ of a hamburger with ½ cup broccoli or green beans and a popsicle
Snack (if hungry): banana with peanut butter (or Nutella) and chocolate chips.
Sample meal ideas for a typical picky eater (hamburger, pizza, chicken nugget eater):
*allow regular opportunities for exposure (through sight, touch, play, or taste) to new foods
Breakfast: Dry cereal with freeze dried strawberries and a glass of milk
Snack: Veggie straws and apple slices
Lunch: 1 slice of pizza, 1/2 cup berries, greek yogurt, freeze dried peas or baked/crunchy broccoli
Snack: Tortilla, peanut butter, and honey roll up
Dinner: Pasta with peas, sauce (ricotta cheese mixed/hidden in) or chicken nuggets, and grapes
Snack: Cookie or frozen banana dipped in yogurt or chocolate
Allison Heitzinger MS., OTR/L
Sonoran Sun Pediatric Therapy