Recently, I’ve had some great success with a new technique I like to call ‘flavour and texture exercises’. This technique is part of our sensory development program and parents have reported an increase in new foods being tried and enjoyed as a result.Getting a little tired of hearing people tell you that you need to repetitively offer up a certain food 20 times before they’ll try it? well I’m a non believer of this theory unless the food matches sensory preferences of that a child bears. I’ve tried this theory many times with my Little Fusspot to no avail.The problem with fussy eaters is that they are not equipped with the flavour profiles that we as adults have. If we see a bowl of hot orange puréed soup we’d assume it’s either carrot, pumpkin or another orange vegetable of some kind. Imagine if that soup was made by puréeing whole oranges (rind and all) and heating it ‘yuk’ you say? Well, that’s what kids face every day when trying new foods. It’s never what they expect so they often fall into a packaged-food rut where the consistency is always predictable and ‘safe’ and contains pretty pictures on the packaging.Because of a child’s immature tongue they don’t have flavour profiles stored in our memory banks that help to assume if something is sweet, sour, savoury or salty. The only way to expose them to new flavour profiles and textures is to edge them closer and have them touch, blow, sniff, kiss, lick then eventually nibble new foods. How many times have you heard someone say they don’t like something because they haven’t tried it? It’s the same concept, fear-of-the-unknown that warns you away and this is very common with fussy clients.Does your child like going new places? Like new music or sounds? Picking up and exploring things in the garden? Then food should be no different, they will enjoy exploring new senses like flavours and textures if they are shown a very safe, slow and steady way to explore. The problem is that they aren’t equipped with the tools to explore new foods, they think that it’s like-or-lump, love-at-first-sight or push away and refuse option. Putting the food in the mouth is a very last resort for children unless it bears very similar characteristics of another favourite food.
I have developed a chart that can be printed out and used for flavour and texture exercises. Certainly i’d recommend implementing this technique with other sensory development techniques but this one should help you get your child on their way to discovering new foods in a much more relaxed way.
This chart is available for free by filling in your details on the homepage. If you’d like to take a sneak peak of our online therapy courses click here. The free course available will teach you a live demonstration of the tasting technique. which will start your Little Fusspot tasting new foods.