Preparing food to help with your child's eating difficulties

It's essential you get advice from your child’s speech and language therapist but here are some ideas to try:

  • Give drinks in single sips to allow time for swallowing and for the drink to go down through the mouth and oesophagus.
  • Your doctor may prescribe thickener powder to aid swallowing as it slows the flow of the drink.
  • Eating foods of a similar texture can also help some children.

Liquidising tips

Sometimes children need food liquidised to a smooth consistency. They may move on to having different food liquidised separately.

  • Some children may then move on to trying tiny lumps and then more solid food. Always seek medical advice if at all unsure.
  • Food should look colourful and interesting, even if it has to be liquidised.
  • Talk to your dietician so you can provide the most calories possible from liquidised food. This is helpful if your child does not put weight on easily. Your dietician may prescribe feeding supplements or other additions (such as cream, butter or cream cheese) to boost calorie intake.

If you are going to mash or liquidise food, you need to show what it looks like beforehand. For example, when peeling the potatoes, let your child touch one first and explain to them what it is, what you are doing and how you are going to cook them.

Where possible make any liquidised food the same as family and friends are eating.

Try to keep tastes and food separate. Tell your child this is fish, these are peas and so on.

Preparing food with your child

If you are making a cake or pastry, let children help. Disabled children can get a lot of sensory feedback about textures and taste through touch.

Let children smell different foods and explain what they are.

Feeding equipment

Getting the right equipment is vital. If your child cannot sit unaided, they may need a special supportive feeding chair. There are also a wide variety of cups, plates and bibs available. Seek advice from your speech therapist, occupational therapist or physiotherapist.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 08/04/2018

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