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Early Intervention Speech Therapy

Recipe: Presentation is Everything!

Published September 2, 2011 9:30 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling

This week I am taking a recipe hiatus and would like to share some picky eater tips that I am currently using at my house!

For picky eaters, looking at a full plate of "tuna surprise" with a side of rice pudding and a cup of strawberry smoothie can be awfully overwhelming. I know this is definitely true for my picky eating daughter.

Although she will eat foods such as scrambled eggs and oatmeal, which are visually and tactically messy, I believe she will only do so because she has tasted them, knows she likes them and is now willing to eat them. If I change the presentation of the eggs, for example adding onions or peppers, she will experience hate at first sight and yell out the dreaded, "Don't like it!"

One of the ways I have successfully wooed her into tasting new foods is to present the novel morsel on child's plate that is separated into three parts.


In this example, the primavera rice is the new-fangled food and the baby carrots and whole wheat pretzel sticks are the old stand bys! I find that if I use this method to introduce new foods, it goes very well. My daughter will look at the segmented plate, knowing she has options, two of which are familiar.

She can eat any and all of the foods on her terms, making her own choices as she goes along. I will see her willingly tasting the new food mainly because, I think, there is no real pressure to do so. If I put any pressure on her,

  1. she knows it right away, and
  2. will often exert her toddler right to say "no mommy" and push it away.

I have also recently invested in some fun hot pink and purple (my daughter's favorite colors) containers. She loves all the little containers and she knows that they are for her. They have lids, so they are practical and travel ready! In addition, the one purple bowl has a lid that opens halfway so she enjoys reaching in and pulling out her treats.


If it is mealtime and I give her two or three containers at a time, I make sure only one is filled with a new food or maybe something she has rejected in the past, hoping that this time she will choose to try it again and like it!

Don't forget to join me on Tuesday for the first "Good Eater Secrets" post! Hear feeding tips straight from an experienced occupational therapist who is also the mom of two adorable little boys!



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About this Blog

    Stephanie Bruno Dowling, M.S. CCC-SLP
    Occupation: Speech-Language Pathologist
    Setting: Early Intervention in Delaware County, PA
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