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Understanding Food Texture Sensitivities in Children

Jun 2, 2024

Food Textures

Food is essential for your child’s growth and development, so it’s no wonder that parents can get concerned over their little one’s eating habits. As a parent, seeing our kiddos struggle with food textures can be a worrisome and frustrating experience. If you’re looking for answers and possible solutions, then you’ve come to the right place.

 

Sensory Processing and Food Texture Aversion

Eating food is very much a sensory experience considering that you can touch, taste, smell, and see your food. As a result, sensitivities to certain foods can occur. Sensory processing disorder (SPD) could be to blame if the dislike of certain food textures has become a big problem in the home. Also, consider that other issues could be to blame such as swallowing or dental concerns. Understand that SPD can be an incredibly overwhelming and uncomfortable experience for kids because this means that the brain has a hard time interpreting sensory information. Squishy foods like mashed potatoes may even be painful for your child to eat, resulting in gagging, vomiting, or absolute refusal of the food. These textures are just no fun at all!

 

How to Ease Your Worries About Feeding Issues

Parents face tremendous pressure to feed their little ones well and the right things. When your child tells you “no,” do you find yourself screaming inside “yes?” Despite your worries, relax just a bit because there are so many ways to help get your child back on track. First and foremost, don’t force food textures on your kiddo as making this time a negative experience can make problems even worse. Instead, try keeping a record of foods your child will eat in a journal. This way, you can show your pediatrician or feeding therapist the next time you see them.

 

Recognizing When Food Texture Aversion is a Problem

Every child is different, so reactions to food textures could be mild while others are severe. At what point should you get help? If mealtime is a dreaded time of the day, then that’s a big red flag. A few other things to look out for are:

  • Frequent vomiting/gagging with certain food textures
  • Mealtimes take longer than they should
  • Anxiety around new foods
  • Accepting less than 20 foods (problem feeder)
  • Significant preference for certain textures or food brands
  • Problems with chewing and swallowing

 

Seeking Professional Help for Food Texture Sensitivities

Keep in mind that your child isn’t going to enjoy every single food in the world, but they should be able to thrive with a variety that they truly love. If your child is having issues with food textures, reach out to us today. Our feeding therapists can help work with you on food chaining and give you food chaining examples. Plus, they’ll have even more tricks up their sleeves that can help out.

 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2022 and has been updated to reflect the most up-to-date information for parents and caregivers.