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5 Tips to Liven’ up Your Lunchbox

feeding kids, airdrie, occupational therapy, feeding therapy
Its that time again.  Summer is coming to an end and school is about to be kicked off.  While you may be having mixed feelings about the change in schedule one thing parents usually dread is school lunches! 
 
Below are 5 tips to help shred the lunch box dread, maintain variety and keep your kid enjoying their lunch.
  1. Get family input. Keep a couple lists on the fridge.  List 1: Easy to grab and go things to load into lunch boxes.  Should identify what is available in the fridge and what you might buy    Yogurts, Cheese, muffins, energy bites, chopped veggies, fruits.  List 2:  Lunch ideas.  Get your kids involved, depending on age, with a list of ideas for lunches, get them to help prep or shop for some of these foods.feeding therapy airdrie, kids calgary OT
  2. Change up how its served.  Always serve a meal with foods that is recognizable by your children but change the way you serve it. 
  • Avocado or Guacamole- sliced on toast/dip or a spread on crackers/topping to something else. 
  • Dried chick peas or Hummus– Add to a trail mix/ a side with some fruit or platter, 
  • Add the hummus to a sandwich/ or a dip. 
  • Sliced apples or apple sauce.
  • Roasted veggies or raw veggies.  
  • Veggie kabobs/ roasted veggie medley/ stir fry/ roasted into sandwiches or have raw veggies with dip or cut into sandwiches. 
  • Fruit kabobs or sliced fruit with dip

3.Keep It Positive. Meal times should be a positive experience.  Try to avoid pressuring your child to eat a certain amount or a type of food.  As a parent it is you job to provide the food.  Its up to your child how much they will eat and what they will eat from what is served!   Kids hunger will fluctuate daily.  It is important for you to allow them to listen and honour their own hunger and fullness cues.  Remember a child’s appetite will vary just like your hunger and fullness does.  One thing that can be beneficial is to set up a consistent routine around timing of meals for your family.

Feeding Kids, Feeding Therapy, Airdrie, Calgary, Occupational Therapy, Dietitian4. Add A Note. Put a personalized note in your kid’s lunch box. I.e.) Have a fabulous day, Love you lots, etc. Make sure the note has no reference to how much food they should eat or an order they should eat it.  It is important to make the connection that you love and support them but their choice of what they eat is up to the child and its important that they have autonomy in this decision.

5. Failing to plan is planning to fail.  Establish a time for this very important activity. Get a good selection of foods in and ensure that you rotate your choices to bring variety into your diet.  Try having easy grab and go items on hand.  If you need help meal prepping, go to your local grocery store and purchase things pre-chopped and individually packaged.

lunch ideas, feeding kids, calgary, airdrie, feeding therapyLunch Time Meal Ideas:

  1. Pita Roll ups
  2. Hummus and pita
  3. Rice cakes with nut butter and bananas
  4. Stir-Fry left overs
  5. Cheese & chicken quesadilla
  6. Muffin Top Banana Bread
  7. Overnight oats
  8. Pancakes topped with Berries
  9. Waffles with fruit of choice
  10. Guacamole & Salsa with Corn chips
  11. Chicken kabobs and veggies kabobs with naan bread
  12. Quinoa/Rice Salad Bowls
  13. Tacos
  14. Pita Pizzas
  15. Tunafish mixed with mayo, Greek yogurt and mustard on crackers

Happy Family Fuelling.

Love,

Intuitive Feeding

 

*For more feeding specific information please check out www.intuitivefeeding.com

10 Signs That Your Kiddo May Benefit From Feeding Therapy.

OT, Therapy, Airdrie/Calgary AB

Our first topic is on some common signs that your kiddo may have a feeding concern and could benefit from Feeding Therapy. Before jumping into these common “red flag” signs, we want to take a moment to explain about Feeding Therapy and what this is. Feeding Therapy is a speciality area for health professional (usually having training in Medicine, Speech Language Pathology, Dietetics, or Occupational Therapy) who have chosen to focus on feeding concerns/issues/disorders in an individual.

Feeding Therapy Airdrie, Calgary AB , OT

Feeding Disorders are distinctly different from Eating Disorders, where the focus is on body image. A Feeding Disorder is defined as “the inability to eat a sufficient variety of of foods in order to maintain a healthy nutritional status.” (Arevedson, J.C., 1993). 

In Feeding Disorders, the individual may struggle with the physical, sensory, cognitive, and/or emotional component of feeding which affects their willingness or ability to participate.

Many parents go through the early developmental stages of their child’s feeding noticing that things may not be “quite right”, but brush off their instincts and chalk it up to being “normal”.While every child is unique and develops as their own individual, there are some typical patterns of feeding development that each child does follow.

Our goal in this post is to help identify some of the common “red flags” that can lead to the development of feeding concerns/issues/disorders. We hope to help you be pro-active in seeking out advice as soon as possible if any of the following signs are noticed in your child’s feeding.

 

Did you know Feeding Problems are very common?

"Approximately 20-50% of normally developing children,and 70-89% of children with developmental disabilities, are reported to experience some type of feeding problems." (Benjasuwantep, B., Chaithirayanon, S., & Eiamudomkan, M., 2013).

10 Signs That Your Kiddo May Benefit From Feeding Therapy.

1. Your kiddo is “stuck” on one texture of food, whether that be purees, semi-solids, etc., they just don’t seem to be able to progress. This is a sign that something is going on with either your child’s physical or sensory abilities. Many children struggle to the introduction of “mixed textures” and tend to get stuck on “purees/smooth” textures if parents/caregivers stop exposing to other textures, because they are nervous by the child’s initial reactions. 

 

2. There is a limited variety of foods in your kiddos mealtimes. They are open to eating only certain types of foods that they are comfortable with; these foods are typically processed, bland, and “brownish” coloured foods, with minimal foods in the vegetable/fruit categories.

 

3. They gag (daily), vomit, cough excessively, or arch their backs during mealtimes and feeding. After the age of 7 months when teeth start to emerge and our oral motor skills are improving, the gag reflex starts to integrate into our system and moves further back on our tongues. Gagging is important and one of our bodies “safety mechanisms”, although if your child is gagging at every feed/meal or daily, this is repetitive negative associations being made with food/eating that can lead to “food aversions”. Please contact a professional if your child is experiencing this.

 

4. Your child is taking longer than 20 minutes for breakfast/lunch and longer than 30 minutes to finish dinner. If everyone at the table is finishing their meals and your child is taking much longer to finish feeding and if this is disrupting your family’s routine, you may want to consult a Feeding Therapist to investigate the cause. 

OT, feeding therapy, Airdrie/Calgary

5. They aren’t meeting their developmental milestones for feeding. For example for “typically” developing children: By 12-18 months, kids typically hold their own spoon, scoop food, and put the spoon in mouth without much spillage. By 18-24 months, kiddos are using a fork and drink from an open cup. By age 2-3 years, kiddos typically are able to suck through a straw & hold a small cup with one hand.

6. They have meltdowns before or during mealtimes. If you notice your child is frequently avoiding mealtimes at all costs, it’s time to investigate what is going on.

7. They need to have their face or hands immediately after getting a bit of food on them. This is a sign of sensory aversion. We want kids to get messy and tolerate the mess on their bodies. This helps their sensory system adjust to this type input and to prevent food aversions/oral aversions (where they can’t tolerate a variety of foods, textures etc.).

8. They are rigid about how food is served to them. Do they always have to have the same brand/packaging for foods or else they won’t eat it? Will they only eat foods in one form? E.g.- They will eat mashed potatoes but not hash browns. Will they only eat from one plate, or use a certain spoon?

9. You have become a “short-ordered” cook for your little one. If you are constantly making different meals for your child than what the rest of your family is eating, you have become a “short-ordered” cook. This a lot of work and extra stress on you! It definitely doesn’t have to be this way and to be frank, if it continues it will get worse not better. Please reach out if your unsure how to get away from this.

10. Your child barely eats dinner, but then wants a snack right after dinner. This is something very common we hear from our families. This one can be reversed fairly easily and comes down to consistency and setting boundaries/expectations around mealtimes with your kiddo.

 

We hope this was helpful and provided some insight to some of the “red flags” to be aware of. If you have noticed any of these signs, please reach out to your pediatrician, ourselves at Intuitive Feeding, or your trusted health care professional to discuss if a Feeding Therapy consult may be beneficial.

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