Friday, May 1, 2009

Food Chaining

I went to the Food Chaining workshop in Chicago last weekend put on by Cheryl Fraker and colleagues. She uses a fairly simple method of expanding a child's diet by slowly increasing the number of flavors and textures that the child will accept.

There are a number of rules for therapists and parents to follow.

1. All meals (3 meals and 2-3 snacks) are scheduled and limited. 15 minutes for a snack and 20-30 minutes for a meal.
2. Children are fed foods that they like along with the new foods, so there is always something "good" on the plate.
3. New foods are chosen based on a rating system.
4. The child rates new foods on a 1 to 10 scale going from "love it" to "I gagged".
5. Force feeding is not allowed. The child picks up the food and puts it in her mouth.
6. If a child acts out and does not eat, then she must stay in the room until mealtime is over. Then she is not offered food again until the next meal.

It's a reasonable arrangement. The choice of which new foods to try is determined in a fairly simple manner - but I won't try to repeat it here in this small blog entry, you can get their "Food Chaining" book and read about it.

The book and the workshop also cover food allergies, and medical issues related to feeding and nutrition.

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