My daughter has been diagnosed with a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). She’s mostly a sensory avoider but also has a few sensory seeker tendencies mixed in. For mom’s of kids like this, you know how challenging meal time can be. From her first solids all the way to now at 9 years old, finding food she will eat is an adventure.
Sensory kids often have issues with strong tastes and anything they deem as a weird texture. The biggest challenge I have with my daughter is with healthy protein and veggies. I know all sensory kids will be different but I wanted to share a few of the healthier meals I’ve found that she’ll actually eat and that I actually feel good about giving her.
Breakfast: Whole grain mini bagels with cream cheese; Bacon or turkey sausage with protein pancakes/waffles; Granola (we make our own because she also has a peanut allergy – I like this recipe as a base but without the brown sugar: http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/kid-safe-nut-free-granola-465337); Fruit;
Snacks: Healthy smoothies – fruit and yogurt smoothies with some veggies hidden in it are great or even better, my daughter loves Daily Sunshine which is a pediatrician approved, kid formulated smoothie powder that comes in chocolate and strawberry banana. It’s packed with a serving of fruits and veggies, healthy fats, protein, and vitamins my kiddo needs but tastes like a chocolate shake so she actually thinks she’s getting a treat. It’s a win-win! Other snacks she enjoys are granola bars, carrots, sweet peppers dipped in a healthy ranch I make with 0% plain greek yogurt and a tiny bit of ranch soup mix, “ants on a log” – aka celery sticks with cream cheese and raisins, whole grain baked crackers like triscuits or gold fish, graham crackers with Sunbutter;
Lunches: This is TOUGH because she would prefer to eat boxed mac & cheese and chicken nuggets with fries every day if she could. I’ve found she enjoys pinwheels – whole grain wraps with a layer of cream cheese (she loves cream cheese obvi) and deli meat like low sodium turkey. Homemade lunchables are usually a hit too. For those, I use deli meat, cheese slices, whole grain crackers, and a small treat like animal crackers or one cookie.
Dinners: Spaghetti is a big hit so we will healthify it by using whole wheat noodles and adding tiny cut veggies in the sauce. Tacos are a hit and she’ll actually eat them with lettuce wraps instead of taco shells so we often do that to increase her veggie intake. Sweet potatoes are popular and she loves regular potatoes with toppings but we make it healthier by using just a little sprinkle of cheese and plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream.
The biggest thing we have found is to request that she at least takes one bite of whatever we make for dinner (which can sometimes be a serious challenge) and if she hates it, she is allowed to have something different but no treats if no veggies are eaten. Overall, her diet could certainly be healthier but she is not malnourished or overweight. We feel that as long as that is the case, everything is ok and we will continue trying!