Eating is a challenge for most over-sensitive children and their parents. The children are very selective about what they like, which can become a stressful issue in everyday family life. Over-sensitive children need much fewer food stimuli than children with average sensitivity. For them, food is salty, spicy, and old faster… because their brain reacts to a smaller amount of stimuli, and they have more sensitive taste buds. Here, the likes and dislikes differ, and some sensitive children might prefer one taste over another. Another important factor that determines whether highly sensitive children like food is consistency.
While all sensory experiences are equally important to consider, this post is going to focus on altering the texture and temperature of similar foods to make them friendly to your child’s sensory preferences. Since introducing a new food sensation can be a long process – the suggestions below help keep a variety of foods in your child’s diet while honouring their sensory preferences.
Breakfast: mushy vs. crunchy textures
• If your child prefers a more mushy texture, try some basic oatmeal, and top with fresh fruits of similar texture (like banana and berries), nut butter, and/or melted chocolate chips or Nutella.
• If your child prefers something crunchier, try a granola recipe instead. Have it as a
bowl of cereal with milk, use it as a topping for yoghurt or smoothies, or have it as
Breakfast: hot vs. cold temperatures
• If your child prefers hot food, try the basic oatmeal mentioned above and serve it
as long as it ́s warm.
• If your child enjoys the texture of mushy foods but prefers cold foods, swap out
cooked oatmeal and try this overnight oats recipe. A bonus is that it’s a great
breakfast to fully prep the night before.
Pasta: hot vs. cold temperatures
• If your child prefers warmer foods, try a pasta recipe for dinner one night. Bonus = Pasta can be cooked to their liking. If you want a chewier texture, cook to al
dente, or cook a few minutes longer for a softer bite.
• If your child likes colder foods instead, opt for a pasta salad recipe which can be
served cold, and maybe add some corn or fresh veggies if you want to add some
Bread: crunchy vs. mushy textures
• If your child prefers crunchy textures, toast bread for sandwiches and snacks like
avocado toast. For avocado toast, mash 1/2 an avocado onto a piece of toast, or
use rice cake for an even crunchier texture. Then, season with salt and pepper
and top with scrambled eggs, tomatoes, grated cheese, and/or everything bagel
• If mushy textures are more up your alley, try the same snack using non-toasted
bread instead and top with soft toppings.
Chips vs. Tortillas: crunchy and mushy textures
• If your child prefers crunchy snacks, chips and dip are great and easy snacks.
Check out this homemade guacamole recipe if you want to use a homemade dip.
Use raw veggie sticks in addition to chips to increase their nutrient intake.
• If your child would prefer a mushy snack, swap out the chips for soft tortillas to pair with guacamole. You may need to spread the dip instead of dipping the tortillas, and be mindful of your dip ingredients. For example, red onions are crunchy so you probably want to skip those in the guacamole. Use cooked veggie
pieces in addition to chips to increase the nutrient content.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Charlie Chen is studying psychology and is currently doing an internship with Willingness. His research interests are existential approaches and affirmative therapy.