How to help your child eat better.


That has now become my new phrase….I sort of coined it from Dr. Ross Greene’s phrase: Kids do well if they can….on a side note….Dr. Greene is incredible…and has much to offer parents of more challenging children with regard to behavior…..often described as “explosive“.

Dr. Greene’s first book titled: The Explosive Child is one worth reading….with lots of tips for parents of explosive children.  I have read all three of his books..if he has written more…I am just not aware……and I have also been to one of his conferences.  So if you need to….please do a Google search on him….he does have a website.  Anyway….back to the phrase I adopted from Ross Greene…..KIDS EAT WELL IF THEY CAN!  Parents……and teachers as well…..need to understand that when it comes to sensory feeding concerns with little ones…..and some big ones… eat what they are capable of eating…what their sensory neurons are capable of eating. 

So……to help kids get organized when it comes to eating….and to help them feel less pressure….and also to keep them part of the eating plan…I use the silicon cupcake mold shown above to help with overall feeding skills.  I call the mold: The Tasting Tray…..and the tasting tray is used during a feeding/therapy session….to help a little one try new foods and textures.  I put the various foods that we are working on in the tasting tray….keeping foods separated….each mold has a different food item… for this tray there would be six different options.  I can not speak specific as to what is in the tray….because it will depend upon the little one’s feeding/sensory concerns…and what we are working on…..the goal for the little one is to taste the items in the tray…..any food item that she does not want to taste….because her sensory neurons say NO….just by looking at the food….well that goes in the garbage pail:


I keep a plastic cup…as shown above on the table…and any food item that the little one can not taste….well it goes in the garbage pail….I go by her lead…I want her to feel little to no pressure and stress when eating….but I also want her to feel encouraged to try new foods. 

Remember to have your speech and language feeding specialist help you and guide you with food suggestions that will expand your little one’s menu.  For me….and for the little ones that I have seen over the years…..hard crunchy foods offer good sensory information that help little ones try new foods, help with chewing, develop muscle memory and improve motor skills for chewing.  Foods that have heightened flavor with regard to sweetness, how salty the food is or how spicy a food is will also improve sensory skills.  Working on pre-chewing exercises will help to develop muscle memory….so that when your little one is ready to chew….she has the muscle memory skills.



I am working with a little one right now for feeding therapy…she has a very limited menu…only eating ONE food item.  We are expanding her repertoire and encouraging her to try new foods in her tasting tray…by encouraging her to taste the following items:

Veggie Stix

Magic Pops

Whole wheat toast…cut into strips

Veggie Chips

Dried strawberry….the hard crunchy kind….not the kind that is sort of sticky….as the little one I am seeing says: that’s too stickable for me to touch….what a great way to describe the food she can not eat

Chicken broth…cooled slightly….and then I put a small amount in the cupcake mold…and use a straw to drink.

Peanut butter.


Peanut butter is the only food item on this list that she likes….I encourage her to taste the other foods in her tray….if she likes…we keep in the tray…if not….we put in the garbage pail….

And by taste…for her this is tasting:

She puts food item on her lips….kisses the food with her lips…..sticks her tongue out and licks the food….puts food on her front teeth…puts in her mouth on the side touching the sides of her molars….putting in-between front teeth and side teeth……SHE HAS NOT BITTEN YET…..WHY….BECAUSE SHE EXPRESSED THAT SHE CAN NOT….BUT I AM SO PROUD…BECAUSE SHE HAS TRIED EVERYTHING IN HER TASTING TRAY!

If you need help coming up with a feeding plan for your little one…please send me your concerns…I am happy to help!

and yes of course….I purchased the tasting tray at 

Have fun!


About Kim

My name is Kim Marino and I have been practicing as a licensed speech and language pathologist since 1993. I work on Long Island providing diagnostic evaluations and services to children from birth to age 21. My experience is vast and am proud to say that I work with children that may present with articulation and phonological concerns, oral motor feeding concerns, Down Syndrome feeding, cognitive rehabilitation, auditory processing delays, receptive language delays, cleft palate feeding and sound development and expressive language delays. Most importantly, I am the mother of four amazing children and am happily married to my childhood sweetheart. I feel blessed to have my four children and so lucky to share this journey in life with my husband. I always had it somewhere in my head that I wanted to develop a blog or a website of some sort so that I could provide families with an additional that parents could help their little ones become a better communicator. And as I was developing this blog....I realized that I also needed to share the stories about my life and my children....and the funny things along the way that help to keep me smiling. Whether you are a working mother or not...finding balance between home, children and life can be a challenge....I hope that my blog helps to bring a smile to your face..and also some tools to help you help your little or big one. I hope you enjoy! Kim
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2 Responses to How to help your child eat better.

  1. Colleen says:

    Kim – I just want to thank you…after you left my house last week it is the first time in 11 months that I felt ok about my daughter. It was nice to hear someone has felt the same way that I have. I am waiting for feeding tray to be delivered but have been trying new things with my daughter Julia and have not been successful in finding anything that she will chew or not spit out but at least I feel more comfortable as to what to do with her. Please keep posting ideas because I am so tired of yogurt and pudding that I can’t imagine how tired my daughter is of it all.

    • Kim says:

      HI colleen…I am so glad that I was able to help you…I will keep posting……can you try chicken broth…the salty flavor of the soup is good for her sensory neurons…and it has no texture at all so it will not bother her in a negative way. did you say that she likes ketchup…if so please try tomato soup too…keep in touch….also buy a bag of toothettes…you can find on after you buy them please post..and I will help you with what to do with them….best,kim

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