Thanksgiving feeding tips for special needs kids

We’ve been getting ready for the holidays, decorating our clinics with our holiday crafts! We’ve had a lot of parents ask us about the holidays because holidays are exciting, but sometimes they present challenges for our sensory kids.

1. Thanksgiving Day Menu

One of the things we always remind our parents about is food. We pair food with a lot of our holidays. We all have traditions we follow, especially for Thanksgiving. We suggest that you think about your child, think about the menu, and decide what adjustments are going to be best for your family. Typically Thanksgiving has a lot of mushy, sort of casserole type textures, like sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and creamed corn. Many of our kids struggle with those thick, soft textures. Those textures tend to agitate or heighten the gag reflex when they eat those foods. So we want you to think about whether it would be a good idea to stick with that menu item, whether you’re going out to dinner or eating with family or cooking yourself.

2. Have a Test Run

If you’re concerned about a particular menu item, try it at home first. It’s always easier to make these decisions once you’ve tried it at home and decide, “Yes, this will probably work” or “No, this is absolutely not going to work.” The worst thing in the world is having some child spit their food out in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner. That can be a bit embarrassing, with certain family members that aren’t as sensitive to our kids.

3. Look at Pictures

You can look at pictures of the menu items, and ask your kiddo if that’s something they’d like to try. If they’re willing to try, try it at home first. And of course, if there are certain things you clearly know they’re not going to eat, bring a substitute. Maybe pick one item for the meal that everyone’s going to eat, for your child to eat.

4. Intolerances

Nowadays many people have a gluten intolerance or have intolerances to food dyes or casein. It’s important to take this into consideration as well. Make sure you examine the available products that are an equivalent to what everyone else is eating, so you can choose the best one, so your kiddo can sit and share the same items as the other family members. That’s part of the joy of being with family.

These are just a few things to think about and work through in this time leading up to Thanksgiving, so you can really enjoy that meal with your family.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Sharing is caring!