Kids can be picky eaters and ensuring they get a well-balanced diet can sometimes prove to be an impossible task. This can be even more challenging when you have a child with special needs that has a heightened aversion to food, be it the texture, smell or even simply just the way a certain food looks.
For many years Emilio’s diet consisted of bread, pasta, pizza, French fries, chicken nuggets and chips. Thankfully, his menu repertoire gradually changed over the years, incorporating new foods and dare I say it, even fruits and vegetables! It didn’t happen overnight but I realized that this was a huge effort on his part. It truly wasn’t easy for him to try things that smelled awful or that looked too horrible to eat. But with much patience and a lot of gentle coaxing, he began trying new things.
So when a friend of mine offered me to try her product “The Eating Game”, I jumped at the opportunity. This would be another fun way of introducing new food items to Emilio. What I didn’t expect was the ripple effect it would have on him.
If you haven’t heard of The Eating Game before and the creator Jean Nicol, I suggest you do that right after you finish reading my post. You will be amazed at what she has done and how she is helping the autism community.
As soon as I received “The Eating Game” and showed it to Emilio, it was like he found something absolutely magical. He immediately took to it and we haven’t looked back since.
The Eating game is designed to let the child create his/her menu for the day, every day. The most amazing part of this is that they really do enjoy creating their own menu. They have such a positive engagement with this game that it becomes natural for them to do this on a daily basis.
This is what you get with the Eating Game:
One binder with laminated pages and four bags of laminated pictures divided into the four food groups.
- Green = Vegetables and Fruit
- Blue = Milk and Alternatives
- Yellow = Grain Products
- Red = Meat and Alternatives
These laminated pages are categorized as follows:
- Ages 2-3 years
- Ages 4-8 years
- Ages 9-13 years
- Female 14-18 years
- Male 14-18 years
- Two blank pages with Velcro strips to stick your favorite food items for easy reference.
Emilio will take his laminated page specific for his age group and search the images he wants to create his menu for the day.
Here he is creating his menu and the final results.
As I mentioned earlier, Emilio really took to this game instantly and I was thrilled but The Eating Game triggered something else in him that I wasn’t expecting. Not only is he interested in creating his own menu, he now wants to assure himself that we have all the ingredients to make his meals for the day. I encourage him to check the fridge and pantry and to write down whatever is missing.
He not only creates his menu but also takes inventory of what we have and writes down his grocery list of any items we need. He comes shopping with me and he’s in charge of getting the items that are on his list. This is huge! This gives him such a positive engagement with food and cooking. He is also much more interested in the preparation of his meals because he now feels a very personal attachment to them since he created his own specific menu.
If you have a child with eating challenges, I highly recommend The Eating Game. It is a fun and positive interaction with your child to introduce new food and encourage a more balanced diet.
You can find more information about The Eating Game here.
You can follow them on Twitter here.
And you can also find them on Facebook.
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