Food chaining is a feeding approach that involves a systematic and gradual process of introducing new foods by building upon existing preferred foods.
What is Food Chaining?
As opposed to traditional methods that emphasize forcing new foods, food chaining accounts for a child’s sensory preferences, textures, flavors, and nutritional needs.
The process begins by identifying a child’s preferred foods, referred to as the "anchor foods". These anchor foods serve as a foundation and are used to create a series of food variations, known as "food chains." The variations are created to gradually expose the child to new flavors, textures, and ingredients that bear a resemblance to their anchor foods.
Food chaining incorporates micro modifications to the anchor foods, such as changes in texture, shape, color, or cooking method. By making these subtle adjustments, children are encouraged to explore new foods that don’t reach beyond their comfort zone. As they become more accepting of the modified versions, additional variations are introduced, gradually expanding their tolerance for different foods.
What is the Goal of Food Chaining?
The ultimate goal of food chaining is to broaden a child’s food choices and encourage a more balanced and nutritious diet. Here at PediaSpeech, the food chaining process is executed under the guidance of one of our speech-language pathologists or occupational therapists who can tailor the approach to the specific needs and challenges of the child.