We all interact with our world through our senses. Our senses gather information that influences our feelings, behaviour and experiences. Through these sensory experiences, our brain and body learns a great deal about its environment and so much more including food and eating!
Every person’s sensory experience is different and unique to the individual. It’s part of what makes us who we are. Whether we like cuddles or prefer some space. Whether we like loud music or prefer soft sounds. Whether we like crunchy or prefer mushy.
During childhood, the senses are going through ALOT! There’s so much to experience in such little time. The body’s regulation of the senses can quite go berserk – smells can be too smelly, sounds too loud and tastes overwhelming! Or touch might feel amazing or a large range of colours delightful to the eyes! The interpretation of these experiences may lead kids to seek or avoid, or just be okay with things.
So you can imagine that food can induce a range of pretty funky experiences for our little ones which can inevitably affect the way they eat – positively or negatively!
Encourage positive experiences
One simple way to encourage positive experiences with food is through Play and Laughter. This can help a child be in a calm and relaxed state, ready to experience and learn positively.
Bringing them into the kitchen and allowing them to get messy with a favourite food can open up all sorts of doors to other less preferred foods.
I hope you enjoy!
Ines Astudillo, paediatric dietitian