Mechanical soft is the word you’ll see around healthcare settings to describe, essentially, soft foods. A mechanical soft diet is pretty equivalent (texture-wise) to a typical toddler diet. It includes all foods except hard, crunchy fruits, veggies and nuts and tough meats. Mechanical soft meats are ‘falling-off-the-bone-soft’ or ground (think tuna fish, or meatballs).
This week we’re going to explore some ways to get comfortable with mechanical soft textures through play and look at ways to expand the variety of foods kids eat within this texture. So many kids get stuck eating pasta, chicken nuggets, French fries and bread. They’re satisfying, they’re easy to chew and they’re sweetly bland.
It’s not necessarily a problem when kids prefer this texture (and it’s pretty typical for toddlers). But it can become a problem, nutritionally and socially, when kids get stuck in what we call a food jag, when they’ll only eat one kind of mac and cheese, one kind of chicken nugget or severely limit their foods to a few ‘favorites.’ Check out the link above to Melanie Potock’s article for ASHAsphere on ways to prevent food jags.
When food jags happen, mealtimes become incredibly stressful for families and kids. So, it’s important to interact with new foods, get excited about foods, rotate and offer new foods and slowly add new foods to kids diets. And, if one of the new foods becomes a favorite? Continue to interact, offer and rotate new foods so you don’t end up back in a food jag just with a different food!
I hope you enjoy this week’s activities and ideas!
Happy food play!