I am excited to share with you that we had a huge breakthrough with Ruby's SPD and oral aversion to many foods this week! She actually ate some chicken…real chicken…not minced….not just chew and spit back out…but chewed and swallowed!
This is the first time i have ever been able to get her to eat meat that wasn't minced and in a patty! I had just about given up on her picking up any sort of meat other than bacon but i was nearly in tears when i saw her munch her way through 2 of these chicken sticks!
Regular readers will know that Ruby's sensory processing difficulties lead to frustrating mealtimes and only foods of certain textures and smells will be tolerated. We have been on a long road and reaching this step has taken an enormous amount of trying and patience. I want to say to those that are on this road as well and losing hope….DON'T GIVE UP!!! Keep trying…you too will experience this magic moment i just know it!!
I have tried numerous versions of homemade chicken nuggets and sticks and at first she would not even touch them…i then tried different shapes and found she preferred a round or finger type shape. Somehow these were seen as ‘safe'. Using one of the little bento type forks i discussed as a strategy for SPD eaters in THIS POST we gradually worked up to her taking a bite and chewing (endlessly!). The texture at this point was still too much and she would eventually spit every mouthful back out…but she did bite into it and i had to count that as a success and a step forward!
We have been hovering on that stage for quite a while and i have just kept offering similar foods with some others that i knew she would eat.
The family was having chicken breasts for tea the other night so i decided to try some chicken sticks again…i kept it very simple but did add a few of Ruby's favourite tastes and of course her favourite texture of the panko crumbs!
This is the easy recipe i came up with……
- A chicken breast cut into 2-3cm wide fingers/sticks (no need to be precise…whatever you feel will work for your toddler)
- A little plain flour
- Pinch of garlic salt (optional)
- Pinch of paprika (optional but i find Ruby seems to like a little spice)
- 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tbsp milk (no need to be precise)
- Panko crumbs (find in Asian section of your supermarket)
- Lay out 3 bowls on the bench in front of you.
- In the first bowl add the flour , salt and paprika…mix gently.
- In the second bowl beat the 2 eggs with a little milk to make a crumb wash
- In the third bowl add a good quantity of panko crumbs and stir through the Parmesan cheese.
- Moving from 1 bowl to the other dip your chicken fingers in the flour first, then the egg wash and finally the crumbs.
- Shallow fry in a large pan (best to have space between the fingers) for approx 2 mins each side or until golden brown, crunchy and cooked on the inside. Don't overdo the chicken or the texture will become to chewy for toddlers to tolerate.
- I cut a few different lengths for the fingers as i always find it best to experiment a little with what the girls will pick up. Ruby preferred the longer fingers, Tara the shorter ones!
They really are very simple and i can't tell you why she actually decided to eat one this time but i guess that is why we just need to keep trying and using the strategies that we know work with our sensitive kids. For Ruby it is still food that is crispy and crunchy and a little salty or spicy. Fingers and patties work well as a shape.
I do still hope that one day she will pick up some chicken breast without needing the crispy coating…but one step at a time.
If you want some more toddler food inspiration or ideas and strategies for our SPD kids then you might like to visit my Pinterest Boards….
You might also find these recent recipes helpful….(just click on the picture below)