Therapist Thursday….Sensory Smart Lunches

by: Amy Bumgarner, OTR/L

Oral motor input has an intense effect on the nervous system.  Do you ever chew gum while working on a big project or taking a test? I do, and that is because this input is very calming and organizing to the nervous system.  It allows us to concentrate and produce our best work. Just as we use this input throughout the day to organize our bodies, our kids can benefit from that too.  While they are at school you can help by providing a sensory smart lunch!

 Sucking and blowing are calming to the nervous system.  If your child is silly, distractible, and a little too active try some of these foods:

Applesauce in a pouch or through a straw

Smoothies

Use a straw for any drink

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Milkshakes

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Lemonade

Popsicles

Pudding with a straw

Orange or grapefruit wedges

Yogurt with a straw

Anything citrus is going to facilitate sucking

Biting and crunching are alerting to the nervous system.  These foods are good to alert a sluggish child.  These might make for a good morning snack if your child has a hard time waking up in the morning.

Raw veggies

Chips

Granola

Pickles

Pretzels

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Cereal

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Pita Chips

Apples

Graham crackers

Veggie Straws

 Chewing is organizing to the nervous system.  Your child may benefit from these foods if they get too worked up during recess or gym class.

Dried fruits

Fruit chews or fruit leather

Beef jerky

Raisins

Marshmallows

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Licorice

Gum

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Cheese cubes

 Also, be mindful of how much sugar is in the foods you are sending.  We don’t want to undo all the organizing we have done!

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