The Oral Motor Cookbook, Part 3

27 Apr 2015

BY: trini

Orofacial Myology / Speech Therapy

By Carolinda “Trini” Myers-Murphy, MS CCC-SLP;COM 

If you haven’t been following our previous posts about cooking for low tone children, you might want to get caught up on Part 1 and Part 2. One of our goals in teaching about good feeding techniques and textures is to help parents work with their children on muscle development that can reduce the amount of time needed in speech therapy or orofacial myology. We want our kids to enjoy both eating and speech! We’ve already covered ideas based on texture and how to make healthy purees and baby foods at home, now let’s focus on solid food textures that have been modified for the picky eater.

The process to get your picky eater to go beyond their favorite carb meals can be a tricky one. Some children I see literally thrive on pepperoni pizza, mac and cheese, and rice. Some sensory aversions may cause behavioral problems at the dinner table, so keeping this in mind, it would be wise to be respectful of their sensory processing preferences, and slowly expand upon that.

As often as possible, include your children when creating new foods. Change only one thing at a time. Generally, it’s easier to change the temperature of their favorite foods first, flavors second, and textures third. Keep this in mind for all of these and others of your home recipes. With patience and perseverance, your child will be able to enjoy a wider spectrum of food.

carrots-673184_1280Introducing Solid Fruits and Veggies

  • Drizzle some sweet reduced balsamic vinegar on anything from carrots to strawberries! Plus, it’s a great way for children craving an extra sensory boost.
  • Be sure to cook your veggies (or not!) depending on your child’s sensory preferences.
  • “Disguise” with butter, cheese, or bacon. Hide them in pastries or even in a casserole, like mac & cheese.

Chicken Tenders for Children with Low Tone

  • Pre-cut chicken strips or tofu strips
  • Flour
  • Garlic powder (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp dried mustard
  • 2 ggs
  • Cornflake crumbles
  • Sesame seeds
  • Safflower oil

Combine the flour, garlic, and dried mustard in a small bowl. Combine the cornflake crumbs, sesame seeds and more garlic, salt/pepper to taste in a separate bowl. Beat theeggs in a third bowl. Wash and dip the chicken or tofu strips in the flour mixture. Then, dip the strips in the egg mixture. Finally, dip the chicken strips in the cornflake mixture. Fry in Safflower oil until crispy.

EASY Well Seasoned Potatoes

  • Fresh cut potatoes, in strips
  • Lowry’s seasoning salt
  • Olive Oil

Grease a flat baking pan with olive oil. Spread fries out on the pan. Sprinkle with seasoning salt. Bake for 45-50 minutes in a 400 degree oven, turning periodically.

TIP: Cutting solid foods into strips encourages generalization of goals in therapy to the dinner table. The goals are to teach controlled, lateral chews with tongue tip dissociation and movement of food across the middle of the mouth. Placement of the food strips dependso on the level your child is on in the chewing heirarchy. Completing your child’s homework… even at the dinner table. Done!

Twice Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

  • 2 slices of white or wheat bread
  • 2 slices of American cheese
  • Garlic powder (to taste)
  • Butter

Combine a bit of the garlic powder in some softened butter to taste. Preheat the skillet over medium heat. Generously butter one side of a slice of bread. Place bread butter-side-down onto skillet bottom and add 1 slice of cheese. Butter a second slice of bread on one side and place butter-side-up on top of the sandwich. Grill until lightly browned andflip over until cheese has melted. Allow the sandwich to return back to room temperature and zap in the microwave for 30 seconds to make it extra chewy! Really great for kids with low tone. Don’t forget to cut into strips to work on those chewing exercises.

TIP: Ok, you may have laughed that i took the time to write a recipe for grilled cheese. You may be laughing harder that I have “tips” on this. For what it’s worth, here it goes. If your child is a lover of these sandwiches, this is your golden opportunity to change things ever so slightly to help them explore a wider variety of foods. Remember, change just one thing a little bit at a time if your child has an aversion to trying new things.

  • Place a thick slice of sharp cheddar cheese with a nice tart slice of Granny Smith apple.
  • Add to or change cheeses completely. Play with sharp cheddar, Havarti, mozzarella, cream cheese, Monterey Jack, etc.
  • Add a thin smear of mustard.
  • Add a thin slice or cubes of ham.
  • Serve a hot sandwich with cool grapes or other fruit.
  • Consider Rye Bread, Sourdough, or even a Baguette (removing the crust may help your child to explore other bread choices).
  • Cut into fun shapes.

Spinach Balls

  • 1 – 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, drained
  • 2 cups finely crushed herb-seasoned dry bread stuffing mix
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine spinach, stuffing mix, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, black pepper, italian seasoning, melted butter and eggs. Shape into walnut-sized balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until thoroughly heated and browned.


I hope this series and some of the recipes are inspiring you to work with your child(ren) to expand their eating horizons! Download a printable version of this series to add to your recipe book: The Oral Motor Cookbook.