Some children with lower tone need a little extra help moving from liquids to strained foods, and then to lumpy or table foods. They tend to stay on liquids longer and prefer the breast or bottle over drinking from a cup or eating strained foods from a spoon. These preferences can get in the way of children moving from bottle-drinking to cup- or straw-drinking and transitioning from pureed foods to food with more texture.

To assist the transition, your feeding therapist might set up a prefeeding program that includes exercises and stimulation techniques for your child’s body and face. Then the next step is to gently introduce tastes and textures that wake up your child’s tongue, lips and cheeks. The program provides some techniques that you can use to change tastes and textures. Your therapist can help you decide which are appropriate for your child.

Stimulating foods

  • Cinnamon apple sauce
  • Lemon yogurt
  • Thick tomato sauces
  • Frozen fruit purees
  • Mango/papaya/spinach purees
  • Garlic hummus


  • Lemonade/limeade
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Orange juice
  • Mango/papaya nectar

Adding different tastes to food

  • Salsa/rhubarb
  • Lemon/lime
  • Ginger/curry
  • Pickle juice/balsamic vinegar
  • Ketchup/BBQ sauce/soy sauce
  • Pepper/Lowry’s seasoning salt
  • Fried onions/sautéed fresh garlic

Adding textures

  • Cheerios/crumbled cookies
  • Tapioca
  • Rice cereal
  • Mashed potatoes

Adapted from Therapy Skill Builders, 1994, and Feeding Therapy: A Sensory-Motor Approach by Lori Overland, 1996

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team. If you are a Gillette patient with urgent questions or concerns, please contact Telehealth Nursing at 651-229-3890.