Certain feeding skills are required for different types of food textures. Your feeding therapist (who can be an occupational therapist or speech language pathologist) will help decide which textures are best for your child’s current feeding skills. Below are the following stages of foods from easiest to most difficult. Diet recommendations will be based on your child’s current skill levels and their ability to safely swallow.
Thin liquids-breast or bottle
Level One - Thin purees
Level one includes strained foods of a thin puree consistency. Some examples are: stage 1 commercial baby foods such as: apples, pears, bananas, peaches, peas, or green beans.
Level Two - Slightly thicker purees than Stage 1
Similar foods as above but thicker; these could include baby rice cereal, pudding, applesauce, yogurt, and the above listed examples but in a commercial baby food stage 2 package.
Soft Mashed Table Foods – These foods can turn into a puree consistency with up and downward tongue movement or mashing. Blended or fork mashed table foods examples are: avocado, bananas, cooked vegetables, and potatoes.
Dissolvable Solids - Children will also be introduced to dissolvable solids, which they necessarily don’t need to chew. These are crunchy foods that will dissolve in a child’s mouth making them easy to swallow. Some examples include: commercial ‘puffs’, yogurt melts, and puff corn.
Crunchy Solids - These may be in therapy only to practice chewing. Once a child improves their chewing, other crunchy solids can be introduced such as veggie sticks, cheeto puffs, pretzels, cheese crackers, etc.
Level Three - Purees with texture
Stage three has thicker purees with increased texture. Commercial baby foods labeled stage 3 can be foods such as: broccoli and cheese, chicken and rice dinner, and different vegetables and fruits. Stage 3 also includes pureed or mashed table foods.
Mechanical soft foods - These foods break apart very easily in the mouth. Some examples include: macaroni and cheese, french fries, eggs, chicken nuggets, bread, and cheese.
Hard Mechanicals - These foods require adequate strength for chewing and oral control. Hard mechanicals require the most advanced skills. Examples include: raw fruits and veggies, meats, crunchy granola bars, and many foods a typical adult may have at dinner.
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.