Food Chaining Examples for Picky Eaters

Food chaining Example of baby carrots, then orange bell pepper slices, then red bell pepper slices, to bell pepper rings, then finally an egg cooked inside a red bell pepper ring

Need some food chaining examples?

These Food chaining examples can help you add new foods to your child’s diet. However, it’s important to first understand what food chaining is, and how to implement it.

Food chaining is ideal for picky eaters. As a result, it is often used by speech/feeding therapists and registered dietitians when working to increase food acceptance.

This process uses small changes to elements of preferred foods to work toward a new food. Luckily, you can read more about the concept of food chaining here.

Firstly, start by identifying the traits of liked foods. For example, are these foods crunchy? Salty? Orange? Make a list of traits like texture, color, shape, flavor, and temperature (is it cooked?). These are the traits you will link to new foods.

Secondly, you can begin making small changes to only 1 trait at a time. For example, change the shape of the food, then the brand, then the texture, and so on.

Let’s dive into some examples!

Food chaining Example of baby carrots, then orange bell pepper slices, then red bell pepper slices, to bell pepper rings, then finally an egg cooked inside a red bell pepper ring
In this example, we start with baby carrots.
Baby carrot–> carrot sticks–> sliced red bell pepper –>bell pepper rings–> red bell pepper ring with an egg cooked inside.
Food chain starting with chicken nuggets and ending with fish fillet
In this food chaining example, we start with a fan favorite: the chicken nugget.
Chicken nuggets–> breaded fish sticks–> breaded fish fillet to change the shape–>baked fish fillet

Need more ideas? Check out these examples:

Goldfish crackers–>Cheez Itz–>Saltine Crackers–>Saltines with cheese slices

French fries–>potato wedges–> baked potato–> mashed (chunky) potatoes–> mashed (smooth) potatoes

Potato Chips–>salted plantain chips–> banana chips–>banana slices–>whole banana

Cookies–>Fig Newtons–>jam toast–>jam sandwich–>bread with sliced strawberries–>fresh strawberries

Granola bar–>crumbled granola+dried berries–>blueberries

Mac n’ cheese–> pasta with alfredo sauce–>pasta with 1/2 alfredo, 1/2 tomato sauce–> pasta with marinara sauce

Strawberries–> grapes–>grape or cherry tomatoes–> tomato slices

Chicken nuggets–>change brand of nuggets–>homemade chicken nuggets–> homemade tenders–>baked chicken breast

For more help with food chaining and picky eating, talk to your pediatrician or pediatric dietitian. You can also get more great information here!

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