Food Chaining 101 for Picky Eaters

Food Chaining is a therapeutic approach that helps introduce new foods while building on successful eating experiences. It is an approach that can be effective for all ages, specifically, selective or picky eaters that have a limited number of foods in their repertoire.

Creating Food Chains

In this approach, the child is presented with new foods that may be similar in taste, temperature or texture to the foods the child already accepts. It would suggest chaining one property at a time. These similar foods are used to create “food chains” between the foods that a child accepts and foods that will be targeted in sessions. The overall goal of food chaining is to expand the repertoire and have the child eat at least a few foods from all food groups.

Tips for Mealtime

  • – Introduce 1 or 2 new foods at a time to decrease the chances of the child feeling overwhelmed while adding new foods.
  • – Some foods may be more difficult than others, but don’t give up on a food!
  • – If a food has been consistently rejected, think about modifying it!

Food Chaining Example: Baby Carrots to Bell Peppers




Chain together baby carrots and peppers based on color and shape and move forward from there!

Still having issues with your picky eater?  Call Chicago Pediatric Therapy & Wellness Center at 773-687-9241 to have one of our feeding specialists perform an assessment and make some guided recommendations for your child to help make meal times a success!  Happy Chaining!