Crunchy Food for the Orally Defensive Child 

 If your child is orally defensive and will only accept crunchy food and refuses all else, it is quite a challenge to provide a balanced diet. For these children it is usually necessary to give a supplemental drink. If they refuse to drink significant amounts however, foods must be found to provide enough calories, protein and fat. It is recommended a multivitamin be given to these children since it is very difficult to supply all essential nutrients with such a selective diet.


FRUIT: Sliced apples, freeze-dried apples, freeze-dried pineapples, freeze-dried bananas, freeze-dried berries, freeze-dried kiwi, and any freeze-dried fruit is acceptable.

VEGETABLES: Raw carrots, raw cucumbers, raw peppers, any raw veggies your child will accept should be encouraged.

MEAT(Protein): Soy crisps, dried or baked chick peas, nuts, seeds, black bean chips

DAIRY: There are no dairy foods of this consistency.

STARCH: Potato chips, pretzels, rice krispies, corn chips, cheerios, crackers

It is difficult to add calories to crispy, hard foods because they cannot be hidden. If your child will accept them, preferred foods can be dipped in salad dressings, dips, sour cream or yogurt.

If your child’s weight is an issue and these foods are the only things he will accept, fried foods such as potato and corn chips should be encouraged to supply the most calories within the smallest volume.

The crunchy food diet is probably the most difficult one to provide essential vitamins, minerals and protein. Most of these foods are high in carbohydrates and fat, however it is a challenge to find foods high in protein and vitamins.

For more information and customized options on how to help your orally defensive child, make an appointment with us.