Every year the Autism Nutritionist publishes a gift guide with the best selections for super picky eaters and kids with autism. Below you’ll find a selection of my favorite toys and tools that kids love, but that also work to improve picky eating – either by increasing their exposure to new foods, making eating more fun and comfortable, or working on sensory deficits.
See the 2020 Gift Guide for Picky Eaters below and be sure to check out previous years as well.
The Autism Nutritionist’s 2020 Picky Eater Gift Guide – The Best Gifts for Extreme Picky Eaters and Kids with Autism
I fell in love with these silly fun straws. They’re perfect for everything from water to smoothies. I recommend these for elevating every day meals (great for kids with eating anxiety), adding an extra incentive to try something new, and for practicing straw drinking.
You know how I feel about cooking. In my opinion, cooking and learning about food are some of the best strategies for improving a child’s relationship with food and encouraging them to try new foods. That’s why I love the Raddish Kids Cooking Club. Raddish Kids includes a monthly cooking kit delivery. Each kit features a seasonal or educational theme. Along with 3 recipes, each kit contains a new kitchen tool, a themed craft project, a grocery list, and 3 culinary skill lessons to help your child develop confidence in the kitchen and with new foods.
Kitchen Helper Stool
I love love love standing towers for young kids. They’re a great way to get kids to participate in the kitchen safely. They can observe what you’re doing or cook alongside you. Not only is cooking an amazing sensory experience, it also is associated with a greater likelihood to eat unfamiliar foods. Check out some of my favorite cooking activities for kids.
These adorable learning chopsticks come in a variety of colors and animal shapes. They’re a fun way to practice fine motor skills. If that’s not something your child needs to work on, they can still use these in any old meal. They’re a fun way to elevate something mundane and can encourage your child to stay at the table longer or interact with a new food they’d otherwise be hesitant to engage with.
The Harkla Hug provides calming deep touch pressure therapy in the disguise of a fun toy. The canoe-shaped chair is perfect for creating a sense of comfort and control. Consider using it before mealtimes so your child can come to the table feeling regulated and secure.
Noshi Food Paint
Food Play is one of my go to strategies for introducing new foods. I love anything that makes playing with food fun and more enticing. Bonus points if it can taste good, too! That’s why I’m all about Noshi’s Edible Food Paint. Each pack contains flavored tubes of edible “paint” that are perfect for encouraging hands-on interaction with food and even tasting.
Convenient and tasty Dino Bars have a killer ingredient list. It’s short and free of artificial colors and flavors so you’re only getting real food and real ingredients. My favorite part, though, is that they come with an edible paper so there’s no stick or mess – a sensitive kid’s dream! These are a great snack or fruit-filled addition to a meal and are perfect for a picky eater who likes chewy and smooth foods. Use code JENNY10 for 10% off!
Fun Plate with Sections
These plates, which come in a variety of cute themes, make eating fun, which can encourage your child to participate in mealtimes and make them more excited about eating – even new foods! Importantly, these plates also keep foods separate, which is a must for many picky eaters. Plus, they create an easy canvas for introducing new foods in small portions, which is one of my top recommendations. Check out all of their fun themes.
Scented Kinetic Play Sand
Most of the picky eaters I work with have some sensory component to their picky eating and scented kinetic sand is a dream for sensory work that can improve the way they experience the world. Kids who are hesitant to engage with food using their senses might be more inclined to get hands on with sand. Luckily, they’ll get the same benefits – and have a lot of fun in the process. I’m also a big fan of this baking themed kinetic sand kit.
Gifts for Parents of Picky Eaters
Stories of Extreme Picky Eating: Children with Severe Food Aversions and the Solutions that Helped Them
My book, Stories of Extreme Picky Eating, was published earlier this year and it’s a must for parents of super picky eaters. Take it from one happy customer: “For families that are new to, or are feeling absolutely lost and overwhelmed in the world of severe food aversions, this is an awesome resource with which to learn about others with similar challenges, as well as explore ways in which to help their child.”
The book is a series of “case studies” or families who work to overcome extreme picky eating. Each case study includes an interactive food-based activity to improve eating habits and the book concludes with a comprehensive intervention plan so you can get started making improvements in your own home.
The Autism Nutrition Library
The Autism Nutrition Library is a must for any autism parent curious about the impact of diet, supplements, and more on their child’s autism symptoms. The ANL was created by a registered dietitian for parents and caregivers who want to educate themselves on effective evidence-based nutrition approaches. You can sign up for annual or monthly access to topics such as: special diets, foods, supplements, symptoms, nutrients, and conditions. There’s even a section on picky eating!
Looking for more?
Check out all of my favorite products, books, and snacks.
Please note that the 2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Picky Eaters contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission if you purchase from a link on this page. My affiliate partnerships do not affect my recommendations. Each product is one that I use and love.