Alerting & Calming Foods for Oral Sensory Input (Free Printable)

Children with special needs tend to exhibit oral motor sensory seeking behaviors quite a bit. In addition to non-food oral motor sensory ideas like bite bands and fidget necklaces, providing a child with the appropriate oral sensory input that they need includes giving them specific types of snacks.

This list of sensory snacks can also be paired together to make a great sensory-rich meal for lunchtime at school or in a child care setting. Grab a variety of foods from this list for the kids’ lunch boxes and you can help them get the oral motor sensory input they need while away from home.


These foods are meant to wake up a child’s senses while providing lots of proprioceptive and oral sensory input. So when a child seems sluggish or off, these snacks are a perfect way to get them back on track!
Chewy Foods
  1.  Dried fruit
  2. Dates
  3. Beef jerky
  4. Fruit leather
  5. Bagels
  6. Granola bars, especially with caramel
  7. Cheese
  8. Celery
  9. Fruit gummies
  10. Sausage sticks

Sour, Tart, & Spicy Foods

  1. Pickles
  2. Greek yogurt
  3. Lemon or lime slices
  4. Lemonade
  5. Kiwis
  6. Grapefruit
  7. Olives
  8. Pickled beets
  9. Cranberries
  10. Salsa

Cold Foods

  1. Popsicles or ice pops
  2. Smoothies
  3. Frozen yogurt bites
  4. Ice cream
  5. Sherbet
  6. Frozen yogurt
  7. Milk
  8. Frozen peas
  9. Frozen corn
  10. Frozen berries
Crunchy Foods
  1. Pretzels
  2. Nacho chips
  3. Crackers
  4. Nuts
  5. Popcorn
  6. Roasted chickpeas
  7. Sesame snaps
  8. Pumpkin seeds
  9. Sunflower seeds
  10. Carrots
  11. Apples
  12. Granola
  13. Banana chips
  14. Dry cereal
  15. Toast
  16. Snap peas
  17. Dried veggie chips like beet or sweet potato
  18. Kale chips
  19. Peppers
  20. Cucumbers
  21. Graham crackers
  22. Arrowroot biscuits
  23. Pita chips
  24. Rice cakes



These calming snacks are perfect when your kids are bursting with energy!

Sweet Foods

  1. Bananas
  2. Strawberries
  3. Cantaloupe
  4. Honeydew
  5. Watermelon
  6. Peaches
  7. Pears
  8. Plums
  9. Berries
  10. Grapes
Smooth & Creamy Foods
  1. Yogurt
  2. Hummus
  3. Hard boiled egg
  4. Applesauce
  5. Cottage cheese
  6. Avocado
  7. Oatmeal
  8. Peanut butter or similar alternative like almond butter, sunflower butter, or Wow butter
  9. Spinach dip
  10. Guacamole
  11. Smoothies
  12. Pudding
Warm Foods
  1. Soup
  2. Hot chocolate
  3. Tea
  4. Oatmeal





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