Everyone’s talking diets.   We’re talking sensory diets (and snacks)


I’m pretty sure that after the festive season the words ‘snacks’ and ‘diets’ are on everyone’s lips (no pun intended!). Today we want to introduce you to a different kind of snack and diet.  It will not only keep you healthy, but will improve your happiness and mental health at the same time. We are talking about sensory snacks and sensory diets.


At Sensory Intelligence Consulting we advocate using your senses to improve productivity and well-being. Two of the main tools that we use are called sensory snacks and sensory diets.


SENSORY SNACKS are quick and easy ways to self-regulate (this means calm down and focus). We know that everyone is always pressured for time, so we want to give you quick, easy and practical sensory solutions to help you manage your stress levels. Sensory snacks can take anything from 5 seconds to 5 minutes, e.g.

  • Quick breathing exercises,
  • Smelling your coffee before you drink it
  • Playing with a fidget toy

The idea behind sensory snacks is that we use them every day, and many times a day! To find your own sensory snacks, think of how you use your senses on a daily basis. Do you have a pet? Stroking your pet or burying your face in their fur is a sensory snack! Do you have to sit in traffic every morning? Take 10 deep breaths, or play instrumental music – that’s a sensory snack. Sensory snacks fit into your everyday life and take up no extra time.


SENSORY DIETS are activities to introduce in your daily living to meet your sensory needs in a more prolonged manner.  These are the activities we do after hours that we enjoy and that help us to de-stress. It nurtures our sensory needs through exercise, social activities, creative outlets, and other activities that we enjoy. Examples of sensory diets are yoga, running, going for a swim, surfing, dancing or playing outside with the kids. When considering your sensory diet, make sure it includes activities that you can commit to doing on a weekly basis, or even more often. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I love doing?
  • What makes me feel calm?
  • What gives me energy?
  • What should I do more of?
  • What should I do less of? (to make time for sensory diets!)


Dr Annemarie Lombard, founder and CEO of SIQ developed the Sensory Matrix™ – an online profiling tool that identifies our different sensory thresholds.  The results can assist us to choose activities that are aligned with our base, sensory needs and would therefore be more sustainable over the long term. Read more about it and find out what your sensory thresholds are! 


For the rest of the month we have something special planned for you! I’ve asked our team to share their sensory snacks and sensory diets with you. Watch out for the videos on social media, and you will get many ideas of what you can do yourself! Why not get involved? Head to our Facebook page to share your sensory snack and sensory diet ideas with us. 


Written by Karlien Terblanche, a specialist facilitator with Sensory Intelligence® Consulting, with a special focus on adults and corporate groups.  She holds a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Stellenbosch and specialises in the field of mental health.  She has extensive experience in the area of sensory integration in adults and is currently exploring sensory mindfulness as a preventative strategy in mental health and wellness.  She is passionate about working with both individual clients and groups and aims to guide her clients to reach their full potential.  She fully believes every person can become the hero of their own story.