Minion Monday -Nom Nom Nom
Getting kids with ASD to eat.
Having a couple of nerotypical kids and a couple with specific dietary medical issues. I thought this minion Monday I would share with you some things we do to keep everyone healthy and to give they foods they enjoy.
1st and foremost it is major important to remember, not everyone likes or can handle eating every food. And that is okay!
This is more the case in kids in the spectrum than neurotypical kids. With most kids on the spectrum there are various reasons, the majority of them are sensory. Sometimes foods are a color that is off putting, or maybe it is too crisp, too soft, too hard, too chewy, not chewy enough, the smell is wrong, the smell is too strong, ect… In fact if Doctor Seuss had a kid on the spectrum he would have had a ton of material to work with! Green eggs and ham would have been a whole different book!
The old adage that they will eat when they are hungry is not true in kids on the spectrum, if there isn’t a food they will eat around, they won’t eat.. Anything.. Waiting them out does not work, they will get hungry and eventually they will forget about it and they will become ill and need medical assistance. So stop telling ASD parents this.. It is simply not true, and makes us feel like bad parents!
Also, while you are trying to figure out the issues keeping your kid from being a gourmand, pay close attention to what they eat, do you maybe give them a food and they look at it and make a face, or smell it and turn their nose up? Is it more they take a bite and spit it out? Compare it yourself, taste what they like, compare it to foods they eat. Until you figure out what they like!
So, after understanding the why, and adding in what I know my kids will eat now, I have learned how to work new foods into my kids diets.
1st I take a small piece of the new food and place it on his palm, he has to hold it, look at it, smell it and touch the tip of his tongue to it. If it passes those senses we take a bite.
If he eats a full bite he gets a treat, we use gummy snacks (made from fruit juice).
Since very few foods make it past these tests, I have learned a few things I will share with you.
While I strive to give my kids the most health foods I can, when it comes to a kid on the spectrum sometimes it is difficult. Say his favorite foods are French fries drowning in ketchup. you can get organic, low sodium and low sugar varieties of, or you can make. I can sneak veggies into things some times, like my ketchup, often has carrots cooked into it, for ummm sweetness, at least that is what that tell the kids. Or I will tempura fry some veggies to change their texture to something more appealing. If they like pizza make your own sauce carrots zucchini and spinach hide well in a tomato sauce, grate them and they will not know.
Things like cheeseburgers you have to get a bit more creative, maybe do a 70/30 mix of a second healthier ground meat like chicken. Also remember you can start with a little and build up as you go, so make it 5 or 10% at 1st then increase it over time. At some point you might even be able to get it all chicken!
Veggies can be infused in broths then strained out, or you can just use a veggie brother instead of a chicken broth. There are a ton of ways to sneak the veggies in, get creative!
All of these tips are just that tips, or ideas, please feel free to play with your food, take the time to learn it and why it does this or that. Pay attention to what you eat and what your kids eat. Learn why there is always a why sometime you just have to look darn hard for it!
Have fun with it!
Ask questions, talk to your therapists and who knows maybe one day your kid will surprise you by eating a salad with gusto.
Okay maybe not but we can try!