As a health coach who specializes in helping Moms with Autism Spectrum Disorder kids, one of the main questions I am asked is about feeding their kids. It seems like there is a lot of good information out there, but there is also a lot of misinformation out there. So I thought it might be helpful to put my thoughts here on the blog.
Being a “Aspie” mom as well as a health coach has given me an, hmm . . , shall we say interesting perspective on the subject. The health coach in me shouts, “Eat your veggies!” The mom whispers “please don’t notice the new food, please. . . .”
The first thing we need to do is figure out what causes your child to like certain foods and dislike others. Watch for patterns:
- hot, cold, or room temp (room temp is probably the most commonly accepted temperature)
- texture: smooth or crunchy
- taste: sweet, sour, bitter, salty
- color: some children prefer all food to be the same color
- presentation: casserole, separate, touching on the plate, not touching on the plate
- smell: strong smells or mild smells
Most kids will have strong feelings on the matter. They will let you know what they prefer.
Secondly we need to notice what physical reactions they have to food. Do they gag, vomit, cough, complain of stomach pain? These can all point to digestive issues that go beyond preference. I encourage you to let your physician know about these.
Finally there are some things we can do to make meal time easier.
- keep it quiet
- keep it peaceful
- keep the pattern
I, personally, do not believe it making the table a battle ground. If I want to make a change in Michael’s food, I don’t do it at mealtime. We’ll often talk about a food and why it is a “good” food for a few days before I ever suggest he try it. Then it is just a spoonful. If there are no adverse reactions –which in Michael’s case means gagging– then we try it on his plate. Sometimes I offer the food in a small dish beside his plate before we attempt it on the plate. As often as possible I try to present foods that I know fit his “pattern” of acceptable.
We try to make a smoothie every morning for Michael. I make it the texture of a milk shake, but slightly warmer. We started slowly, but are now able to get his full day of fruits and veggies into one drink. That allows me to relax about the rest of his meals.
Combine in blender and blend until smooth —
4 frozen strawberries, 1/2 a peach, 1/2 a banana, 2 cups spinach, 8-10 blueberries, 1 scoop whey protein powder, 1 scoop Amazing Grass, 1 cup water.