8 Dietary Tips to Achieving a Balanced Diet with Autism

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It is important for your child to eat a balanced diet of healthy fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein, and fats. Your child may be a picky eater, which can make balanced eating more of a challenge. These 8 Dietary Tips are designed to help make meal time a little more enjoyable and nutritious.

  1. Drink less sugary drinks – Water is ideal, but if that is a challenge try flavoring the water with your child’s favorite juice or a squeeze of lemon.
  2. Include probiotic rich foods – yogurt, kefir, pickled vegetables, or a supplement. Probiotics support the mind-gut connection and digestion.
  3. Make meal time a family routine and shoot for the same time every day – Routine is good, your child can begin to anticipate meal time. Provide the child with an appeteaser such as a crunchy carrot or pickle Try using only natural light in the dining room, soft relaxing music and gentle yummy smells to prevent emotional outbreaks.
  4. Include your child with meal preparation – If your child feels involved with meal time, they may be more excited to try the foods they helped you create. Even the smallest job can make them feel included.
  5. Take your child to farmer’s markets or the grocery store – If your child is unable to tolerate a trip to the market, bring the market to them. Set up a few boxes with the groceries for the meal. Let your child explore those items and talk together about the color, texture, smell; anything that leads them to exploration. Clean raw veggies are a great way to start.
  6. Research new foods with your child – Childrens books are available which introduce new foods gaining in interest before they try it.
  7. Make nutritious food swaps – sweet potatoes for regular potatoes, bake instead of fry, use whole grain noodles instead of white, make popsicles and sweet treats out of real fruit, hide spinach in a smoothie,  Slimy and slimy foods seems to be the least favorite amongst kids with autism. Find out what your child can tolerate, and make textural adjustments as needed.
  8. Don’t give up! – It can take a child up to 15 times to try a new food before they like it. Also, make sure you are setting a good example of what a balanced diet looks like. 

Need more tips? Check out this great resource: Autism speaks

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