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.
- 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.
- Include probiotic rich foods – yogurt, kefir, pickled vegetables, or a supplement. Probiotics support the mind-gut connection and digestion.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Research new foods with your child – Childrens books are available which introduce new foods gaining in interest before they try it.
- 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.
- 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