Anyway, the last time I blogged, I blogged about feeding the picky child. Today I'm going to be blogging about the way food looks to my son and what makes him eat it and what makes him say, "No, No want this."
Trying to coax our son to eat on most days is like trying to get the new cat the showed up in your backyard to come to you as you hold your hand full of food out toward them. Does it always work...no. And sometimes all you really do is get them to turn and run. It's isn't easy and there are days when I sit back and wonder how good a parent am I, when my already slim son doesn't want to eat? How can I make it more presentable to eat? What about the food it turning him off?
Let me start by saying when we first saw the picky eater in our son it was at 2 years old. He would eat anything you put in front of him up until that point. Then when his communication and preferences became apparent it was hit or miss on trying to get him to eat what we made. I'll be honest it is still hit or miss sometimes. And it can be the most frustrating part of the day, especially if they are purposely making a mess with their food to get the point across that they're not going to eat it.
We've spent many a day recalling how much our boy has eaten just to make sure he has eaten enough. And through all the food boot camp our son has put us through we picked up a couple of DON'Ts along the way. Here is the guideline for food prep in our house that works more often than not. Though, we still are trying to perfect it. We realize that until our boy can specify these things our DON'T list is what we go by.
1. Don't cook the vegetables.
Unless the vegetables need some cooking due to taste and texture, we don't cook them. All vegetable are made into sticks and set out on the table for him to eat. And yes we call them his sticks so that he will be interested in eating them.
2. Don't mix the food together.
If your going to cook vegetables with rice, cut the vegetables into sticks sticks and present the rice separately. Another example would be spaghetti with vegetables. Again sticks and spaghetti are separate. Same goes for some sauces. Leave them off unless directed otherwise.
3. Don't present it if you can't even make out what it is.
If it isn't recognizable he won't eat it. Even if he tries it 9 times out of 10 he'll humor us with a couple of bites and he's done. New fad foods and the way they are made are a huge no-no in this house.
4. Don't present the same thing for weeks on end.
This is something not every family with a kid on the spectrum, can do. In our house if we present the same thing over and over and over again, after a short while, he won't eat it. Peanut butter sandwiches were all the rage for two days, the third day hit and it got denied. Tried a couple days latter and was still denied. Repetition in our family, with food, does not exist
5. Don't hit up the fast food chains or hugely processed foods as snacks or meals.
Fast food chains and processed snacks are addictive. They can easily hook a kid on the spectrum. The foods are usually packed with sugar, salt, smell good, and are recognizable. Everything are son loves. Especially when they pre-organize it in the box for him. UGH. Can be hell to break this habit but worth it for the sake of less tantrums, over all health, and getting your kid to eat what you make them later.
Anyway, I hope this helps. It has helped us. Are these rules set in stone? No. That's why they're called guidelines. Sometimes our little guy surprises us by eating foods that we never think to give him, they then get added to the list of things he will eat. Those moments are great. Just remember to watch your kid's cues. You are the expert on your kid.
As always thanks for reading.
With Love and tons of Gratitude,
P.S. Stay tuned for tomorrows post that will complete this blog trilogy on food and autistic kids.