Nutrition is important for everyone. However, it becomes more crucial for children with special needs.
If you have an autistic child, then you probably find it challenging to feed them healthy foods. The truth is, autistic kids can be very picky eaters. So feeding them can take a toll on you at times. But don’t lose hope just yet!
The good news is that you can take effective steps to help them try different healthy foods.
Here are useful tips to get your autistic child to eat healthily.
Try to Eat Together
You may be tempted to give your child unsupervised access to food out of love, but don’t do it. Research shows that children have different preferences about how food is arranged on their plates. Based on this, different kids are enticed about foods differently.
So, understand what taste your child likes and try to include foods in their plate with similar tastes. For example, if they like sweet foods, consider adding boiled carrots to their plate and other food options.
Focus on Fun Foods
Is your autistic child hooked on fast food? Are they generally uninterested in fruits and vegetables? If yes, do not force them into eating everything yet!
Forcing food on an autistic child can cause immense stress and frustration for both of you and the little one. So let them enjoy their favorite foods and try to introduce healthy food options slowly.
If you still notice that they struggle too much with food and general activities, enrolling your kid in ABA therapy is a good option.
Let Them Participate in Food Shopping
Let your child decide what you should cook for dinner! Choices make kids feel more independent and confident. The same goes for autistic children. So, it is advisable to let them participate in buying groceries at your home. Just make sure you take them to healthy aisles.
Use More Colorful Foods
Colorful foods like carrots, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes etc., are well known for their health benefits. But they can be off-putting for special children. So, try to dress up the plates with these healthy foods. You can prepare salads with carrot and spinach or cucumber slices along with tomatoes.
Avoid Repeating the Same Meal
Once in a while, you may want to treat your child and serve them their favorite meals (which might not be healthy). But make sure you don’t do it repeatedly. You can add one new recipe every week. Make sure the recipes are healthy and contain vegetables or fruits. This will get your child more excited about homemade food than eating fast food.
Use the Child’s Favorite Ingredients
This may sound difficult at first, but being creative is not that hard. For instance, your child loves bananas so much, so why not add them to their cereal in the morning? You can do this in several ways too. Consider adding bananas to their cereal or oatmeal, or pancakes. Try experimenting with healthy ingredients and see what works for your child!
Keep Track of Problematic Foods
Many autistic children have food allergies and sensitivities. To help them out, you should keep track of the foods they should not have. This way, you can be sure that they do not consume too many fast foods that will affect their overall development.
Even if your autistic child is not interested in eating vegetables, do not forget that they are still young. They need time to develop their taste buds and palates to enjoy healthy foods.
So, make sure you keep the above tips in mind and ensure that your autistic kid consumes a delicious and nutritious diet.