My son only wants specific foods. How do I ensure a healthy diet for him?
Children with Asperger’s commonly have difficulty when it comes to eating a variety of foods. Textures and smells play a part due to the sensory issues they experience. In addition, having too many choices goes against what is comfortable for these kids. Finding a balance will take work and special accommodation.
Kids with Asperger’s have sensory issues that may prevent him from registering the feelings of hunger. Therefore, you can’t rely on your child’s hunger to motivate him to eat. Eliminating the foods he loves will create a true battle.
When you begin your attempts to alter your child’s diet, do so quietly. The less fuss, the less likely it will become a bigger deal than it already is. And keep trying. Success may come slowly, but the ultimate goal is improving your child’s diet. Every little victory will bring you one step closer to the desired result.
The most common trick to entice your child with Asperger’s to eat is to change the presentation. Altering the form of a food may work. If your child likes the flavor of strawberries, for instance, but cannot handle the texture, you could toss them in the blender with some yogurt and try giving him a strawberry smoothie.
Another trick you can try is the element of disguise. Many vegetables can be pureed and added to favorites without changing the taste of the texture of the food. One example is adding pureed vegetables to meatloaf or spaghetti sauce. The taste is overpowered by the favored food and the puree blends in undetected. This is sneaky, but a great way to meet the goal of a healthy, balanced diet.
Finally, create a meal/snack routine or schedule. This will appeal to your child’s need for order and structure. Eventually you’ll be able to introduce new foods without being sneaky. He’ll know that mealtime is approaching and he will be expected to try the foods you have prepared.