As a mother, I will never give up on my child. As a mother of a child who has autism, I will never give up hope.
I look into his eyes and I see all the potential that he has to offer to this beautiful world and I just know that one day the world can see what I see.

Follow my blog as I share my life and my experiences as a person who loves someone with autism.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Picky Eaters

We asked our Facebook friends: Have a picky eater? We want to hear your stories, what worked for you, what you have tried, and any suggestions on how to get a child to eat!

Here’s their advice.

“I’ve been told my son is a picky eater, I offer what I know what he wants. I often serve him the same 20ish foods over and over, different combinations. Sometimes I lament that I wish he’d eat mixed foods (stews/sauces/soups/casseroles)... but then I stop and remind myself I’m lucky/we’re lucky he chooses to eat the healthy foods he does. We still try variety, but as long as he continues eating healthy, not asking for unhealthy, and I’m able to provide him supplements to cover areas he might need help with (Omega 3/Vitamin C/Vitamin D/Calcium) I can also add fruit pulp to muffins/pancakes/loafs... powered vitamins too! I say all this, cause sometimes OTHER people tell us our kids that they need to eat more/eat better/eat different... but do they?”

“We took our son to the pediatrician last week about this as he barley eats anything half the time. The pediatrician said as long as weight loss isn’t happening then just leave them... he says ALL children crave attention, good or bad and they know they can manipulate you into giving it to them. We stopped bugging our son and just leave it at no drinks or dessert until he’s done eating (other then a glass of water with his meal.) He is eating more now then before.”

“My daughter is very fussy. She will drink anything but it is the textures of foods she struggles with. Weetobix, custard, Cadburys flakes are her favourite and she licks a lot of foods but won’t actually eat. We are on the list for support from school for her diet, but she is the size she should be and nobody seems concerned, this is one area we are really struggling with.”

“Yep got a very picky eater. Eats most fruits, no veggies but fries. Eats a lot of cereal. Likes pizza. Peanut butter. Snacks yep. Eats chicken nuggets sometimes only if microwave’d! He is tall for his age and 50 lbs. Not skinny but not overly fat. Built like a linebacker!! Worries me no veggies but seems healthy...”

“My youngest is fussy... but I watched a program on this topic and they said it takes on average 25 times to introduce a child to a new food... so I stopped stressing, stopped fussing and forcing... but kept putting small amounts on his plate... Yes, it might take a year, maybe two, but gradually curiosity took hold. Even if he just tries it now and then I‘m pleased. Over the years (9 now) he is gradually accepting more and more different foods that before he’d throw off the plate. His bigger brother ‘dared’ him to eat veggies... and always up for a challenge, he did and that was the start of him eating veggies. Other little tricks that have worked is putting things in egg cups but on the plate, because it’s ‘special’... that draws interest (that introduced gravy/sauces etc.). And once he was a bit older encouraging him to help pick the best vegetables/fruit with me in the shops (also stops him running off in shops on me!), and having little ‘baking sessions’ together now and then, he has slowly developed more of an interest in food in general. There are still some things he won’t try ‘yet’... but his bigger brother loves his food, and as he watches us two tuck in and enjoy all different foods at the table... it’s only a matter of time when he wants to join in and see what all the fuss is about :) Fussing, forcing or bribing only makes him dig his heals in... I still put things on his plate, but if he leaves it today it’s no bid deal and I keep tight lipped, say nothing... tomorrow is another day.

I learnt with my first son (with Aspergers) that getting anxious over what they do and don’t eat, and how they use a knife and fork, only made dinner times a stressful event, and put us all off our eating - as soon as I calmed down and just turned a blind eye, and used the dinner time to talk about nice things of the day instead, his appetite grew very quickly, hence he slept better and could focus better. I know every child is different.. and what works for one may not work for another... but I hope my experience might aid just somebody out there. Good luck, stay strong, stay positive, and many blessings everybody :)”

“We always let our kids eat what they like. They’re all healthy. My youngest is 14 and almost 6 feet tall. Also, autistic kids are oversensitive to things that most people don't notice. It’s not only the taste, but the texture, smell, the way bag may crinkle, the way something looks, etc. His middle school teacher insisted that he try new foods. We warned her and told her not to do it. She learned her lesson when he threw up one day.”

Special thanks to our Facebook friends for sharing their advice. Have some advice you’d like to share? Please leave it as a comment.

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