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Healthy recipes for picky eaters with autism

Maria Mora is a freelance writer and single mom fueled by coffee, questionable time management skills, toaster oven waffles and the color orange. She lives in Florida with her two young sons. If you see her on Twitter, tell her to stop p...

Simple, nutritious meal ideas

Children with autism spectrum disorders often have symptoms that lead to picky eating or difficulty eating certain foods.
Picky eater toddler

Many ASD kids also have sensory processing disorder. Between rigid routines and preferences for certain textures and temperatures of food, it can be difficult to plan meals for children with autism. Discover simple recipes to please picky eaters.

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters. When a toddler or young child has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, the picky eating can get downright epic. No child can live on french fries alone, so parents of kids with autism are often faced with battles when introducing new foods and new tastes. Every child with autism is different. Some may struggle with hot or cold foods, while others may prefer certain colors, textures or may be very rigid when it comes to the routines around mealtime.

Be patient

If your child with autism has a hard time with meals, you’re going to have to bulk up on patience. It may be several years before you can head to a restaurant that serves anything other than your child’s favorite foods. You may find mealtimes becoming a source of stress instead of a fun time to gather. Know that you’re not alone, and that it’s OK to celebrate small food victories.

Get help

Talk to your pediatrician about your child’s diet. If he only eats a few foods, it’s important to make sure he’s getting the right vitamins and nutrients. An occupational therapist can help with many common eating issues, especially related to textures, tastes and consistency. Take a break when you’re feeling overwhelmed or angry. It’s OK to ask your partner or another family member to take over meals when you’re feeling stretched too thin.

Work around pickiness

Get creative with meals. You may have to set aside your notions of an old fashioned sit down meal. Some kids thrive on grazing or eating small portions of a variety of finger foods. You have to play around and find what works. The main goal isn’t to have a picture-perfect mealtime, but to get a well-balanced diet in your child while gradually introducing new flavors and meals.

smoothieBanana and avocado smoothie recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana, peeled and frozen
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut butter
  • Water

Find the directions here >>

Mashed ginger carrots recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons Shedd’s Spread Country Crock Spread
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger spice
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans sliced carrots, drained and warmed
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped

Find the directions here >>

Pumpkin zucchini bread recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Find the directions here >>

More kid-friendly recipes

Chocolate pancakes
Ham and cheese muffins
Crispy baked eggplant fries

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