5 Food Tips for Kids with Autism

For parents with kids on the autism spectrum, there can be few greater challenges than getting the right nutrition into their children. Not only do kids with autism have very specific tastes and preferences, they also often have sensory issues related to food, which can make eating much less enjoyable than it might be otherwise. However, some foods can be easier to prepare or digest for your child with autism, making it easier for you and your child to get the nutrients you need. Here are five tips for choosing nutritious food for kids with autism that everyone in your family will enjoy!

1. Focus on one protein

Protein is important for kids with autism, and a great source is fish. Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are important for brain health and development. The protein from fish can also help with regulating moods.

2. Find foods that the whole family will enjoy

There are a lot of foods that most people enjoy, but you can also find dishes that are perfect just for kids on the autism spectrum. They might be picky eaters, but they still want to feel included at the dinner table.

3. Use colorful plates

  1. Use colorful plates.
  2. Prepare meals in advance and store them in the fridge or freezer.
  3. Serve foods on small plates and cut them up to make it easier to eat.
  4. Keep distractions to a minimum while eating – the sound of running water, some music or a funny TV show can help distract your child from their worries about food and eating challenges.

4. Cut food into small pieces

It’s important to cut all food into small, bite-sized pieces to avoid choking and provide ample chewing time. Kids on the autism spectrum may not be able to chew well or swallow at the same rate as their typically developing peers, so try cutting up foods that are difficult to chew.

5. Focus on individual needs

Children on the autism spectrum often have different nutritional needs than neuro-typical children. They can be more sensitive to taste and texture and may not want a large variety of foods.
-Plan healthy, balanced meals around the things they like best.
-Offer their favorite foods at every meal, even if that means cooking two separate meals.
-Let them decide which toppings or condiments to add to their food before they eat it.

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