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Special Diets for Special Kids: Volumes 1&2

Today I have another fantastic resource for you from Future Horizons! Lisa Lewis, Ph.D., has written some insightful materials about the effects of diet on children with ADHD, autism,  celiac, food allergies, etc. Future Horizons has put two of her popular books into one volume–Special Diets for Special Kids: Volumes 1&2.

Here’s what I love about this book: Continue reading

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Picky Eaters & Sensory Issues

Last week we had a different article on picky eaters. Here are a few more tips, sent courtesy of the fine folks at Future Horizons!

Autism Asperger’s Digest                March-April 2011 issue

Column: Sensory Smarts                  www.autismdigest.com

Happy Mouths, Happy Meals

Sensory Problems Usually Are the Problem with Difficult Eaters

Dear Sensory Smarts,

My five-year-old is such a picky eater! There are only a few foods she’ll eat: pasta, pizza, and ice cream. She wants to eat macaroni n’ cheese almost every meal, but it has to be one particular brand. If the store is out, she will not eat another brand. My parents and in-laws think it’s because I spoil her. They all say I should serve her what everyone else is having and if she doesn’t eat, then tough. I did try it once and she simply did not eat. Help!

From,

Mac n’ Cheese Maven’s Mom

Dear Maven’s Mom,

Kids with oral sensory issues and food aversions will not eat foods they find repulsive and may wind up with nutritional deficiencies. Your child did not become an extremely selective eater because of something you did. It may help to consider the underlying factors that may be impacting your child’s inability to tolerate a wider variety of foods.

Oral Sensory Problems

Kids with sensory challenges, especially those on the autism spectrum, often have sensory issues in and around the mouth. Remember that the lips, tongue, inside cheeks, and throat are lined with skin. A child may be exquisitely sensitive to textures, and unable to tolerate foods that are lumpy, slippery, chewy, crunchy, or a combination of textures, like yogurt with granola. Some kids are particular about flavors, and may only eat foods that are bland, sweet, or even highly spiced. Some kids are particular about temperatures and insist on or refuse foods that are cold, hot, or lukewarm. Some kids stuff their mouths to feel there’s something in there. Other kids object to the way food looks or when items touch each other on a plate.

Some problem feeders have oral-motor weakness, and lack strength and stability in the lips, tongue, and jaw for nursing and later for eating solid foods. Jaw weakness makes chewing difficult while tongue weakness makes it hard to form a bolus (round food mass) to swallow. High or low muscle tone in the mouth can also be an issue. A child may have a hyperactive gag reflex and avoids eating and gagging. At its most extreme, a child may throw up when an offending food is tasted, smelled, or simply mentioned.

Most kids on the spectrum crave predictability. Your daughter may insist on exactly the same brand of mac n’ cheese cooked exactly the same way as a form of control in a world that sometimes feels out of control. If she has successfully eaten that one type of mac n’ cheese in the past, it’s got to be the very same kind in the future.

It sounds like your daughter sticks to “the white diet,” consisting of carbs and cheese, a common diet among kids with sensory issues. These foods are relatively soft and have an easy “mouth feel.” Unfortunately, these foods consist of gluten and dairy, which many kids with autism do not tolerate well. Gluten is the main protein in wheat and other grains and casein is a protein in cheese and other dairy products. The theory is that these proteins trigger immune responses in some kids, resulting in a pleasurable, druglike response. Gluten and casein sensitivities are worth exploring with a nutritionist or allergist.

When a child has a significantly limited food repertoire, do not withhold the few foods that are acceptable. If you take away that one brand of mac n’ cheese, you’re taking away one of the few sources of nutrition for your child, even if it is a poor one. Pizza can be healthy if you buy or make it with high-quality ingredients.

I start by identifying one food the parent would like to add to a child’s diet, typically a fruit or vegetable. If possible, the child selects the particular fruit or vegetable.

Find more on eating difficulties and other sensory challenges in Raising a Sensory Smart Child and at sensorysmarts.com. You may also want to check out these books: Just Take a Bite (by Lori Ernsperger, available in bookstores and online) and Happy Mealtimes with Happy Kids (by Melanie Potock, available at MyMunchBug.com).

Got a question? I’d love to hear from you. Please email questions to Lindsey@sensorysmarts.com.


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Picky Eater? Here Are Some Tips!

Thanks to Future Horizons for providing us with this article about helping our picky eaters.

Autism Asperger’s Digest, March-April 2011 issue

Column: Sensory Smarts                  www.AutismDigest.com

 

How To Diversify a Diet When A Child Has a

Significantly Limited Food Repertoire

Do not withhold the few foods that are acceptable. If you take away that one brand of mac n’ cheese, you’re taking away one of the few sources of nutrition for your child, even if it is a poor one. Pizza can be healthy if you buy or make it with high-quality ingredients.

I start by identifying one food the parent would like to add to a child’s diet, typically a fruit or vegetable. If possible, the child selects the particular fruit or vegetable. Continue reading


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Get More Ideas for Picky Eaters!

Faithful MHM readers, I am very excited to share a link with you today! One of my guests, Deanne, left a comment on this post about food victories and said she would share with us after she attended an eating strategies seminar! Well, Deanne has ventured forth and returned, and has written about it on her blog. You can click here to glean great suggestions from experts to help you get the right foods into your kiddos!


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Make It Simple–Hiding Nutrition

I’ve been wanting to write a post about this for a long time and just haven’t had the time. I told someone I was going to, about a month ago! I can’t remember who it was, just that it was someone in my Special Needs Homeschooling Group on Facebook. So, I apologize for taking so long to whomever that was!

When you have a picky eater, sometimes you get desperate. You want your child to be healthy, and you know you can’t get too much in him. What do you do? Continue reading


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Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil

Random.org chose #7. Congratulations to Claire! Thank you to all who entered. Remember to keep up with your alerts from Tropical Traditions so you don’t miss out on any fabulous deals!If you’re ready to try one of their fabulous products, click here.

(There’s a giveaway at the end, so read all the way through!) Months ago I was out of coconut flour. Yikes! I like using it as one of my gluten-free flours because it packs a lot of protein and fiber. When you have picky eaters (autism and preschool!), any protein and fiber you can get in them counts! Continue reading


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Make It Simple–Nutrition

So glad to have today’s guest share some tips on kids & nutrition!

Keep It Simple & Successful ~ Get The Kids Involved! 

By Jean Nicol

Is mealtime at your house always a happy, pleasant time as everyone enjoys the meals you prepare? If it is then you are very blessed indeed. You may enjoy reading on to get some new ideas on how you can switch things up a bit and get the kids more involved. Continue reading