Are you concerned about your child’s nutrition and weight?
If so, you are not alone. Close to 80% of autistic children are reportedly suffering from picky eating and sensory issues that make eating a challenge itself.
Additionally, and contrary to neurotypical children, children on the spectrum are not supposed to eat most of the things that are normally known as children’s favorites aka (chicken nuggets, candies, cookies, ice cream, etc).
Although it sounds like a challenge, it is possible to help your child gain weight safely and healthily. Today we will give you a few tips to make it attainable.
Tips to Help ASD Children Gain Weight Safely
Super Food Add-Ins: These are the foods that you can add to your regular meals to ensure extra nutrition (higher vitamin-minerals intake). A few examples of this are flaxseed, hempseeds, and chia seeds in yogurt, smoothies, etc. Nutritional yeast is another great example, this is perfect to be used in meatloaf and savory dishes and Brewers yeast for home-made desserts and baked goods. The idea is to make the most out of every meal by adding extra nutrients.
Nutritional Dense Foods as Snacks: This is another great way to ensure your child’s nutrition. Change the juice for actual fruits, and veggies with hummus. Instead of gluten-free cookies hand him/her some nuts or dried fruits. The idea is to give your child food that is “heavier” and more nutritious. Additionally, try to change his/her mindset of snacks from treats to actual meals.
Remove Food From Boxes: Children are super smart and they learn to identify the boxes of the treats and cereal that they love. Then when you try to serve them another thing that doesn’t come from their preferred box, trouble appears. The idea is to remove all food from boxes and place them in clear containers so your child is less likely to get “stuck” with just one food or food box.
Increase Nuts Intake: Nuts are great for gaining weight safely for they are nutritious, dense, and very caloric. If your child isn’t quite ready for eating a nut in its whole form, try grinding them up into smaller pieces or try offering a nut or seed butter spread. The best nuts for safe weight-gain are:
- Brazil nuts
- Pine nuts
- Hazelnuts (not Nutella because it’s almost all sugar)
Ignore Behavior: Most children on the Spectrum tend to spit, whine, and bang when not given his/her preferred meals. However, try not to engage in this type of conduct and instead focus your attention on the food itself. Asking questions like is this food wet or dry? Is this food smelly? What is the color of this food? and What foods are the same color? are great ways to diverting attention and helping your child concentrate on something else.
Remember, when it comes to nourishing your child, and discovering new favorites is always a trial and error. However, keep in mind that every time you offer your kid a new meal, you are helping him/her expand their horizons and making them more open, even if it doesn’t feel like it.
Have you tried anything from above? Let us know which method you prefer!
At WSCC, we offer support for autistic families and their children with Stem Cell Therapy treatments that can transform autistic conditions by healing the gut, decreasing inflammation and improving brain function. We also created an on Facebook that is destined to offer support and companionship for ASD parents and their families on their journey.
Remember, you are not alone!