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Picky Eater Lunch Ideas are for parents with children who refuse to eat healthy meals, why this topic was chosen because many of these kids are living with autism. Since my oldest son has this disorder, that has me determined to help parents with this guide.
Autism Eating Problems
Usually, we go right to the topic of my guides, instead today I want to educate any new parents on this common challenge. When my son was born he was our first child, so being young new parents we had no idea what was going on with our child. Today autism is becoming so common parents have much more information, let us just see what Marcus Autism Center has to say about this.
- 5 times more likely to develop eating disorders
- Many children will tell their parents they are not hungry at meal times
- Extremely picky eating
- Refuse to even try new food is common
- Extremely specific food preferences
- Happy to be eating their favorites meal after meal
- Children with autism most often experience chronic eating disorders
Does your child fall into this category when it comes to time to eat, and secondly has your child been diagnosed with autism? When you put these two factors together, this can form the connection to why your child is experiencing eating problems.
Anxiety and stress from concerned parents are very common, when my son was a baby we were taking him from doctor to doctor with the same advice. Don’t worry they will eat when they are hungry, and they will grow out of it when they are older. This didn’t ease the stress in our family, and it might not make new parents feel any better even today.
- Bone health development problems
- Chronic constipation
- Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals
- Being underweight for their age
- Easily catch colds and the flu
The most common deficiencies found through studies according to the Marcus Autism Center are low levels of calcium and protein, both of these are believed to possibly contribute to the symptoms above.
What Can New Parents Do
Even though this is focusing on new parents, any family with a child born with this disorder can benefit from the information. Why I chose new parents is because they have less experience with raising children, so in turn, this can really cause them some major relationship problems.
- Stay on a strict eating schedule eating at specific times for every meal regularly every single day, even on the weekends.
- Provide them with healthy snacks twice per day between meals
- Encourage them to drink more water by going out of your way to offer them water despite they don’t ask for it.
- Sneak into their meals the foods they refuse to eat sometimes works with some children in tiny amounts
- Stick to a strict routine, and never give in to giving them more than two snack times per day.
I am so impressed with the Marcus Autism Center, for anyone interested here is a link to their feeding program, especially for children with autism. Even if your child is a picky eater without being diagnosed with this disorder, parents might find this guide worth reading for some ideas.
Portion Control Containers
How life would have been much easier when my son was a boy if these were available, you can use these to be sure you are providing your child with all the food groups their body requires. Even a few bites from the section you sneak the health foods they refuse to eat is a huge accomplishment, so if you are ready to learn more about these here is what On My Kids Plate has to say.
- Often encourages your child to at least get a variety of food groups with everything on one plate.
- Combining their favorites with the family meals is easy to do without the child realizing what you are up to.
- Reduces family stress at meals by not needing to fight with your child to eat healthier
- Starting by providing the majority of their favorite foods and gradually sneaking into new foods is your best strategy
- Portion Control Container Ideas
We are now ready for the Picky Eater Lunch Ideas, I really felt this information first would benefit many of you reading this article. Our health is becoming worse and worse as time goes by, and also there are more of our children with this disorder than ever before.
Autism Dietician Lunch Ideas
When Gizmo is researching for you, I go to the websites that are experts in the topic. Giving you the most effective information is extremely important to me, Autism Dietician is a resource that I highly recommend. Since they specialize in food options for this disorder, why not add them to your favorites list.
- Turkey Avocado Wrap with carrots and an apple
- Mini Pancakes with sun butter and berries
- Hummus with Gluten-Free Crackers, cucumbers, and trail mix
- Plain Dairy-Free Yogurt with gluten-free granola, nut butter, and blueberries
- Chicken Meatballs marinara dipping, sauce, and grapes
- Peanut Butter Sandwich on gluten-free bread
- Tortilla Chips with ground beef, guacamole, and salsa
- Bean Burrito- gluten-free tortilla filled with refried beans, served with avocado and salsa
- Gluten-Free Pasta Salad
- Gluten-Free Pancakes
Many children with this disorder are intolerant to dairy and gluten, and so this just might be a possible reason they refuse to eat. To be safe, you should have your child tested for intolerance to both of these. Another option is to just eliminate them from your child’s diet, you will find within a few weeks if this is the reason. Food intolerance is highly common in these children, so they are making them feel sick.
Let Us Go Shopping
Shopping Tips especially for children with autism can make a huge difference in family stress at mealtime, what you are going to find in this paragraph are what foods to avoid buying on your grocery list for your child. Why am I including this might be on your mind, there are specific foods that are triggers for your child’s symptoms to worsen.
- Anything which contains Milk can be a trigger for some children
- Dairy products are commonly on the worse food list for intolerance for many people but are especially high for anyone with autism
- Gluten such as wheat, barley, and rye are another intolerance according to studies, you will find these in many of your processed foods
- Foods and snacks which contain high sugar contents should be avoided or at the least provided in moderation
- Even though many processed foods are triggers, one of the most common is your processed meats
Every child is not the same of course, you should consider these as possible trigger foods when shopping. Many families find it easier to substitute them on their grocery lits, being intolerant to most of these myself, I can tell you many families just might not be able to afford to eliminate these for the entire family.
Recommended Autism Diet Plans
Obviously, by now, you are noticing a pattern that these kids just don’t like healthier foods, that got me thinking about what diet plans might be available. This really could be a stress reliever for many families to know this information, so I took the time to research this just for you.
- Autism MEAL Plan
- Gluten-free and casein-free diet
- Modified ketogenic diet
Many children do better on these three diet plans, even with these many kids often will experience vitamin and mineral deficiencies. I would suggest you consult your primary physician or a dietician before going on any of these diets, also regular blood tests to monitor their deficiencies are a good idea.
Highly Recommended Autism Organizations
To provide you with even more help than I can give you in one guide, I did a Google search for the best autism organizations. These are highly recommended according to this search engine, and the more you can learn the more effective you can manage your child’s symptoms. Love for you to do me a little favor, and that is if you found this helpful just share it with your family and your friends.
- Autism Society of America
- National Autism Association
- Autism Self Advocacy Network
- Autism-Aspergers Network
- Autism Science Foundation
- Autism Research Insitute
Out of the ones Google suggests, these are the organizations I would start with if I was you. Why give you a huge list that is only going to confuse you, now you have some good organizations to begin your research.
Autism Online Groups
Groups can be very beneficial for parents, you will find the majority of the members are parents just like you. By sharing with one another, you can be each other’s best resource. Let us take a look at some of them that are available, now please don’t go join every group you find, but instead, research the best couple that will be the most useful for your own situation.
- Autism Support Network
- Autism Mom’s
- Autism Up Parent Online Discussion Group
- National Autism Society
- Spectrum Support
- Autism Society
- Pine Grove Treatment
- National Autism Association
You now have some support groups to consider if any of them are right for you, I suggest you take your time reading their posts before joining any of them. This should be a great asset for many of you in need of information, and the right groups can be the answer to many of your problems without costing you anything.
Another support option is forums, many people have forgotten about these since Facebook came online. For anyone interested in these, I have some that are highly recommended.
- Scope Autism and Aspergers
- Aspergers and Autism Forum
- Wrong Planet Autism Community
- Autism Support Network
- Autism Independent
- National Autistic Society Forum
- What to Expect From Autism
Just a handful to get you on your way if this is something you wish to explore, once again these are free to participate in. Asking questions is optional, you can learn so much just by reading what others are asking and reading what people have replied from their own experience.
Autism Support Videos
Watching videos might be preferred more than what already has been shared, maybe even an additional option to get more information. Whatever the case might be, I am very high on videos for educating ourselves.
- Tips for Picky Eating and Children with Autism
- Five Common Causes of Picky Eating in Children with Autism
- Picky Eating isn’t About the Food
- What Foods Can Help Your Autistic Child
- Why are Autism People Picky Eaters
- Autism and Food Issues
- Watch Videos On YouTube
The reason all my lists are short with the best ones is to provide you with as much help as possible in one self-help guide. I could write an article on each of these separately, why do that when I can give you access to them all in one place.
Even with as many resources already shared with you, I always end my guides with a list of more options for you to consider. The more places you can find help the better I have done my job, and this website is very serious about helping people just like you and your families.
- How to Recognize Signs of Autism in a Child
- Autism Highway
- Autism Navigator
- Free Visual Supports for Kids with Autism
- My Autism Team
- How to Spot Signs of Autism in Teens
- Sesame Street and Autism
- How to Explain Autism to People
- Center on Parent Information and Resources
Don’t overlook your favorite social media websites as good sources for information as well, I did include my four favorites in the list of resources above for you. Maybe you have noticed some that you were not aware of before now, and if so that means that this guide has done what it intended to do for you. Just a reminder, I do have an auto-notification pop-up on my website for your convenience. This is in no way going to benefit me financially, but it could help more of you visit Gizmos Self-Help Guides knowing about my most recent publication.