Family

Autism Awareness Month: The Diet Challenges Of Children On The Spectrum

All kids can be picky eaters at one point or another, they want sweets over vegetables or don’t like pasta. On the other hand, parents of children on the spectrum know this is an understatement of their child’s eating habits and face daily challenges just getting their kids to eat.


Causes of Feeding Problems

There is an array of reasons a child on the spectrum won’t eat certain foods or refuses altogether. Some reasons include:

  • Oral Motor Skills – A child may have a jaw weakness that may prevent them from chewing his/her food. It can prevent proper chewing and processing of food.
    Behavioral/Rigidity – Some kids with ASD have a form of OCD and get set in their ways when it comes to what they like to eat. This makes it difficult to introduce new foods or balance their diet.
    Sensory Issues – If this is the case, they may avoid foods based on the smell, color, texture or even temperature.
    Digestive Problems – If something causes stomach aches or acid reflux, a child may avoid it. By going to a gastroenterologist, parents can rule out digestive issues.
    Lack of Self-Awareness – Some kids will over-eat or under-eat. They may eat until they vomit or eat a few things and stop not realizing they are still hungry.

My Own Challenges

I have two children on the spectrum and both have different issues when it comes to eating.

Leo – He is very sensory based and rigid when it comes to his eating. He smells everything he eats, even if it’s something he has had before. He can smell things I can’t even smell and we (our pediatrician and myself) believe he may have a higher sense of smell. For example, we made pancakes the other morning for breakfast and this time we added in a hint of cinnamon. The second we put the pancakes down in front of him, he started crying saying he didn’t like them. We took the plate back and added a plain pancake under the original. He literally took the top pancake off saying he didn’t like it and began eating the plain one. Also, he gets stuck in his way of having the same thing over and over again because it’s “safe,” he knows he likes it.

Lexi – She is behavioral, rigid and lacks some self awareness. We can trick her into eating something as long as she doesn’t know. One example, she will drink the kids Danimals yogurt but won’t eat a regular Yoplait yogurt. However, if I put the regular yogurt in the Danimals container, she will eat it. Just like Leo, she gets stuck in the habit of wanting the same things over and over again. Now with her lack of self awareness, we have to make sure she doesn’t just eat chicken nuggets all day long. She could have that for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – no problems. Obviously that isn’t a great diet, so we have to tell her no and deal with a bit of a crying fit before she will accept something else.

Their diet is limited because of these issues and we try to balance it out as best we can with supplements. But the list of foods they will eat is pretty short for kids their age

Breakfast

  • Eggs
  • Pancakes

Lunch/Dinner

  • Chicken Nuggets (Only Chick-fil-A or Dino Nuggets)
  • Danimals Yogurt
  • Nutella Sandwich (we are working on PBJ)
  • Plain noodles
  • Mac n Cheese

Snacks/Treats

  • Apples, bananas and strawberries (so thankful for this!)
  • Muffins (only chocolate)
  • Cookies (only chocolate or peanut butter)
  • White rice
  • Chips (only plain or cheese)
  • Ice cream (vanilla or chocolate)
  • Cake pops (they each have a specific one)
  • Popcorn
  • Goldfish/Graham Crackers

This is a Complete list of what they will eat!


A Few Helpful Tips

    Keep mealtimes calm and stress-free.
    Set a routine for mealtimes.
    Create a visual plan around mealtime.
    Teach rules about serving sizes.
    Look for signs of food intolerances.
    Look into supplements to fill in the gaps.


Well, I hope y’all enjoying reading through my own experience and tips. If this was new information, then I hope it helps you understand other that deal with this daily.

Thank you so much! Please feel free to post your comments or questions below!

Cloe πŸ’‹

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Food

ο»ΏSimple Homemade Orange Chicken

As a mom, anything I can make that is quick, easy and not too unhealthy is a win for me. For when you are craving some orange chicken, this one hits the spot!

You only need 4 simple ingredients:

  • Boneless chicken breast
  • Bbq sauce
  • Orange marmalade
  • Soy sauce

This recipe serves 3-5 people. In one sauce pan, mix 1 cup bbq sauce, 1 cup sweet orange marmalade and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce together and let simmer. 

Then chop chicken breast to desired size and grill. Optional: you can coat with flour and water mixture to have a bit more breaded texture. 

Once all chopped, toss into simmering sauce and let simmer for about 5-10 minutes. 


Once it is done, you can serve as is or with a side of fried rice. 

Let me know if you enjoy this or have another recipe I should try! 😊

Opinion

Beach Day & Date Night πŸ’œ

PART ONE – Beach Day

I love summer! And everything that comes with it. Sun, sand, beach and relaxing while tanning. With kiddos it make the beach more fun but also more challenging. Today was a wonderful day with no problems with the kids. 

My little one, Lexi was loving getting to roam free without boundaries. She’s also a major chunk so she is almost a year old but wearing a size 2 toddler πŸ˜‚


My lil man, Leo, wandered around until he found people flying a kite and then just stood and watched them. 


Both passed out once I put them in the stroller and went for a walk. It was a great day at the beach. 
PART TWO – Date Night

We don’t get date night too often but when we do it’s usually casual so we can relax. We decided to go to Del Mar in Downtown San Clemente. Decided to scope out for a new place to eat and stopped at a place called “Cotton’s” and it was amazing!

I would post pictures of the food but we ate it too fast 😳 it was delicious. I was able to catch a photo of dessert though. 


A perfect end to a great day! πŸ˜ŠπŸ’œ hope all y’all had a good Friday Funday!

Let me know below your great end to the week 😊