Autism Watch: 2007

Once Bitten, Always Shy?

Posted on: August 8, 2008

My son’s big on routine. Sameness. Repetition. Familiarity. It all holds true with his diet, too. I’ve mentioned in a prior blog entry how food is a huge issue for us. He has a limited set of foods he’ll eat, and those foods need to be prepared the same way, too. (Only pancakes for breakfast, cut a certain way. Only a turkey or ham sandwich for lunch, no cheese, no mayo, just mustard. And no crusts.) Dinner is our experimental meal of the day. Because I have to cook for at least six of us daily, I don’t have the time to cook two meals — nor do I want to — so we try to get him to eat what we’re eating each night, some with better success than others. He’d eat chicken nuggets nightly if we let him, but only if they’re not crispy. (He’s got issues with smells and textures, and has been known to gag up many a bites of food and never look at them again.)

So, what to do? Each night we try to get him to try what we’re having. I made gumbo on Wednesday night (homemade, and may I say it rocked?) and for his bowl, I picked out the green peppers. I also didn’t use onions and very little spice, just enough to be tasty for everyone but not too ‘spicy’ for him. (Everything that tastes odd to him is ‘spicy.’) He ate it! He loved the rice, sausage and chicken. I tried to get him to eat some leftovers of it yesterday, as I was out late through dinner and suggested dd give him a bowl of it, but he wouldn’t try it.

If he eats something one time and it’s bad, chances are, he won’t try it again. He’ll shy away from it faster than you can say “I’ll make you more chicken nuggets!” We’re a non-red-meat household, so we eat a lot of meals that include chicken and ground turkey. We cook pretty well and can be creative, but with him, creative in the traditional sense doesn’t work. Instead, we need to be creative with food preparation in a boring way. Same ingredients, different ways…and every now and then, we throw in something different and hope he goes for it. He’s got a nose that beats most any I’ve seen, and he senses out a different smell, and taste, before the fork gets to his mouth….holding half the food initially on the fork before it left the plate and the ‘non-messy zone.’

I’m going away to the conference this weekend, so I am curious how things go with dh and their meals. Dh can be great at persuading him to try different things….but ds is really stubborn and too much pushing can result in a nightmare of a meltdown. Seen a few of those this week, but at least the bitemark faded!

So how do you introduce new foods into your child’s diet, especially if you avoid certain items? How do you get him to eat enough, and is only eating a few things a big deal, other than trying to find ways to make sure the diet includes proper vegetable and fruit amounts? Without anyone going crazy? 😉

3 Responses to "Once Bitten, Always Shy?"

I’m sorry, but I have absolutely no answers for you. My son, Little Man, has an extremely limited diet too. Every day, his menu looks like this:

breakfast: bagel with cheddar (marble, only!) cheese, banana

lunch: grilled cheese sandwich, banana or strawberries

dinner: chicken fingers/nuggets/buddies, fruit

oh,and all of the above are always surrounded by ketchup. lots of ketchup.

tantrums are a major deal in our house, too. in fact, my guy is still sobbing and shuddering from his latest tantrum.

ugh. i wish i knew of a way to make it easier…

Hear, hear on picky eaters! My daughter is gluten free also (from suspected Celiac). One thing we try with various levels of success are a “no thank you” or “learn to like it” bite/lick/kiss/pick up and move to a “no thank you bowl”. This was suggested by her OT. The concept being you start with child just picking up the item and putting it into a bowl while saying no thank you (how ever they can.. my daughter is quite verbal). Eventually moving to “kissing it goodbye” while putting it in the bowl, to licking it, then trying a bite. We got her to eat baby carrots this way, but haven’t tried it much again. It’s a long process (but what isn’t, I guess!) but worth a shot…

I plan to re-ignite the food campaign very shortly [hope I don’t burn my fingers / or his!] Nip on over and pick up you award when you have a free mo, sometime in the next millenium perchance. [Saturday post]

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