Friday, August 21, 2009

Why Will He Only Eat a Few Foods?

Do you have a child who wants to only eat a few select foods? Can you share in a comment below what you do that helps your child? Maybe it will help another child too.

Many kids with autism, perhaps up to 75%, have issues related to eating. Like children who do not have autism there may be physical/medical reasons or there may be sensory issues(texture, taste, color, temperature, shape) or food allergies. These concerns are real and must be dealt with so as to ensure your child has a reasonably healthy diet.

I believe there is another issue for kids with ASD, and perhaps others. Typically children on the autism spectrum don't like surprises. They are able to manage and respond more positively in a predictable environment, where they know what to expect, what's coming next. Why would this be any different when it comes to eating/meals? Aren't meals very often a surprise, until we sit down to eat and what might your child do if the meal is not what they thought it would be? And would you know what they thought it would be? You probably would know if they will only eat a limited number of foods and that is what you always present to them. What they have done is created a predictable environment for themselves so they always know what they will be eating! Aren't they smart! And when they get tired of this group of foods they switch it up a bit for another undetermined period of time.

As a parent you are very concerned when your child will only eat a few foods and you will often try new foods but.................. in the end you never run out of their desired foods and you provide it on demand often because you are concerned about how little they eat! You are supporting and reinforcing their plan!And they know it and like it.

These observations led me to develop a program that would help kids make a wider variety of food choices, their choice. They would still be in control. They would use pictures, chosen and placed on a chart for 6 meals in a day. Now they have a very predictable meal plan for themselves and everyone else to know what they will be eating. It has created a structure that can become part of their daily routine. They can do this if they are not verbal too. They don't have to be able to read, write or speak. The only skills needed are to be able to make a choice and match 4 colors. Oh, and it is equally successful with children who are verbal, read and write and for children who are not autistic. It is The Eating Game!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Story About a Dad and His Son

I just read an amazing article. A beautiful, honest story about a father and his son who is autistic. What drew me to this article was the writer's statement that he felt everyone would benefit from having an autistic child in their family. I would extend that, for those without a family, to say that we would all benefit from having a relationship with a child, and adult too, who is on the autism spectrum.

My 25 years of relationships with persons with ASD brings me to concur with the author about all persons with autism being unique but sharing similarities in difficulties with communication and social skills. For me communication is the key issue. I would add to that a healthy diet.

I appreciated the author's feelings re "cure"and "regret" as related parenting a child with autism. Not the usual answers of "I wish he wasn't autistic" or "I wouldn't change a thing".

Take a few minutes and read the article by by clicking on the title of this blog.

Monday, August 17, 2009

It Can Be a Family Plan Too!

As many of you know I have been at The Pictou Weekend Market all summer and we will still be there until September 20th, every Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm!

I have met so many nice people while at the market, I share my stories and they share theirs! We have shared stories about children & grandchildren with autism/aspergers; picky eaters and their endeavors to get all their children to eat healthy.

Early in the summer a family bought an Eating Game for their 3 girls to use together - a family plan! The girls plan together what they will eat the next day choosing from the choices mom and dad present! And they remind mom and dad when it is time to plan too!

Mom stopped by the market to tell me that it is working very well! She says the girls are all sitting down to enjoy the whole meal they planned.

Don't we all like to be in control in our lives? Children are no exception and they are constantly looking for ways to be in control right! How powerful The Eating Game can be .........Mom & Dad pick the foods to choose from, then the child(children) is in control. The real plus of course beyond the 'control' issue is that they are making healthy choices, establishing healthy eating habits, we hope for life!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Plan Healthy Meals

COMMENT below with a contact email address, tell me about a special project you are doing with a group of teens and I may be able to give you a special price on an order!

The Eater's Choice Daily Meal Planner is an affordable and easy to use product to help anyone plan healthy meals every day! For just $10 you will get a planner for your age group( based on Canada's Food Guide recommendations), a copy of Canada's Food Guide and a dry erasable pen. This planner is reusable, to be used every day!

There is not much we can buy for $10 and it could be the beginning of a lifetime of healthy eating - a healthier you! Maybe you can think of lots of folks you would like to wish "Be Healthy". This would make a great gift for anyone in the following age groups:(separate planner for each age group)

- 4 to 8 years (those who are reading and printing)
- 9 to 13 years
- Females 14 to 18 years
- Males 14 to 18 years
- Females 19 - 50 years
- Males 19 tp 50 years
- Females 51+ years
- Males 51+ years

Think of all the occasions to give this planner as a gift!Would make a great stocking stuffer for anyone and everyone! It would be great to give one to each member of the family so all could plan meals together.

What a great teaching tool for children, learning young for a lifetime! For children with disabilities who would need a plan with pictures to place on a chart there is a product for them too called The Eating Game. Many children, now internationally, are eating healthier planning healthy meals themselves every day! They are having fun doing it too! In some families the children are using The Eating Game together - imagine they are working cooperatively planning healthy meals! A great family gift from mom & dad, grandparents, godparents, friends, aunts & uncles!

NOTE: for info re The Eating Game go to
(link at top right of this page)

Supporting an Overweight Teenager

Being a teenager can be a stressful time for some. Being a teenager who is overweight would no doubt be stressful for many. As with anything else that presents challenges, it is good to identify the cause if we can. If there is an identifyable physical/medical reason for being overweight it needs to be addressed. Having ruled out or dealt with any significant physical/medical reason then it is likely due to past and/or existing eating habits, perhaps along with lack of exercise. Dealing with exercise or lack of exercise can be an issue on its own and may well be related to physical limitations. I am not able to address these concerns but there is no shortage of professionals who can!
With dietary concerns there are basically 2 issues to be addressed: 1) what foods are being eaten and 2) what quantities of foods are being eaten. So the questions are " Are we eating healthy foods and what are they?", "What are our typical serving sizes and what should they be?" . A very good resource to use as a starting point to plan a healthier diet would be Canada's Food Guide (or the USDA Food Guide Pyramid). Canada's Food Guide recommends the number of servings of the four food groups for different age groups and discusses what a serving size is. Of course eating too much healthy food is going to mean consuming too many calories and they do count!
The Eater's Choice Daily Meal Planner for 9 to 13 year olds or females 14 to 18 years and males 14 to 18 years will help teach how many servings of each food group should be eaten. The enclosed Canada's Food Guide will help with understanding what a good serving size would be. This meal planner will not say what foods should be eaten. That is up to the individual planner. The hope was that at least initially the planner would choose foods they like and later add a variety of new foods. A food list and a weekly planning sheet can be found and printed at on the 'resources' page.
The meal planner is designed in a dry erasable format that can be reused every day. It provides colored spaces to write down the foods to be eaten for the day, in a six meal format. The colors correspond to the four food groups: fruit & vegetables, milk & alternatives, grains and meat & alternatives.
The design of The Eater's Choice Daily Meal Planner is meant to support the user and put them in control of the food choices and healthy weight management. In the long term it will help establish good eating habits, hopefully for a lifetime! For those who are overweight it will surely lead to a healthy a healthy weight loss too!