Garbage in, garbage out. How we nourish our body extends to our mind and spirit.
With thanks to our parenting support group, the hubby and I attended a webinar with a nutritionist that works with individuals with FASD.
Our 8.5 year old T is characteristically a picky eater – or as I learned through this webinar, a neurodiverse-appropriate term is “selective eater.”
The nutritionist summarized a few factors that affect eating habits for individuals with FASD – and I bolded the traits we see in T:
- Sensory integration with food
- Selective eating
- Oral – poor swallowing or oral aversion
- Fine and gross motor challenges with eating
- Eating in excess is called Hyperphagia
- Not eating enough
- Not finishing meals
- Medication can increase or decrease appetite
The nutritionist also reviewed general healthy diet guidelines:
- Eat rainbow of colours for fiber, nutrients and antioxidants
- Balanced meal of fiber, fat and protein
- Focus on whole, unprocessed foods
- Avoid additives, preservatives, food dyes, sugar
- Blood sugar crashes can be the reason for anger and behaviours
- Keep hydrating
Then she provided tips for caregivers:
- Keep a food journal
- Allow time to finish meals and allow messiness if it helps
- Avoid distraction during mealtimes
- Have emergency snacks to prevent blood sugar crashes
- Include children in meal planning
- Explore different ways to prepare food
- Eating out
- Foods high in omega 3, choline; antioxidant rich foods
- Emergency snacks
T has come a long way with his nutritional habits.
A few months ago, out of the blue, he decided he wanted to eat oatmeal for breakfast, which we pair with yogurt then his multivitamins.
This is a huge win as it replaced his sugary cereal.
Lunch and dinner can still be a struggle. We often cycle through the same 3-4 starch rich meals – but we try not to stress about it. If he wants pancakes for dinner, pancakes it is.
Fruit is a staple but veggies are avoided – even cussed at. 🤣
Multivitamins have been helpful and we’ve been giving him “Smarty Pants” gummies, which have choline, for a few years now – along with a separate Vitamin D gummy.
Meat is a challenge, but he gets protein through yogurt, milk and cheese – and McDonald’s chicken nuggets and hamburgers and Taco Bell if you consider that meat! 🤣
Recently, T wanted to try BBQ burgers and ate two meaty prime rib burgers from the supermarket – PC brand is the best. This was a huge win.
As the person who does the groceries, I’ve cut out sugary snacks, like Oreos, as well as juice, weaning T off them slowly, and that’s a win.
We recently took away the tablet during mealtimes so T can focus on his meal – and heaven forbid, socialize with us too. 😆
Perhaps an important ingredient is doing our best to role model healthy eating habits.
The hubby and I have been transparent with T about our health journey – and we openly celebrate the incremental wins together.
Since starting his diet in January, the hubby has reached 50% of his weight loss goal – and T tells the hubby he’s sad he won’t be able to cuddle with him when he’s not fat anymore. 🤣
I also have ongoing conversations with T about the importance of exercise – and why gym is part of my ongoing routine.
Slowly but surely, T will get where he needs to be.
As T’s fortune cookie from our recent Fathers Day lunch at Asian Legend – pictured at top – said: “You will make many changes before settling down happily.”