Some of the children on the spectrum have sensory issues and could not tolerate certain textures or smells. As we pick our battles in their development, we sometimes give in to make food specially for our children.
However, in a long term, children sometimes end up eating only a handful of food and we start worrying about their nutrition.
Some parents could still add different protein powder or disguise food in blended form. One dedicated grandmother told me that she would make fresh soup with different vegetables and meat and blend it for her grandson. However, when you really think about it, who would make all these efforts for our children when we are gone?
We were warned early about the food problem. So we started with hiding a piece of carrot under food that my child would eat when we fed him. It was a very tiny piece of carrot that he would not be able to spit out in that one tiny bite. Gradually, we increased the size of the carrot bite, and add other different vegetables.
Once when my child got used the texture, he started to tolerate different foods.
Then when he is older, we started a house rule: “One bite.” Children are asked to try one bite of food at the dinner table. If they don’t like it, we won’t force them, as it is important for them to be able to say no. However, most of the time, they end up liking the new food and would finish their portions.
My child still has a limited selection of diet and I would love him to eat more vegetables. But after all these years (and it is a very long journey), he is one of the best eaters that I have known. As he is growing older, I am also surprised to find that he is willing to try new food even without us asking.
It all started with “one bite”.