Tips and Approaches
There are some general tips that you can follow in front of eating problems.
Seek professional help
Never hesitate to consult a professional as soon as you see it necessary. Situations where a professional would help include gaining weight rapidly and weight loss. In that case, a dietitian could also help to assess the problem and potential solutions. It could happen to any child who is a picky eater and has an unbalanced diet.
It’s better to go to a professional even if it wasn’t necessary than not to go and continue some harm that may have irreversible consequences.
Keep a diary
You can keep a diary of what your child eats daily. Don’t record just the name of the food, but also anything that you find helpful, such as the type, color, texture, and how long it took them to finish it. Include those points that your child struggles with the most. After a few weeks, you will probably find there are patterns and consistencies in their food preference. It will not only help you understand your child but also a health care professional if you ever decide to consult one.
If you find your child likes crunchy foods, for example, include roasted nuts, chickpeas, or chicken wings in your meals.
Find out what motivates your child
Kids tend to be fond of at least one cartoon or movie, and usually have a favorite topic or character. For example, if your child loves the Lion King, find videos or cartoons where lions or other animals try new kinds of foods. You can use this strategy for other topics, such as making friends.
Visuals are a great tool for autistic children. They allow transmitting schedules and pictures without language, which makes them confused. For example, you can make a visual schedule of dishes that you would like your time to finish. You can also turn it into a game where your child matches real food to a picture and then has to take a bite when the match is found.
Introduce new food gradually
The way you present new foods has a direct influence on your child’s eating habits. The best way is to introduce new foods gradually. For example, you can put the new food on your plate first and show it to your child. If he seems okay with seeing the food, you can place a piece of it on their plate. Try not to force them to do anything. Instead, gradually encourage the child to get closer to the food. For example, they could start by just licking it or taking a small bite. A general rule to follow is sight, touch, smell, and taste. Follow your child for this process. If they are more tolerant of new foods, you don’t need to do all the steps described.