Why feeding an autistic child a limited diet is hurting them?
As I watch other autistic families feed their autistic children with limited diets, I often think back when my son was a picky eater. I remember feeling so bad that he would not eat. He only had a few items that he would consume and little did I know, they were all bad for him. The only food he would eat was mainly from fast-food chains. He would eat french fries, chicken nuggets, and he loved chocolate milk. I was so afraid that he would not grow so I continued to feed him only what he would eat. Little did I know, I was hurting him and not helping him. After seeing a functional medicine doctor, we discovered that the very foods he would eat, he was sensitive to. The limited food items that I was feeding hime was actuatlly making him sicker and SICKER.
Over the past years, I see this mistake happen over and over in autistic families. Many kids are not eating a large variety of foods. Many of them have underlying issues which is why they refuse to eat different foods. Gastrointestinal issues, food allergies and/or sensitivities, are just a few of the common issues autistic kids share. Parents are lost and do not realize feeding autistic kids such a limited diet could cause major issues in the long run.
After removing all of the bad processed foods and feeding my son a more nutritious diet, he started to crave the good foods and no longer wanted to eat the bad. I no longer have to deal with a limited diet, he eats almost anything I put in front of him because the food I am giving him no longer makes him sick.
Feeding your kid this limited diet has a trickle-down effect and will only lead to living a poor quality of life in the long run. I know feeding an already picky autistic child healthier foods is a challenge; however, the best thing you can do is try to get creative and introduce a larger variety of foods that will provide more nutrients.
Below I have identified the top 3 reasons why feeding an autistic child a limited diet is hurting them:
#1 No Nutrients
This has to be my top reason why I feel you should not feed your child only junk food he or she will eat. It provides no nutritional value and if the body has no nutrients, it can no longer function properly. This is why so many kids on the spectrum have different symptoms from mild to severe. For the body to use food for energy, you have to feed it the food that it can use and not the processed food it doesn’t know what to do with. When you start to feed the body what it needs, it can function normally.
#2 Behavior issues
Many behavior issues are directly related to the food we feed our children. Those with autism are no different and some will present behavior issues when fed foods that are not nutrient-dense. They already have a compromised immune system and adding more junk food just makes things a lot worse.
#3 Poor Quality of Life
This is very important to me because continuing to feed your child foods that provide no nutritional value can affect your entire family’s quality of life. That’s right, food can affect your quality of life. Continuing to feed your autistic kid processed junk will continue to keep them down and not able to function long term.
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