Children with autism have more gastrointestinal problems than other children, making mealtime problematic. A child with autism’s diet that works with their unique symptoms can significantly improve their well-being and reduce some of the common stomach issues that they face. To create the best meals for your child, a food and nutrition program can teach you which foods will benefit your child the most and which foods you should avoid.
At Camp Worth, we help teen boys and girls aged eleven to seventeen whose diet impedes their health. Our medical team will evaluate your child’s unique condition to understand their needs and use that information to create an effective program to benefit their development. This will include helping parents understand autism and what it will take to have a safe and supportive home environment. If you would like help with your autistic child’s diet, call Camp Worth at 855.915.2545 today or contact us online for more information about our food and nutrition program.
Understanding Autism and Nutrition
Children with autism can be very picky eaters. They tend to stick to carb-heavy foods or foods that are only in a certain shape, color, or texture. Parents can unwittingly create unhealthy eating habits to stop bad behavior at the dinner table and cause a harmful habit to form about eating. Unhealthy eating habits can lead to calcium, fiber, vitamin D, E, B12, and iron deficiencies.
Some health problems that a poor diet can lead to as your child with autism gets older include:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
- Lack of appetite
At Camp Worth, our food and nutrition program gives parents the knowledge they need to adjust their child with autism’s diet to improve their health and create coping skills for trying new foods. These techniques will make mealtimes more pleasant and greatly improve the health and well-being of your child.
Benefits of Monitoring Your Autistic Child’s Diet
Mealtimes can be especially difficult for children with autism who are not used to eating different foods. Sometimes it is simply the color or shape of the food that they do not like.
Some tips for your autistic child’s diet include:
- Stick to a consistent time for all meals – Having meals at different times of the day can cause a lot of stress for children living with autism. It will benefit them to have meals at the same time every day with everyone sitting in the same seat.
- Get your child involved with planning and preparing the meals – This can help teach them about nutrition and is a great way to introduce new foods. Make a game out of exploring new foods for them to get used to different shapes, textures, colors, and shapes.
- Limit distractions – If your child is sensitive to light or sound, make sure to have your meals in a quiet space to limit distractions. You can also use visual aids in the room, so they know this is where they eat and not play.
- One new food at a time – When introducing new foods, do so one at a time. You don’t want to overwhelm their senses with too many new things at once. You can introduce new foods every few months and include games or social stories to prepare them for trying something new.
- Change takes time – Be patient with your child as you make changes to their diet. Children with autism are capable of change when you work with them consistently and reward their good behavior.
Rely on Camp Worth for Autism and Nutrition Support
At Camp Worth, we understand how difficult mealtimes can be when you want your child to eat healthily, but they insist on only eating specific foods. Our food and nutrition program gives teens new skills and coping techniques for mealtime to benefit their health and lead a more independent life. If mealtimes are particularly difficult for you and your teen living with autism, reach out to Camp Worth online or call 855.915.2545 today for more information about our food and nutrition program.