April 11, 2012
By Autism Society
In celebration of its partnership with Potandon Produce, the Autism Society will share an autism diet and nutrition fact each week throughout April. It is the hope of the Autism Society and Potandon that we can work together to empower you to make the best decisions as they relate to diet for yourself or a loved one with autism. Please note that these tips are meant to be informational. Before making any dietary changes, you should consult a physician. The Autism Society does not endorse any specific form of treatment (See the Options Policy).
Tips were republished from the Autism Advocate article, Autism Diets and Nutrition: Providing Health Benefits for Many Children with ASD. You can read the full article here.
Is your child a picky eater? Due to sensory issues, many children on the autism spectrum dislike the tastes and textures of certain foods; therefore, nutrient deficiencies are common. Specific nutrients are required for complex biochemical processes, and nutrients can only be digested and absorbed through food and supplementation when the GI tract is functioning well. In addition to boosting digestion, it is important to get a wide variety of nutrients through foods. Some ways to boost nutrient intake include:
- Increase the quality and digestibility of food. Boost the amount of nutrient-dense foods, such as vegetables, in the diet. For ideas on increasing variety, see the list of nutrient-dense foods below. Soaking and fermenting grains increases digestibility.
- Sneak in vegetables for picky eaters. Pureeing organic vegetables and adding them to meatballs, smoothies, pancakes, muffins and sauces is a great way to disguise them. Try juicing to get concentrated nutrients that are easy to digest—making ice pops from organic juices or smoothies is a good way to serve nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits to kids.
- Add supplementation. It can be difficult for a child with autism to get the required therapeutic levels of nutrients through food. Adding vitamins, minerals, fatty acids or amino acids can be helpful in boosting needed nutrients. Introducing enzymes that aid with digestion of foods and probiotics can supply beneficial bacteria. Calcium supplementation is particularly important when dairy is removed from the diet.
Matthews, Julie. "Autism Diets and Nutrition: Providing Health Benefits for Many Children with ASD." Autism Advocate Second Edition 2010 (2010).
Topics:Living with Autism
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