Diet Chart for Autistic Children
Are you confused as to what foods to give your child?
You as a parent constantly think of what to prepare for breakfast, lunch and dinner, not to forget the snacks in between. Every mom wants easy recipes and a diet chart to help with ASD symptoms, accepted or safe foods by picky eaters, foods for good gut health, and not to forget healthier tasty alternatives.
Do you wonder if your child needs supplements?
Autism Spectrum Disorders is a spectrum of symptoms that varies with environmental factors (based on the place you live), genetics, nutritional deficiencies, eating difficulties and poor food habits, from one child to another. While no specific diet has been proven to treat or cure autism, certain dietary strategies may help manage symptoms and support the child’s overall development.
When it comes to a diet for an autistic child, it’s important to focus on providing a balanced and nutritious meal plan that supports their overall health and well-being.
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Here are some general guidelines to consider:
Balanced diet and variety:
Your child may eat a few foods but expanding their diet during childhood prevents nutritional deficiencies (if not corrected are linked to worsening ASD symptoms) making it important to include nutrient-dense foods. Your child’s plate should have a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. It should also include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish, legumes, nuts, and seeds throughout the day.
Maintaining intake of Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish (such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines), walnuts, chia seeds, and flax seeds, are believed to support brain health. Including these foods in your child’s diet may be beneficial and brain protective.
Limited Processed Foods:
Minimize the consumption of processed foods, sugary snacks, and beverages. These foods can negatively affect overall health and may contribute to behavioural issues like irritability and aggression.
Some autistic individuals may have sensitivities or allergies to certain foods. Monitor your child’s reactions to different foods by maintaining a food diary. Consult with a healthcare professional if you suspect any sensitivities or allergies.
Gluten and Casein:
Some parents choose to try a gluten-free and casein-free (GFCF) diet for their autistic child. This diet involves eliminating gluten-containing grains (wheat, barley, rye) and casein (found in dairy products). While there is limited scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of this diet, some parents describe improvements in behaviour and digestive issues. If you decide to try a GFCF diet, it’s advisable to work with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to ensure adequate nutrition.
Ensure your child drinks enough water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Limit the intake of sugary drinks and encourage water as the primary beverage. It helps prevent the most common symptom which is constipation.
Your child’s needs:
Every child is unique, and what works for one child may not work for another. Pay attention to your child’s specific needs. Remember, it’s crucial to involve healthcare professionals, such as paediatricians and registered dietitians, to guide you in developing an appropriate diet plan for your autistic child. They can help ensure that your child’s nutritional needs are met while considering any specific dietary requirements or sensitivities they may have.
You may wonder where the sample diet chart is. What if I told you that a generalized diet chart will never show results rather a personalized diet modified specifically to the symptoms of your child can show results? Unfortunately, it takes 3-6 months to see the impact diet has on your child and many parents give up trying after just one consultation. When all a parent needs is support and help with diet recommendations for at least 3 months.
The reason a Dietitian can not provide a sample diet chart is because the diet in ASD is not the same for all children and diet charts vary with age, symptoms, gut health, pickiness, sensory processing issues and many other factors.
Here is what to expect from a consultation with a pediatric dietitian with experience treating children with ASD.
Consultation and follow-ups include:
Assess the growth of the child
Ways to avoid environmental toxins like Heavy metals, fertilizers, food additives, etc.
and many more.
So the takeaway of this article is that “your child is unique and so is their diet therapy”. Ensure that the general tips mentioned above are followed, which can help improve many of their symptoms. But if you still notice a lot of symptoms induced by poor diet and poor eating habits. You can always consult for comprehensive diet counselling. Contact the admin to book a session and I will help you.
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