This blog is a way of sharing the information and resources that have helped me to recover my son Roo from an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What I have learned is to view our symptoms as the results of underlying biological cause, which can be identified and healed. I say "our symptoms" because I also have a neuro-immune disorder called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

And, of course, I am not a doctor (although I have been known to impersonate one while doing imaginative play with my son)- this is just our story and information that has been helpful or interesting to us. I hope it is helpful and interesting to you!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Making Food Fun

When beginning a restrictive diet, it can be easy to feel deprived and unenthusiastic about the new foods.  This is especially true with children who might find the transition especially difficult.  This tends to get easier as you adjust to eating the new way and become familiar with what works on the new diet.  People often experience an actual change in their tastes after changing what they eat.  In the meantime, it can be helpful to have ways to make eating the new foods interesting and fun.  Here are some ideas that have worked for us and for our friends.

Eat the food in an interesting location.  This could be a picnic in a favorite place, a "tea party" on the living room floor, eating inside a blanket fort, or outside on the porch.  It can help to find ways to de-emphasize food as the central focus during a meal.  You can eat by candlelight or play a game while you eat.

Food can be served in creative ways that make it more appealing.  Kids often like finger foods and dipping things.  Salads and lettuce wrap sandwiches can be presented as a "serve yourself" bar.  This can also work well with yogurt and toppings, or topping your own pizzas.  Sometimes simple foods can be "jazzed up" with cute gimmicks, such as these "watermelon fangs" or this "fruity solar system".

Here are more ideas:

Fruit rainbows
Fruit "magic wands"
How to make a watermelon keg (fill with whatever drink you want)
Tangerine pumpkins and banana ghosts
Grape caterpillars
Fruit "sushi"
Fruit and veggie platters inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar
More fruit and veggie platter ideas
Veggie skeleton
Shaped pancakes (instructions here)
Heart-shaped pizza
(great for presenting a new pizza type, such as a grain-free crust or cheeseless pizza)
Meatball eyeballs
Potato roses
How to cut a spiral potato
-Use fun dishes or utensils.  Let the kids drink out of wine glasses, or use fancy tea cups.  There are all sorts of fun and colorful dishes.  The thrift store can be a great place to pick up some fun new dishes or glasses.  A new lunchbox can also help.  Bento boxes are a great idea and can accommodate a lot of food variations.  Bento also often involves making the food appear fun and interesting and there are a lot of supplies available.  You can also search pinterest or other sources for ideas on how to prep bento boxes.

More ideas:

Packing lunches in mason jars is another fun way to make a meal more interesting.
Bake cakes or breads in fun shaped pans such as these on Amazon
Make drinks or even plain water more interesting with fun-shaped ice cube trays (or here), or..
Freeze juice in these trays for fun mini popsicles
Muffins and cupcakes can be baked in fun liners
(snacks such as raisins or trail mix can also be served in the liners)
Use homemade food coloring to make foods fun colors