In our house we call summer the ‘hunger games’, parents, can you relate? But we also want to mindful of what our kids are eating, especially when they are eating frequently. To set our kids up for optimal health and growth, we want to make sure what they are eating is nutrient dense and not filled with chemicals, processed ingredients and tons of sugar. For us, that starts with veggies! Red, yellow or orange peppers, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, and celery are pretty common place on our plates and in our veggie trays. As a matter of fact, my kids usually cut veggies and fruits for a daily veggie tray. Then, they always have healthy snacking options. We add in some nuts (depending on diet and sensitivity) like pistachios, walnuts, or almonds. Sometimes I saute pumpkin or sunflower seeds in coconut oil and salt. Olives and real, fermented pickles for probiotic gut support are nice additions too.
Beyond veggies we usually do a fruit – low sugar versions if we are dealing with candida overgrowth. Good options there are berries (organic because of the pesticides used) as well as pears. But, if yeast is not an issue, other fruits are great too.
We always have a protein source but that does not always mean meat. Sometimes that means a nut or seed butter spread – find versions without added sugars! It could be hard boiled eggs, but because we do stay grain free, we don’t do too many legumes or beans but sometimes that is a nice option for us.
And yes, we do have a starch too, I do prefer grain free options like the Siete brand chip I feature in this video. But, if you can tolerate potatoes, we do have organic potato chips – find a variety that does not use Canola oil for added health benefits, Canola is not an oil I recommend. Lentil chips, bean chips, even cassava chips can be nice GFCF alternatives that do not involve corn.
My biggest tip is to get your child invested in their food prep. Kids love the empowerment, and this means kids with autism too!! Yes, it might get messier than you like or they may need some hand over hand support but a child that actively participates in their food experience is more likely to try something. And for some kids, that is a huge accomplishment. Guide them to those nutrient dense veggies but it does not have to mean cutting broccoli into trees or making cookie cutter shapes out of apples. Just introduce lots of textures, flavors and colors and give them the opportunity to try something new. It will pay off in their health when they are old enough to start choosing on their own. To see what a lunch looks like in our house, check out the video below.
GFCF, gluten free, paleo, grain free, autism, autism recovery, biomedical treatments for autism, autoimmune paleo, AIP, inflammation