Free Resource Sheets to Teach Healthy Eating Habits


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DINA ROSE, PhD is a sociologist, parent educator and feeding expert empowering parents to raise kids who eat right.

Dinner Together Building Healthy Families One Meal at a Time.

Food Politics Marion Nestle's intelligent take on the politics of food and nutrition.

Fooducate Like Having a Dietician on Speed dial.

Hoboken Family Alliance A terrific resource for people living in the great city of Hoboken, NJ.

The Lunch Tray Everything you need to know about improving school lunches.

Parent Hacks Forehead-Smackingly Smart Tips

Raise Healthy Eaters One of the best blogs (other than my own) for learning to raise healthy eaters.

Real Mom Nutrition Tales from the Trenches. Advice for the Real World. From a mom-nutritionist who knows!

Stay and Play The best indoor playspace on the East Coast. Oh yeah, and it happens to be owned by my brother.

weelicious Great Recipes for Kids 

« Pretzels vs. Chips | Main | The Girl Scouts' Answer to Fruits and Vegetables: Mango Crèmes »

Kids Eats Q&A: Autism & Picky Eating

I've gotten a lot of questions over the years about how to teach autistic children to eat right.

I am not an expert on autism. Nor am I an expert on raising special needs children. (Remember, I'm a sociologist.) However, I have worked with, and presented workshops to, parents of children who have special needs.

This is what I know for sure: autistic children (and children who are on the autistim spectrum) have the same range of eating issues as children who aren't.

Their eating issues are sometimes more extreme (which makes them more challenging). The problems are almost always more obvious. (So they are easier to identify.)

If you have a feeding issue with your child:

1) Always make sure there is not a medical issue causing the feeding problem

Read My Child Only Eats Cheerios and Puffs: When to Seek Medical Help.

2) Create a strong feeding structure which makes feeding decisions predictable.

This will transfer your child's need for routine from knowing exactly what food she will eat to knowing exactly how eating decisions are made. Remember, children don't like it when decisions feel arbitrary.

Read The BIG Fix and You Can't Make Me Eat It.

3) Communicate your feeding goals CLEARLY

Surprises are your enemy. If new foods is your goal then make sure that you tell your child that you would like him to learn how to be comfortable tasting new foods.Then, reassure him that you'll never make him eat anything he doesn't want to eat.

Read Surprise! Surprise! and Why Some Kids Should Spit.

4) Break your goal down into the smallest, doable steps you can imagine

I once talked to a woman who was having trouble moving her son off of a feeding tube because he was resistant to the idea of putting food in his mouth.

Want to know the first step? Getting him used to being in the presence of a plate of food. That's right. This boy needed to feel comfortable and SAFE around a plate of food so we practiced sitting at the table, first with an empty plate, then with plate with some food.

Read Nix YOUR Negativity.

5) Constantly look for and eliminate PRESSURE

One way to do this is to SHARE control. One woman's child had agreed, at least in concept, to eat ice cream with blueberries instead of just plain ice cream. This was a big step.

We eliminated pressure by eliminating the parent/child interactions. We put the prepared ice cream in the refrigerator (she didn't want the blueberries to be frozen) and the child ate the ice cream when she was ready. 

Read The Pressure-Cooker Problem.

Two books I recommend:

Just Take a Bite: Easy, Effective Answers to Food Aversions and Eating Challenges!




Food Chaining: The Proven 6-Step Plan to Stop Picky Eating, Solve Feeding Problems, and Expand Your Child's Diet



~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~

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