It’s hard eating sometimes, as the sensory preferences of autism can make it difficult to eat a family meal or to enjoy brunch with friends. Being over-sensitive or under-sensitive to foods and drinks sometimes ruins the eating experience. Whilst eating isn’t always a social event, often it is. The following are my best tips to eat healthily as an autistic child or adult. I’m not an expert at all, but with the personal lived experience I understand and know what it’s like. Often you’re your own expert if you have the insight. But it’s OK to reach out and get help. Let’s get into the strategies….

  • Choose foods or drinks that are safe for you or are considered your favourites. This ensures you eat to stay alive and also you get to eat and have your favourite things. For example, one of my favourite things is cheese. It’s not the healthiest so I try not to have too much of it but sometimes I can’t help myself. When I have cheese in my diet for the day I try to make sure I have a serve of vegetables or greens so I’m not just eating a diet rich in fat as scientifically speaking this can cause high cholesterol.
  • Go to social food events that you feel comfortable going to. It might be a night in or a night out. It really shouldn’t matter long as you’re feeling like yourself. If having food in a social situation causes too much anxiety, try snacks or drinks instead or just don’t have food at all.
  • Make sure you’re getting all the major food groups. This is really hard, but one of the ways to go about it is to download or have a copy of what a healthy eating food pyramid looks like. Or even following social media accounts that talk about healthy eating especially for autistic people. It depends on what you want to do but for this point, all I wanted to say is make sure you look after yourself and approach food in your own way, and if you have doubts or concerns then talk to a trusted person or professional.
  • It’s good to be adventurous and try new tastes, textures, and colours but of course, it’s reasonable to assume that many people will find this hard especially if they have safe foods and drinks. If you’re feeling up to it it’s good to do so, and if you don’t want to then that’s okay as well. It’s also okay to change your mind.
  • If you have concerns about eating or drinking try chatting with some trusted people like your friends, counsellor or maybe even your doctor. Sometimes it’s good to get another perspective or advice and if things are getting harder for you and you feel you’re heading down the road of a pre-eating disorder or pre-disordered eating situation, seek support from a qualified practitioner. 

Do you use any of these tips? Or do you have another strategy you’d like to share?

– Suzanna Poredos

A List Socialite

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