Food Issues | Autism PDD


I am at my wits end trying to get Lachlan to eat.

His diet has always been very narrow but it's even worse these past few months. It seems he will only eat French Fries (why are they never a problem?), sandwiches with vegemite or nutella, Toast with the same and plain yogurt. Thats it except for chocolate, potato chips.

Has anyone got any ideas before I go totally insane?


While you're waiting for replies to tick in, you might want to check this similar question on our forum, which got quite a lot of replies: p;KW=extreme+food+refusal&PN=0&TPN=2

This brochure might help:  "Understanding and Managing Extreme Food Refusal in Toddlers." .3.pdf

Here's an article from the Indiana Resource Center for Autism.  It's called "Mealtime and Children on the Autism Spectrum:  Beyond Picky, Fussy and Fads."

Good luck with everything.  I hope someone has the answers you're looking for.

Ya my parents had a very difficult time gettin me to eat when i was young because like stated above i only would eat certain things. As a result i was very skinny and today remain that way, much more then the average person. When I got older tho i began to eat more stuff, or at least try new things before I relized i liked them. I know i was afriad to try new things because i only liked the stuff i was used to and hated everything else. Eventually my parents gave up, deciding that if i wanted to eat i would. maby you can introduce new foods, just a little bit at a time using some kind of rewards system, otherwise your kid will end up a twig like me. I really wish my parents woulda done more to make me eat i need a little more meat.

This is a tough area for many. We jsut gradually (and I mean gradually) tried to change things up a bit and kept offering new foods. Like adding somthing else to the toast. My son will eat toast with peanut butter, melted ham and cheese, etc. Also, instead of regular juice he drinks V8 Splash or fusion. We now added veges under the cheese of pizza and in pasta sause. A year ago, he was quite limited and has made some improvements over time. He had a lot of food texture issues, so we took that in to consideration and try to find balance by offering things in forms he can tolerate. Not sure if that helps at all.

I was just going to post this same topic today, you read my mind I've been struggling with ds to eat anything other than pop-tarts and the occassional chicken nuggets from McDonalds, that has been it for the past three weeks, I give him a multi-vitamine but he's losing weight and he has aways been skinny so now hes looking like he never eats. I'm scared and frusrated this is the worst he has been with food, and I can't figure out why, I hope others can help us, I know how it is, I hope for all of us it gets better.

Add a twist in our case:  Her pickiness is situational!  And MUCH worse at HOME.

She actually will eat vegetables if her parents are not there to see it!

Ohh ya and dont bother taking them to the dr.s they did not do anything for my parents when i was young, of course this was 17 years ago but i doubt they have developed a medication that will make autistic kids wanna eat and try new things. I never hid eating specific foods from my parents, but often when they were eating i would not, i cant remember ever feeling hungry alot, and if i was it would be the same things, spagetti, pizza, oatmeal, and sandwithces. That was most of my diet when i was little. I never had any health problems my parents thought their was something seriously wrong cause i was so damn skinny the dr told them that ill eat when i want and otherwise will be fine. Im healthy but wish i could gain weight even to this day. Definatly try introducing new foods slowly or at least reward your kids to give them an incentive to try new foods often i did not like the texture for whatever reason but if i was rewarded with something i did like afterwards i would like to think i woulda eaten more, maby even liked some of the 'new' food to have a more balanced diet.

woodsman, and everyone else  -- I will let you in on a secret:  In medical school, NUTRITION is an elective course.  NOBODY takes it.  I ahve worked in 2 medical schools now and it is the same in both.

It seems to me peds in particular are casual and cavalier about kid diets, b/c so many parents worry about it!  But sometimes, it IS founded worrying.

Norway Mom - Thanks so much for the links - I missed the previous posts.

The links are great too - great reading.


With Adrien he will sometimes try new food with me, but almost never with his mommy. You may try having a friend or family member who your angle trusts to offer a new food here and there while you happen to scoot out of the room. It seems to be easier for slight push when it is not the mom.


Ah, this is a rough topic for us.  My son's diet is still extremely limited, but the school district helped me out this last semester with the peer pressure thing - he "ate" breakfast and lunch with peers.  That worked great for trying new things (but not actually consuming enough to consider a meal), but I still worry so much about my little beanpole of a boy.  Fortunately he likes Pediasure drinks (expensive though!).  I add cream or half and half to it to fatten it up too.  It's probably a nutritionist's nightmare, but at least I know he's getting the calories and fat. 

woodsman's comment reminded me of something.  My 5 year old is really skinny, and lately I've been thinking "has he EVER said he was hungry?"  I don't know if he's ever taken the initiative to ask for food.  Most times when I ask him to come and eat, he ignores it and/or gets mad.  He's always been a much pickier eater than my older son (the one who has the diagnosis).


The current issue of the Sensory Processing Disorder Companion is about picky eating.  Excellent article, based on the book "Just Take a Bite" which they recommend very highly.  There are also links to tips and resources at the SPD website. 

One of the main points is that there are picky eaters, and there are resistant eaters.  Two and 3 year olds go through a picky phase, and picky eaters should outgrow it by age 5.  A resistant eater has fear, discomfort and anxiety, is basically a dysfunctional eater and could benefit from help from an OT, feeding specialist, or other professional.

Here's the link to the newsletter: -picky-eaters-and-resistant-eaters.html

I also was reading about picky eating in the book "Raising a Sensory Smart Child" (I recommend it).  They mentioned that the sound and feel of metal utensils can contribute to picky eating.  If your child is mostly eating finger foods, that might be a tip off.  You can try switching to plastic utensils or using tongs (Zoo Sticks).

Good luck with everything.


Ali mostly eats because we feed mom and I have tried getting her to take bites on her own....but she really eats very little on her own.  When she starts school in September I am afraid she will get super thin.....  Ali ONLY eats finger foods on her own, she NEVER takes bites of anything other then fresh baby carrots, and she gets very, very upset about eating any meat.  She also is weight/body conscious and worries about getting fat. 

savannah eats fine, although just lately she has been getting picky and playing with it more then she is eating it...anyone have any advice on getting her to use a fork? or even a spoon right now she shovels everything in.


You never loose by consulting a nutritionist and having some blood work done! I never would've though my son Moses had anemia. He is such a active child and dont stops until he is sleeping and of couse in school he is an angel. His physical was 2 weeks ago and the blood showed he had low iron. He drink a lot of milk still (attached to bottle)


My daughter won't eat supper food for the most part. I tried this trick that has kind of worked *too* well.  I'd say "You can eat five pieces of chicken, and then you can leave".

So she eats five pieces (if we're lucky).

And she leaves.

And she won't eat anything else. Don't try to get her to eat 5 pieces of vegtables or 10 pieces of chicken.

Sometimes she'll see her sister eat something. That's been a BIG help. If Fran tries something new, there's a chance Clarissa will want it.

I'm sure there's a sensory issue because she'll eat fish fairly easily, but not chicken or beef, and vegetables very rarely. She likes food that is soft, although she's started eating pretzels, which was somewhat welcome, but I'd prefer she'd eat something else.


Our kids go through these stages of not eating or getting attached to certain type of foods. This is totally normal. But if you see it sticks for a while. I recommend you give him some multivitamins. Talk to a nutritionist.  My son was diagnosed with low iron due to his diet. He only eats ceratin things and everyday same thing basically or almost. Now he is taking iron liquid 2 times a day. Good point Moses, I worry that savannah is actually getting all the vitamins that she needs. "NT" daughter is by far the Pickier of the Two. I wonder about her sometimes, She was drug exposed in the womb, and although she seems normal in most respects, she has her moments where I wonder if all is right with her.