Hello, I’m Val, mother to Jessica, an adult who has multiple disabilities including autism and blindness. Jess lives at home with me and requires assistance with all of her activities of daily living. A follower asked the question, how did we get Jess to eat a variety of foods like she does now?
Sometimes, it doesn’t seem to us that Jess eats a variety of foods
Upon reflection, in fact she does eat variety, she just doesn’t prefer it. Left to her own preferences, she would eat chicken tenders or nuggets every day. For a side, she would choose hash browns or tater tot, every day. This is an ongoing challenge for us in terms of helping her to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
However, she will eat a variety of foods when chicken tenders and nuggets are not available. We seldom every have nuggets or tenders with home cooked meals.
How did we get to that point of her eating a variety of home cooked foods?
I would like to think that a large part of it stems from heritage and family tradition. Some of it is from expectation. In some instances, it was a gradual process of eating something that is the ‘flavor’ that we are going to introduce, but having that flavor connected to a texture that she if familiar with. In our case, that texture is rice. Jess will eat rice of almost any flavor.
I also have a strategy for getting her to try new things
The key is for me to keep her texture preferences in mind. For multiple times in a row, I will have her try something that I know she will like. It builds trust. Then another time, I can introduce something that I’m not sure about, and she will try it. Often she’s reluctant, but I can usually get her to taste it.
There are times that I cook entrees to which she has a serious aversion
Those are the times I am cooking something special for another person. On those occasions, I never try to force her to eat that food. Chicken Pot Pie for example. She hates chicken pot pie and nearly gags just smelling it.
Our biggest struggle comes with eating out
If Jess finds out that there are chicken tenders or nuggets on the menu, well, we can forget getting her to have an alternative. Unless we establish ahead of time that a condition of going out is that she has to choose something else. That will work sometimes because, like the rest of us, she loves eating out. Sometimes we negotiate and she will get tenders and a couple of veggies.
Not always, though. We recently went to Walt Disney World and decided ahead of time that we were not going to have any food battles. She ate chicken nuggets/tenders every day for about 10 days. (see our travel pics on instagram @dostuffgoplaces)
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