When Eating Limitations Affect the Whole Family

DietsInReview Guest Blogger Jean is a work-at-home mom to three boys, ages 3, 5, and 7. She spends a lot of her time finding creative ways to parent and teach them, especially her 5-year-old, who has autism. Jean writes as Stimey on her personal blog, Stimeyland. There she writes about her kids, her work, autism, and her own struggle to find a healthy way of being.

Guest Blogger: Jean Stimey

Moms are always talking about how hard it is to lose weight when they have kids. And I agree. I find it incredibly difficult to cook a healthy dinner that my whole family will eat. Two of my kids are decent eaters, but Jack, my autistic son, is not.

I can count on one hand the number of times he’s eaten vegetables in the past four years and still have enough fingers left over to count the number of times he’s eaten fruit. He won’t eat meat unless it is in lunch meat or chicken nugget form, and strongly prefers only cheese, bread, and french fries. Those foods, last I checked, do not pave the way to weight loss.

Jack’s preference for these foods has to do, at least in part, to his autism and his reliance on routine and preference for certain textures, not to mention his distaste for new things. My other kids may be resistant to trying something new, but in the end they often will. Jack will not.

kids-hate-vegetablesMy challenge is to create meals that will be healthy for all of us, without letting Jack starve. So I add rolls and butter to dinner, or cook a tray of french fries to go along with the chicken. And instead of carrots, why don’t I put slices of cheese on the table?

And as long as they’re there, why don’t I go ahead and have a few bites?

My solution has been to try to offer healthy foods to the whole family, while providing enough sustenance so Jack won’t be too hungry at night. I also try to remember that it is just as much of a waste of food to eat things I am not hungry for as it is to throw it away. If I eat it, it just ends up as fat in my body as opposed to trash in the garbage.

Everybody has limitations when it comes to their diets. The hard part is figuring how to work around those limitations while building a healthy diet.

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