I made the mistake of making homemade macaroni and cheese. I know what you’re thinking, how could that be a mistake? Don’t worry, I make a really good Mac n cheese- the secret, a squirt of yellow mustard. I know that sounds weird, but back when mr. L was still accepting sippy cups he could tell if a squirt had been left out.
Anyways, mr. L has always had a limited palate and at one time homemade mac and chocolate milk (had to be made with Hershey chocolate syrup) were some of the few things he would touch. Boxed macaroni was an insult.
Well at some point he switched. Now it’s boxed craft. In fact it’s probably been almost a year since I’ve made the coveted cheesed pasta but I decided, what the heck it sounded good paired with pulled pork and sliced mango.
Dear husband loved it, mr. C was quickly convinced and even little miss A decided it wasn’t terrible.
Well mr. L gagged, and I don’t mean chose to be rude and make obscene noises. He literally stood in the kitchen holding his plate, heaving with tears running down his face. In my defense this home made meal used to be the holy grail. Well it’s not anymore, and worse it set him backwards.
Not only did he not want mac n cheese, he no longer wanted cheese at all. He requested plain pasta, no butter, no salt, no sauce. Just pasta. I gave him a bowl and he took off upstairs no longer wanting to eat with his family. He wanted to be alone, with his plain pasta to recoup and recover. My bad.
Many parents who have autistic offspring who are picky eaters know the fear of a preferred food falling off the acceptable food list.
Right now mr. L will eat about 12 things and almost half of those require cheese. Needless to say I was worried. Mr. L has come a long ways in accepting his foods, and is actually pretty good about eating 2-3 bites of non preferred foods as long as the bites appear small to him. It has taken years and practice to get here.
The Steps to new foods
- Allowing new food at the table
- Putting 1 small bite near his plate
- Placing 1 bite on his plate but he could take it off
- Keeping 1 bite on his plate
- Putting 1 bite in his mouth, but he could spit it out
- 1 bite in his mouth and chewing, but could spit out
Are you seeing how small these steps are?? Most of these steps being accomplished meant celebrating, cheering, possibly dancing, and usually an m&m or 2.
- 1 bite in his mouth, chewing and swallowing
- Then continuing the eating of 1 bite while allowing a 2nd piece on his plate
- After accomplishing eating 2 bites, we’ve now added a 3rd
- We haven’t added a 4th yet because the 3rd bite can bring on gagging
I think the reason the homemade macaroni caused so much stress was because I assumed with his past history that he would accept the meal with open arms and gave him a big ol’ scoop… instead of 1-3 bites.
The one bite of mango and the two bites of pulled pork didn’t freak him out, but he wasn’t in a calm mind set to attempt those. If you are wondering if cheese fell off his go-to list, it was close.
The following day in his packed lunch I put his typical pasta in his typical Tupperware but only put a small bit of cheese, instead of covering it like I usually do. When his lunch box came home only 25% of his pasta came back. He usually eats all of it, I’m guessing he was easing himself back into it. And this ladies and gentlemen is still progress! The fact that he didn’t run away entirely from mild cheddar is a small win.
What foods do you avoid? Are you a foodie? Do you have a picky eater in your family? Tell us about it in the comments below 😋🧀🥭🍽