Nutrition Basics- Guest Blog Post From Stephanie Goodman
Good nutrition is vital for everyone. However, for children with autism it is even more important. Why? Studies have shown that many children with autism have nutritional deficiencies, numerous digestive issues (ranging from minor to severe)1 and higher rates of obesity2. In addition, many children with autism tend to be picky eaters; therefore, they need more nutritional support than their neuro-typical counterparts.
Of course the best way to improve nutrition is to incorporate a whole foods diet – foods that do not require labels (such as fruits, vegetables and meats). However, with modern conveniences such as fast food, picky eaters and busy schedules eating healthy can be a challenge. One of the ways I help my clients start upgrading their child’s nutrition is by teaching them to read ingredient labels. When ingredient lists contain things that do not sound like food, put it back on the shelf and search for another brand. Almost always, you can find a healthier counterpart to a food you are using. For example, is your child a ketchup lover? Most people use the popular brand of ketchup – it contains (among other things), high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup can lower metabolism, damage the liver and has been found to contain traces of mercury. One study published last year even linked high fructose corn syrup as a possible contributing factor to autism (http://www.clinicalepigeneticsjournal.com/content/4/1/6). A better choice to the popular brand for example, would be ketchup made by a company named Annie’s Naturals. The ingredients are organic and it contains no high fructose corn syrup (it does, however contain sugar). An even better choice would be to make your own. Check out some recipes I have pinned here (http://pinterest.com/asdnutrition/ketchup-recipes/).
Bottom line? Look for opportunities to improve your child’s nutrition. Start with simple steps such as reading ingredient labels and switching out one brand for a healthier version. It isn’t always easy to make good choices when it comes to nutrition – especially for children with issues, but by starting out with a few small steps, you can make giant leaps.
Stephanie Goodman, CNC is the founder of Progressive Nutrition Solutions LLC . She guides families to achieve optimum nutrition. She specializes in nutrition for children with autism, AD/(H)D and gastrointestinal disorders – all of which can greatly benefit from incorporating healthy diets and lifestyles. More info is available at www.