Many autistic people show food selectivity (i.e. being selective and picky about foods)Food Selectivity in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Typically Developing Children and food neophobia (being adverse to new foods), which is often due to sensory sensitivity,Autistic traits associated with food neophobia but not olfactory sensitivity including oral sensory processing issues (i.e. sensitivity to certain foods in the mouth).Sensory Sensitivity and Food Selectivity in Children with Autism Spectrum DisorderFood Selectivity and Sensory Sensitivity in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Or they may have food allergies. All of this can make it difficult for us to keep a balanced diet. I’m not a nutritionist or dietitian, and I lack the knowledge to inform you about food.
However, lately I have been experimenting a bit with food, trying to find creative ways to prepare or present food. Especially healthy foods that are arguably too boring for consumption without involving creativity. Or in some instances, I try to make the experience of eating more joyous. For today, let me show you one of my decorative food creations.
This post will be relatively short and sweet.
Below is a breakfast I made for Natalie, featuring strawberries, blueberries, Brazil nuts, and pieces of coconut.
I guess they are ladybugs, or possibly some other kind of bugs. Brazil nuts are obviously not ideal to represent ladybug heads. In fact the blueberries would have been great for that. Drawing little faces onto the blueberries with mayonnaise… Okay, maybe no mayonnaise on fruit. I decided to include the Brazil nuts not to achieve something visually, but simply because I felt Natalie should eat some, since they are healthy. In fact, a review of the research from 2009 by Jun Yang on the health benefits of Brazil nuts indicates:Brazil nuts and associated health benefits: A review
- Brazil nuts have a high nutritive food value, containing 60–70% oil and 17% protein.
- Brazil nuts are abundant in dietary antioxidants, especially selenium.
- One single Brazil nut provides 160% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of selenium.
- It is one of the best sources of selenium from plant-based foods.
- Brazil nuts contain phenolics and flavonoids (blueberries also have a high flavonoid contentSources of Flavonoids in the U.S. Diet Using USDA’s Updated Database on the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods) in both free and bound forms. The research on the health benefits of polyphenols and flavonoids is not clear, however, as in vitro findings don’t necessarily translate to health benefits after human consumption.
- Brazil nuts are rich in tocopherol, phytosterols, and squalene, which may make you squeamish at high doses.
It’s probably not the most romantic, but if you decide to make a romantic breakfast for your partner, perhaps include some ingredients you think your partner should definitely eat (within reason). If your partner takes a lot of pills each day, this could be a wonderful opportunity to create a festive plate!
I posted the picture above online, and some autistic smart-ass named Parth said:
I have a feeling you combined romantic and lazy.
I see not cooking something tough was hidden pretty well.
Yet the romantic part springs out of the picture, so worth it. XD
Lazy?! Do you know how long it takes to open a coconut? And did you notice the heart-shaped strawberries? They don’t come like that! And what about the blueberries which I meticulously cut in half?
To be honest though, I did not open a coconut. I opened a bag of frozen coconut pieces, and selected the most cubic ones. So be careful you don’t end up showing your laziness and lack of effort and go from a heart breakfast to heartbreak fast.
But really, infusing your breakfast with creativity doesn’t require a tremendous effort. I’m starting to brainstorm about the possibilities of eggs now, which is a notoriously simple/lazy breakfast. What might I be able to sculpt out of cooked eggs?
I am just having fun, and trying to share that fun with my partner.
Let me know if you found this post to be helpful or entertaining. I have another few food-based experiments to show for those interested.