Proteins are the building blocks of life, necessary for our cells, neurotransmitters, and many other things. Without the amino acids that make up proteins, our bodies just won’t function properly. So where can we fit protein into our autistic children’s diets?
Fortunately, there are many sources of protein available. Plant-based sources offer incomplete proteins, so it’s important to pair them up so that the combined meal provides a complete set of amino acids (for example, by combining beans and rice).
Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty creative in finding ways to get more protein into my own kids and my pediatric patients. Consider these sources:
- Smoothies. Serve them cold and thick (you can even call them milkshakes or ice cream!). I recommend two in particular:
- Nuts and Nut (or Seed) Butters. I don’t recommend peanuts or peanut butter, as those tend to cause more inflammation. But for people who aren’t allergic or sensitive to other nuts, these are a great source of both protein and healthy fat.
- Meats. For kids who have trouble chewing (or just won’t accept) meats like steak or chicken, try meat loaf. You can sneak some finely chopped vegetables in there as well. Another meat option kids tend to love is jerky. I’m partial to paleo teriyaki jerky, as it’s lower in sugar.
- Bean dips. Kids love dipping! This may not be the right option if your child has an aversion to this kind of texture, but it’s worth a try every so often. Consider making your own, as that way you can choose the type of oil that goes into the dip.
Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing a great job.
I hope this information has been helpful to you as part of creating Your Autism Game Plan.
What have you done to incorporate more protein into your child’s diet? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.orgStart the Course!
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