Catering to Autism

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For breakfast, I eat virtually the same thing every day: a scoop of vegan protein powder with up to a 1/3 cup of steel-cut oats, a half-tablespoon of peanut butter, all rendered porridgey with coffee as a base, then three eggs separately.

For lunch, that’s also the same deal: a smoothie made from a cup of kale, a banana, ice, water, and more scoops of protein powder.

Though dinner and snacks vary, I’m pretty routine about 66% of my meals during the day.

So imagine what happens if any of that is somehow altered.

It seems like it’d be hard to cater to autistic tastes.

Why?

Because you’re catering to routines, patterns, norms — and unless it’s the same things we’re eating for those designated meals, then it’s likely going to be a matter of pushing back.

Mrs. H2 is a pretty stellar cook, so her dinner options are never a miss.

But I get worried when there’s something on deck for breakfast or for lunch. Not because it’s bad, but because it’s good, and I already know I’m going to have to try to switch gears mentally to accommodate.

Maybe you’re in this boat, maybe you’re not — where you feel like you’re dealing with an autistically picky eater and it’s grinding your gears.

As one of those people, here’s my bullets of advice:

-It might not be about picky tastes, but picky routines 

-Get creative with the meals open to the most variety

Discover the root of what makes the ritual stick and appeal to that 

For me, I eat pretty compact and healthy so I don’t like feeling “fat” before and during work, and I like something warm most mornings and cool most afternoons. Portions weigh heavily for me, and I don’t like the feeling of eating too much in the morning.

That sounds normal, but it’s the routine and ritualistic devotion to its consistency that can be more autistic than the norm.

Others’ routines and rituals may vary — those are what you’re catering to. 

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