Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Nutrition and Aspies

Kids are usually finicky to begin with when it comes to food.  If you have pizza, chips, cheese, peanut butter and jelly, a hot dog, a hamburger, macaroni and cheese, and maybe some spaghetti, you are most likely going to get the kid to eat.  Chances are I will eat, too, if that is all you had, but the problem is these items are not the best diet for growing folks (yes, I can still grow...unfortunately, it is my waistline that grows and not my height, anymore).  We all know kids need a healthy diet to grow to their fullest potential, but getting them to eat the good stuff is nothing short of a major undertaking.  If your kid is an Aspie, multiply that undertaking by a thousand. 

Then you have the 40-something adult who has never dieted in his life, would eat a pint (sometimes two) of Ben & Jerry's ice cream each evening for four nights in a row (What?  The grocery store had a BOGO sale!) on a regular basis, ordered and ate two Little Caesar's pizzas (back when they came side by side) plus garlic cheese bread for dinner, once had three steaks and five baked potatoes for dinner (much to the dismay of his sister and brother-in-law), would create pizza masterpieces when he worked for Domino's (mounds of cheese, bacon, hamburger, pineapple, ham, pepperoni, and whatever else I could pile on before heading home) to enjoy after the late shift, and stayed very clear of anything that closely resembles broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, and any other healthy food that grossed me out.  Yeah, I was far from a poster child for a health campaign.  Well, that's not true, I could have been the left side of the know, the "Before" side.  Don't get me wrong, I am still not on the "Right" side...but I am working on being less of the "Before" and more of the now.  In short, if I wanted it, I ate it...and didn't care.  But, I was also very active.  I played soccer, softball, football, rode my bike, and lifted many 12 to 16 oz glasses filled to the brim with chilled golden nectar.  Although, I did graduate to more of a brown nectar that comes from Boston as I matured...brewer...patriot...

Wow...ADD moment, sorry...let's get back on topic...

Now that I am no longer as active and my jeans do not fit like they did three years ago (I cannot figure out why that is...), I have decided to lose the gut, eat better, and run a half marathon in the fall.  Huh?  What was that?  Yeah, a half marathon., seriously.  Obviously, I cannot do this weighing in at fifty pounds overweight, and I am tired of my knee (the one I blew out playing soccer many, many moons ago) telling me everyday that I am overweight...not to mention it is pretty embarrassing to be out of breath after climbing a flight of stairs.  Yep...that's what I am going to do.

So, the first part of the journey was to buy an elliptical machine.  Remember, I have a bad knee, so I need something to help lose the weight with the least amount of impact...until I can get back to a decent weight...then it doesn't matter!  Woohoo!  Bring on the treacherous terrain!  Well, maybe we will do that after the half marathon...Anyway...elliptical it.

Second step - break up with Ben & Jerry and all of their friends.  Yeah...ummm...that one is a lot easier said than done.  I really miss those guys. :(  Excuse me for a moment while I wipe the tear forming in my eye...

Okay, I'm back...

Third step - cook healthful meals.

Fourth step - Wait, I thought I was getting back on topic...isn't this a blog about an Aspie kid?

Why, yes, it is, and now we are back on topic.

If I am being conscious about my diet or not, fixing meals my son will eat has always been a chore and a half.  Well, not always; there was a time when he would try just about anything.  For example, his favorite pizza topping USED to be spinach.  Unfortunately, those days are long gone.  One day he likes chicken, tomorrow he hates it.  He loves Grandma's breaded pork chops (as do I), but if I fix anything that has pork in it, forgetabboutit!  This is why I need to be creative...and maybe tell a white lie or two...okay, they are full fledged lies.

If pork is on the menu, it becomes...umm...chicken, yeah, that's's chicken.  Pork BBQ is easy since the BBQ sauce masks the coloring.  Since he likes Sloppy Joe's and beef got it, that's what it is...sort of.  Cod?  That one was difficult and I did not succeed with fooling him.  But, man, was it good!  All that means is I have to be more creative with Cod in the future (and, by the way, I'm open for suggestions!).  The biggest problem is that he is very smart.  He can usually figure out the true ingredients.  Which tells me I need to step up my game a little.

Some of the techniques I have used in the past (other than lying) include; pureeing the questionable food item, disguising it as something else (see Pork BBQ above), sneaking it in when nobody is looking (TVP - Textured Vegetable Protein - more on that later), bribery, and the super fantastic idea of steps (I just realized I have neglected to write about this fantastic tactic!  I will devote a full page to this because it is so incredibly amazing...seriously!).  

In the effort to get him to make healthy choices, he and I devised a plan to track his eating habits for a week.  It was actually his idea, so I ran with it.  I explained how calories are what you want to watch, while keeping in mind that some calories are empty calories and serve no useful purpose while others are good calories.  I also went into carbs, sugars, protein, veggies, dairy and all of that other good stuff.

I am not a nutrition expert, but I've got enough knowledge to get him started.  I pulled up the "myplate" diagram from and tried to explain the different segments and what balance means.  The best part about all of this is, he was/is actually interested...well, he was for a moment or two.  After logging in the first day's list, he promptly asked if he could have a piece of chocolate covered marshmallow (50 empty calories in one serving...which is about 1 inch by 1/2 inch in size).

So, since this is a work in progress, and I am guessing I am not the only one who has troubles fixing meals their kid will eat...let me rephrase that...fixing healthy, well-balanced meals that their kid will eat, I am going to try something.  My plan is to continue fixing the healthy meals and report back.  If the meal works, I'll explain the process with the ingredients.  If it doesn't, I'll refrain from the writing the entire recipe, but will still tell you where you can find it...if you so desire.  I hope that this will give other parents of Aspie kids (and non-Aspie kids, of course) a way to get their kids to eat healthy meals.  There is one catch, though...the meals must be tasty.  I love to eat, and I want to lose weight, but there is no way on earth that I will eat nasty tasting food, just to shed a few pounds!

 As always, I am open for suggestions and thank you for reading!

Disclaimer...(Yes, its a repeat of the last one...but the blog above is new!) First, let me say that I am not a specialist in Asperger's Syndrome, nor do I play one on TV. What I write or say are strictly my own personal observations and beliefs, so please do not sue me because I said something that made you do something that caused a misdiagnosis, or created a problem, or made you do something stupid. Have accountability, go see a professional, and leave my finances alone...besides, you really wouldn't get much anyway, so its probably not worth your time to call the lawyer on the back of the phone book to see if you have a case. Spend that time more wisely, like figuring out how to subscribe to my blog...and don't ask me about that because I'm not even sure how it works! Seriously, though, if some of the things I say seem like they sound very familiar in your family, set up an appointment with a true professional. While you are waiting for their callback, please, continue reading and leave a note!


  1. Good luck, I hope you are more successful than we were. LOL

    We really wanted to take you to Amarillo, TX and have you try to eat the 72oz steak they have there. If you can eat it in a given time, it is free. We know you could have done it in your younger (pre 40) years.

    Yeah, I can just see you eating those healthy mushrooms. No way!

  2. You were successful...sort of. It just took 40 years to get me there!

    What do they serve for dinner after you eat the 72oz appetizer? :)

  3. Ok, I agree Breaded Pork Chops are the bomb...but if you only knew how she made them, you'd know they are by far good for you!!!!!!!! Your heart probably thinks it was hit with a bomb after eating them. But oh are they so good

  4. Ok, that was supposed to say ...are by far, NOT good..., see Mom I want them to be good for us so we get it more often. Even my subconscience is telling me they are ok to eat

  5. Cassie - trust me, I DO know what goes in them...which is exactly why I do not cook them! :) I've been trying to work out some modifications to the recipe, but haven't come up with anything yet. I do know that it is worth buying stock in Crisco when the breaded chops are about to be cooked! When she does cook them, I have to look the other way and just enjoy the special meal. And Mom, NO, I am NOT complaining so do not use this as an excuse to not make them when you are in town! :)