When I was diagnosed with autism, the nutritionist recommended I start eating more whole grains. This helped me feel less foggy-brained and prevented me from having meltdowns when my food didn’t agree with me. Contrary to what most people believe, autism is not a disease or mental illness, therefore there is no medicinal cure. However, we do have dietary restrictions and allergies which can be debilitating for us.
These dietary restrictions and allergies to common food items such as wheat or dairy products, like casein and whey respectively, can cause severe behaviour problems and gastrointestinal distress (which may result in meltdowns.) A 2013 study showed that children with autism are more likely to be lactose intolerant, which can make it challenging to find delicious and nutritious snacks. Grilled cheese sandwiches are a staple for most children at lunch, but if the bread contains dairy then this cannot be guacamole or hummus.
If you’re looking for something tasty to replace bread with at lunchtime, look no further. Zucchini makes a surprisingly good replacement for bread and can be used in a variety of healthy recipes including zoodles (zucchini noodles)!
If you’re looking for something more nutritious to replace bread with, consider collard greens. Collards are part of the same family as kale, broccoli, and cabbage. They are also high in calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), and manganese. They also contain high concentrations of L-theanine, which is an amino acid that promotes relaxation.
Fancy a Cup?
L-theanine can be found in black tea, green tea, and fermented soybeans. The amino acid is often used to promote mental alertness without causing sleepiness. Many people will drink tea before bedtime to promote relaxation and better sleep quality, which is why you may have seen lavender or chamomile tea recommended for people with autism.