Special Needs

My Special Needs Child Hates Food

My special needs child hates food. Actually both my special needs children hate food. Maybe hate is a bit too strong but they are definitely extremely suspicious. It has taken all my resolve to accept this fact but it has been worth the struggle.

Getting in the Greens

Parental concern is quite something and I’m sure most people have had similar experiences. There was always a huge obsession with me as a child to eat enough, to get my greens in and to not waste food. And somehow this sneaked into my parenting, despite me trying not to be this way. When my twins were very young, I was so concerned with what they were eating. Everything had to be organic. And they had to get enough. Often food would be the same and rather boring. So as soon as they started needing control, they practised it in no uncertain terms.

My Special Needs Child Hates Food

My special needs child hates food. This is how I felt when the boys started refusing everything I gave them. And they started wanting to eat ‘bad’ foods. It was so unbelievably frustrating and worrying. I imagined them poisoned by unhealthy food and withering away because they were not eating enough. The food budget shot up as I got expensive organic food that they wasted. And I would spend loads of money on different vitamins and probiotics and omegas. Meal times were not good. Poor boys. It must have been a terrible time for them. All they wanted to do was to control their lives in some small way. They had only just realised that this was possible, after all! They were developing their own personalities. And they were setting and testing the boundaries.

Mending Food Fences

When we found out that the kids had special needs, everything changed. As I’ve mentioned before, ‘naming it’ has taken off the pressure in so many ways. Our parenting is less about control and more about letting the kids blossom in their own way. Of course there is discipline,  but there is also a lot more understanding and flexibility. And it’s made meal times much more relaxed too.

Ok, my Special Needs Child doesn’t really Hate Food

My children base their food choices on textures and colours. The kids do still only eat a handful of things. They still mostly refuse to eat cooked food. Often they are suspicious of anything new. And don’t get me started on the love for sweets, ice cream and pizza. But it’s OK.

Their meals are fairly balanced and often raw. They eat a few fresh foods such as avocado, tomatoes, cucumber and carrots. They will eat protein in the form of cheese and biltong. And we make sure they get these at every meal. They can help themselves to fruit that they enjoy. They like to drink water and this is a great habit. We give them one good multi-vitamin and omegas. For all the other ‘bad foods’, we limit them reasonably. They have a good blow out at parties, for example. And are allowed treats. We don’t want to fetishise these foods.

Save for later by pinning to Pinterest

Some Things we Still Need to Work On

Obviously their eating habits are not ideal. For one thing, we eventually want the boys to go gluten free or to reduce their gluten intake. My husband is totally gluten free and I am almost there. The benefits of a gluten free diet are well-documented. I think it will be much easier when we’re homeschooling next year because we will be able to give them better meals at home. Bread is obviously super convenient for school lunches at the moment.

We are not going to give up on getting them to try other foods. My husband is an amazing cook and they’re going to kick themselves when they realise that they’ve been missing out for so long! But it’s going to be an easy, stress free experiment every time.

Over to You

How do you deal with your special needs children as picky eaters? What are your hints and tips for getting them to try new food? I would love to hear from you. Please drop me an email or comment below.

Save for later by pinning to Pinterest

Charlotte Jones

Charlotte Jones is a multi-tasking WAHM. She's mom to rambunctious special needs twins, wife to a talented music man and pillow to a super affectionate doxie. She spends her days marketing, blogging, homeschooling and teaching English online. And spends her weekend splashing through rivers, strolling on beaches and trekking through forests.

Popular Articles...


  1. […] We could easily get sucked down into the medical rabbit hole with special needs twins. Mentions of Ritalin float around periodically, along with talk of lots of expensive therapy. This is not a path that I want to take, as I’ve spoken about before. Right or wrong, my kids have been vaccinated and I will take them to the doctor if they must go. But I also try a more natural way to keep them healthy. We try to give them good food, even though they are the fussiest eaters. […]

  2. […] kids are very fussy eaters. But obviously they love sweet things. Unfortunately sugar has a crazy effect on them. They go from […]

  3. […] a dream. The kids wake up naturally. They have a leisurely breakfast. Which is important because they don’t really like food that much! And they don’t function well when not fed. They also have the time to learn some practical […]

  4. […] water, eating something healthy can also be a way to lift moods. Even though my kids are incredibly fussy eaters,we try to eat something green and healthy every day. I would love them to drink kale and beetroot […]

  5. […] what goes into their mouth. Our kids are picky eaters and it definitely has a lot to do with the sensory aspect of eating. And the fact that they need to order their environments. Luckily with the more relaxed […]

Comments always welcome!