Brandon’s favorite meal is hot dogs with yellow cheese and ramen noodles on the side. This has been his favorite for years. I am aware it isn’t healthy. But he loves it, so I make it.
Let’s talk about Brandon and his eating habits. He is extremely picky. He likes very few things. I am certain this is a sensory issue, but he can’t tell me. Brandon smells every single thing before it goes in his mouth, even hot dogs with cheese and ramen. If it doesn’t smell right, he will not eat it.
Steve and I have spent years trying to figure this out. What foods does he like? Mashed potatoes with butter, chips, tortilla chips with cheese, pancakes, frozen waffles cooked in the microwave, garlic toast, roasted Brussel sprouts, bacon, yellow cheese, scrambled eggs with cheese, tacos with meat and cheese only, and Skittles. There a a few more items, but these are the most favorites.
I don’t see a pattern with these foods. Some are bland. Some are spicy. Some are smooth, some are crunchy. There are days when it is difficult to get him to eat anything.
When Brandon was about 8 years old, he stopped eating. Well meaning family and friends assured us he would eat when he got hungry. But he wouldn’t.
We tried everything. We made his favorite foods. We tried making him stay at the table until he ate something. He simply would not eat. We tried using food as a reward. He would not eat.
After 3-4 days of this, we contacted his psychiatrist who had Brandon hospitalized. Medication changes were made and he finally, slowly started eating again. He had lost so much weight and was exhausted.
When I hear someone say “oh they will eat when they get hungry”, I want to shout out “BUT WHAT IF THEY DON’T?” Brandon’s autism makes eating more difficult. His sensory issues that come along with his autism make eating more difficult. His inability to verbally communicate his feelings about food makes eating more difficult.
I know our family and friends were trying to be supportive. But we knew. We knew he would not eat. We knew he was hungry. But, he was not able to eat at that point.
I don’t want Brandon to get to that point again. So, I will continue to make hot dogs with yellow cheese and ramen noodles for him. At least he is eating, which is healthier than the alternative.
Stay well, friends and keep washing those hands!