Nutrition Boosting Tips
By Kirti Singh
Most of kids on autism spectrum have a weak metabolism, so are nutritionally depleted. One of the main aims of dietary intervention is to increase nutrient density and digestibility of foods in the diet. Secondly most of them are very picky so you have to sneak in the nutrients.
Some means to get good nutrients in the diet are:
Increase the quality of the foods your child already eats by buying:
Grass fed meat
Pastured poultry and eggs
Organic, vine ripened and fresh from farmers produce
Sneaking nutrients in the diet with nutrient dense foods:
Sweet potatoes: Make fries, Cook, puree and add to smoothies, meatballs, or tomato sauce.
Eggs: Scrambled and eaten or added to homemade fried rice. Soaked into bread for French toast.
Meat: Meatballs, meat patties, in spaghetti sauce.
Bone broth and mineral broth: Use to make soup, cook grains in broth, and add a splash to tomato sauce.
Beans and legumes: Cook, puree and add to soup or sauce to thicken. Add whole to soups. Make dips like hummus.
Whole grains: Make baked goods with homemade whole grains flours. Cook whole grains similar to rice and eat as side dish. Add to soups.
Leafy greens: Cook, puree and add to meatballs, tomato sauce. Add to vegetable juices. Simmer in bone or mineral broth, and then remove.
Herbs: Herbs like nettles, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, ginger can be simmered in bone or vegetable broth. Desired herbs can be simmered in form of tea and this tea can be used for cooking.
Nuts and seeds: Use as nut milks, nut butter, nut flours.
Hemp seeds: Sprinkle on toast with nut butter. Add to finished grain dish.
Black strap molasses: Add to muffins. Use as sweetener in oatmeal. Only need a little. Hot water with 1 T molasses with a squeeze of honey is great for iron absorption.
Kombu and seaweed: Simmer in bone or mineral broth. Add to cooking soup, grains or beans.
Organic liver: Blend in food processor and add small amount to meatballs or patties. Make pate if child likes spreads.
Soaking and sprouting: It is important to soak and sprout grains, beans, and nuts/seeds. Soaking increase the enzyme content, digestibility, and increase nutrient content.
Soaking nuts: Soak nuts like almond, hemp seeds, cashews, walnuts or pecans in water for 7-12 hours. Make almond or hemp milk. Cashew cream is great as dips.
Soaking beans: Beans soak well in alkaline medium so add a pinch of baking soda to the water and soak for 12-24 hours. Drain water and cook with fresh water. Bring to a boil and skim off foam.
Soaking grains: Grains soak well in acidic medium so add 1-2 tablespoon of whey, lemon juice or vinegar to the soaking water and soak for 7-24 hours. Drain water and cook with fresh water.
Juicing: Juicing is a wonderful way to add nutrients, chlorophyll and enzymes to the body. Chlorophyll has a structure similar to hemoglobin, the substance in blood responsible for transporting oxygen. Juicing allows for a greater extraction and concentration of nutrients.
The Beginner juice: 2 carrots+ 1 apple+ ½ beet
Digestion juice: ½ inch piece ginger+ 5to 10 sprigs of mint+2 kiwis with skin+1/2 fennel bulb
Anti-Inflammatory juice: ¼ pineapple with rind+ ¼ inch piece of ginger+ 2 collard green leaves+ ½ fennel bulb+ ¼ inch piece of fresh turmeric root
Antioxidants juice: 1 apple+1/4 cup blueberries+2 kiwis with skin+1 carrot+ ¼ -1/2 red pepper
Fermenting: Fermented foods are very important for good health. The good bacteria (probiotics) are beneficial to the digestive tract, crowd out and kill yeast and pathogenic bacteria, and increase enzyme and nutrient content in the food. They are great source of nutrients while travelling when access to fresh home cooked meals is not possible. Fermented foods should be part of diet are:
Yogurt and kefir: If child is able to tolerate dairy, then homemade yogurt or kefir from raw milk or goat’s milk is great choice.
Coconut kefir: Young green coconut water kefir is great alternative for those who cannot tolerate dairy.
Fermented Vegetables: Raw sauerkraut and kim chi are are lacto fermented vegetables especially cabbage that are great for intestinal health.
Kombucha: It is a brew of sweetened black or green tea that is fermented with a culture of bacteria and yeast. The bacteria and yeast feed on the sugar and convert it into beneficial components that help with digestion, detoxification, immune function and cellular metabolism.
Matthews, Julie. Nourishing Hope for Autism, Healthful Living Media, 2008.
Kirti Singh is an Honors graduate from Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts. She also has a Master’s degree in Food and Nutrition, and has worked as a dietician. She enjoys using a holistic approach in helping people achieve their goals for better health.
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