The Finicky Eater

I assume “finicky eating” applies to most people at some time in their life, usually in the formative years from what I hear parents say.  I did a Google search on “finicky eating” and the results were mostly about parental warfare with their finicky eater.  I gather many outgrow their finickiness, but I for one did not.  My selective appetite only got worse as I got older as my mother could attest to.

I suspect living on the autism spectrum has much to do with my peculiar eating habits.  There is research that shows individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be finicky eaters.  For instance, some feel compelled to have certain foods in the same place on the plate or to use the same plate at each meal.  Of course, most people, on and off the spectrum, find food comforting. However, my tendencies of what I eat, when I eat, and how I eat is something I take quite seriously.  My diet is not up for debate.  The times I eat and what I eat are not changeable except by me; otherwise, I will be upset.  I do mean UPSET!

I’ve noticed when subbing as an aide in special ed classes, many of the students have peculiar eating habits too.  Such as a student who leaves most of what is on his cafeteria tray except for the ketchup which he eats with a spoon.  Another brings his lunch every school day with the same two items and they are laid out the same way:  one plain bagel on one side and slices of turkey on the other.  He eats the turkey first; then, the bagel.  Now I can relate to that child.

Another student is very fond of McDonald’s version of chicken nuggets.  To reduce the number of visits through the McDonald’s drive-thru, his Mom cooked her own batch of nuggets and put them in an empty McDonald’s box.  It just took one nugget bite for her child to know it wasn’t the real McDonald and he wouldn’t eat another bite.  Her alternative plan crumbled.

The need for sameness that is common in ASD makes it difficult for me to swallow new foods. It’s okay if I see some new food item on the store shelf and decide to try it. As long as it is ME who decides to alter my diet, it’s okay.  The problem with liking something new is I will go overboard and buy a stockpile of it.  I’m not just finicky about food but obsessive too.  Logic has nothing to do with it.







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