Imagine there is a series of gates in my mind. These gates are opened and closed through sensory input.
Food is tricky because to be accepted it has to open multiple gates at the same time.
Visual appeal, aroma, feel, personal dietary requirements (vegan, gluten free etc) plus texture and also temperature. Then it still has to be approved by an persons individual taste buds.
Food with more ingredients may be rejected due to a single one. Inconsistencies are another problem because you can have something you know you like, but made by someone else, in a different way. That can shut gates because it’s not what your mind is expecting.
There is no hard and fast rule. However consistency and sensory appeal, are always an important consideration. This is how you can build a stable diet that works for an autistic person. Find the food items that are very rarely rejected. Occasionally add in some new things to try that really appeals to all applicable senses, and stick with them.
With me food fits two categories. Enjoyment and fuel, when highly stressed it’s only that second option. So my list of food will reduce to my most commonly eaten food, during that period.
All this is to say, if you want pizza and chicken nuggets for Christmas dinner, go for it. A comforting meal, what exactly that is, can be different things, to different people.
All our best and love
Ross Fraser and Jeni Dern
Words – Ross Fraser
Graphic Design App – Canva
In association with Service Graphics and Taychreggan, Loch Awe.