The Most Helpful Picky Eating Books for Autism Parents

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Looking for a good book about picky eating for child with autism? Feeding a child with autism is unique, so not every book about child nutrition will apply. These books are some of my favorites that do. The following books are the ones I read over and over, have highlighted so much that the pages glow, and use currently in my work with children on the spectrum.

5 Best Picky Eating Books for Autism Parents

Adventures in Veggieland: Help Your Kids Learn to Love Vegetables-with 100 Easy Activities and Recipes

By Melanie Potock

Adventures in Veggieland is the book I wish I wrote myself. Melanie Potock, a speech pathologist, beat me to it. She is all about positive food exposure and exploration to expand a child’s diet. In this beautiful book, she breaks down a framework with her Three E’s - expose, explore, and expand - that help kids learn to love new foods. Potock lists activities and cooking opportunities. Expect food play (Cauliflower sheep anyone? A fun game of veggie bingo?), creative tasting activities, and tons of kid-friendly recipes (yes, they’re so kid-friendly that your little will want to both cook and eat). The book is a great tool for creating exposures to overcome sensory aversions and increase comfort meeting new foods.

Food Chaining: The Proven 6-Step Plan to Stop Picky Eating, Solve Feeding Problems, and Expand Your Child’s Diet

By Cheri Fraker

If you’ve been following me for a bit you know that food chaining is one of my picky eating go-tos. Food Chaining is a proven strategy to expand a child’s diet. This book comes from a team of medical professionals in a feeding center. The idea of food chaining involves introducing a child to new foods by incorporating food characteristics that s/he already likes and making incremental changes. Eventually little tweaks to favorite foods can teach a child to enjoy a whole new food. With food chaining children who love chicken nuggets learn to eat chicken breast, shredded chicken, baked chicken, and even fish.

Broccoli Boot Camp: Basic Training for Parents of Selective Eaters

By Keith Williams and Laura J Seiverling

Oh man, I highlighted something on every page of this book! If you are ready to commit to ending your ASD child’s selective eating, Broccoli Boot Camp might be for you! Broccoli Boot Camp is unique for its focus on behavioral component of restrictive eating (both authors are psychologists and behavior analysts). The main premise of Broccoli Boot Camp is that the more a child tastes a food, the more s/he will learn to like it. The authors walk you through every step you should take to introduce your child to new foods and also offer easy-to-follow modifications, rationales, and forms to monitor progress. Even if you don’t end up following one of the book’s five intervention plans, you’ll walk away with ideas on how to address disruptive mealtime behaviors and manage picky eating in a productive way.

Just Take a Bite: Easy, Effective Answers to Food Aversions and Eating Challenges

By Lori Ernsperger and Tania Steger-Hansen

What I appreciate most about Just Take a Bite is that it is written specifically for parents of picky eaters on the spectrum. The authors, an autism behavior specialist and a pediatric occupational therapist, really understand the many factors contributing to your child’s eating challenges and they address them all -  from what might be going on at a functional level to how you can create a practical plan using easy steps. It’s another book I highlighted like a crazy person. Just Take A Bite is a three-part approach (environmental controls, motor development, and sensory development) to increase the variety of food in your child’s diet and make eating a more enjoyable experience. A big focus is on exposure and overcoming a child’s possible motor delays and sensory aversions, so you can expect lots of ideas for activities and games with these goals in mind. In addition to giving you a plan for tackling selective eating, you’ll gain a better understanding of why kids with autism have eating problems.

Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating: A Step-by-Step Guide for Overcoming Selective Eating, Food Aversion, and Feeding Disorders

By Katja Rowell, MD and Jenny McGlothlin, SLP

At the heart of this book is the understanding that feeding a child with restrictive eating habits or a feeding disorder is trying for both the eater and their caregiver. The authors are extremely sensitive to the emotional strain and respectfully offer practical strategies that help your family build a nourishing relationship with food. Like many of the other books on this list, the authors walk you through the dynamics behind your child’s feeding challenges before offering their five-step plan that helps your child learn to enjoy a variety of foods. The authors’ goals are to decrease parents’ and the eater’s anxiety, optimize appetite, support growth, and restore eating enjoyment. In addition to creating a healthy foundation, the authors provide strategies for dealing with anxiety, low appetite, sensory challenges, oral motor delay, medically-based feeding problems, and autism-related challenges to eating. My favorite part is the sample scripts to walk you through responding to your child and others involved in his or her feeding.

For my favorite kid-friendly reads, check out

The Best Picky Eating Books for Kids with Autism


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* Be sure to grab my FREE Picky Eating Guide if you don’t have it already *