Are chicken nuggets and crackers at the top of your child's list of favorite foods?
The preferred food list for countless children with autism tends to share one major feature: it’s full of beige foods.
While the “beige diet” is a generalization, this carby, monochromatic diet hits home for a lot of autism parents. Autistic kids who struggle with eating tend to have very limited diets and it’s rare that they enjoy a colorful, varied, or particularly nutritious foods. More often, they “autism diet” is bland - it doesn’t vary much in color, taste, texture, or type.
Why the Beige Diet Is Popular For Autistic Picky Eaters
If your child with autism has a limited diet, it’s likely that he is experience some barrier to eating. Autism eating barriers are often (but not always) due to sensory symptoms and/or skill-based deficits.
Children who struggle with sensory symptoms or who lack the skill to eat foods of all shapes, sizes, and textures might prefer beige foods for a number of reasons. In general:
Beige foods are not visually overwhelming
Beige foods are bland
Beige foods are easy to eat - they don’t require much skill to chew or they might melt in the mouth so don’t need chewing at all
Beige foods are consistent - packaged foods like crackers, chicken nuggets, french fries, and pasta always look and taste the same when you buy one brand
That’s all to say that in general, many beige foods don’t challenge the sensory system and don’t require much skill to consume. That’s why kids like them. They always know what to expect and they know they can eat them without experiencing a sensory emergency.
Just because beige foods are easy to eat and easy for the sensory system to process, it doesn’t mean they’re not healthy! They are part of a healthy diet because, as you’ll read below, beige fruits and vegetables do offer a lot of nutritional benefit. Beyond that parents may also find benefit to serving these foods. Beige foods tend to be convenient, comforting, easy, and inexpensive.
Nutrition Benefits of Beige (White) Fruits and Vegetables
Eating a primarily beige diet does not provide all the vital nutrients the body needs. That’s not because white fruits and veggies aren’t nutritious. Instead, it’s because the body needs a variety of different foods and colors of fruits and vegetables to meet all nutrient requirements. White fruits and vegetables still provide fiber and offer vitamins and minerals that support immune function, bone and heart health, reduce inflammation, and balance hormones.
The Healthiest White (Beige) Fruits and Vegetables for Picky Eaters
The list of white and pale fruits and vegetables below is perfect for a child who primarily eats these colors and avoids other fruits and vegetables. Many of beige fruits and veggies have a mild taste, but may still seem new and scary to your selective eater.
If you struggle to get your child with autism to try new foods, before offering these white fruits and veggies, read these tips to help make your first serving successful:
I’ve compiled a bunch of recipes and serving ideas on a special Pinterest board if some of these white fruits and vegetables are new to you or push the boundaries of your culinary comfort zone.
Healthy White (Beige) Fruits for Picky Eaters
Frozen green grapes
Healthy White (Beige) Vegetables for Picky Eaters
Peeled zucchini and yellow summer squash
Cucumber (peeled or white)
Jerusalem artichoke (aka sun choke)
Celery root (celeriac)
Hearts of palm
Japanese sweet potato
Your child’s limited diet may be rooted in sensory symptoms and/or skill-based deficits. Children who struggle with sensory symptoms or who lack the skill to eat foods of all shapes, sizes, and textures might prefer beige foods. This can be called the “white diet” and some even refer to it as the “autism diet.” There are plenty of nutritional benefits in this list of white or beige fruits and veggies you can add to your child’s diet if he or she likes to eat white foods.
AND! Personalized Support
My signature nutrition program is perfectly designed for kids with autism who have limited diets and struggle to add new foods. You can sign up for a free call to learn more about how it works and how I can help change your child’s diet for good .