Food Sensitivities in Children With Autism


Does your child have sensitivity to the texture, flavour, aroma, or colour of food? Have you noticed that your child avoid certain foods and not ready to try new foods? Does your child gag when they see or smell certain foods? These are some common signs of food sensitivities in kids. Many children with autism are dealing with variety of sensory issues. Among them, food sensitivity issues are one of the major concern. Keep reading to understand more about food sensitivities in children as well as the tips and foods that can help to manage it. 

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Food sensitivities in children

Children are exposed to a variety of foods, flavours, and sensations during their early years. Kids who refuse to taste or consume certain foods are frequently referred to as “picky eaters”. However, this picky eating habit is prevalent in kids, it can be more intense and also lasts in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Additionally, studies show that many children with autism have high preferences for processed foods and carbs while avoiding fruits and veggies. Moreover, it can cause nutritional deficits and also obesity, especially if exercise is restricted.

Also check, Autism and Sound sensitivity

Causes of food sensitivities

Sensory processing disorder

Sensory integration dysfunction is the inability of the brain to process the signals and information it receives from the sense organs. Due to this, the child becomes extraordinarily sensitive to things like normal sounds, touch, and food texture. Some kids experience extreme sensitivities for the smell or flavour of the food. This can result in nausea, vomiting or spitting out the food. Health professionals think that sensory processing disorder may also manifest on its own, despite the fact that its symptoms are frequently linked to other developmental issues like autism spectrum disorder.

Also check, Autism and Sensory sensitivity

Oral motor issues

Oral motor refers to the way our mouth’s muscles are used. The tongue, lips, cheeks, and jaw are all included in this. All of them are components of our mouth that are connected to numerous muscles; like all muscles, they can be strong or weak.   To speak, eat, or drink through a straw, we require oral motor skills. Children who face difficulty chewing are unable to handle food and they will reject it. So, the foods that need little oral-motor skill can be chosen by kids as that can be  eaten easily.

Also check, Oral motor exercises

Other reasons

Some coexisting conditions like food allergy, stress or anxiety, Genetic Disorder, abnormal brain activity/ lack of proper brain activity, other medical conditions can cause food sensitivities in kids.

Also check, How to handle anxiety in kids?

Symptoms of food sensitivities

Children who may have food sensitivities to food texture, taste, smell or temperature may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Rejection of some foods
  • Irregular eating habits
  • Not willing to try new foods
  • Meals-related outbursts or meltdowns

Treatment for Food sensitivities


Children can develop coping mechanisms through therapies. The therapist will assist you in teaching your kids how to manage the problem. The child’s sessions will depend on whether they are oversensitive, undersensitive, or a combination of both.

Types of Therapy:

  1. Sensory integration therapy (SI): It is based on fun activities that help the child to manage the situation without getting overwhelmed by environmental factors.
  2. Sensory routine/ diet:  These are the list of activities given to children that help to stay focused and organised in control.
  3. Occupational therapy:  It helps to develop good motor skills and cope with everyday activities.

Also check, Types of therapies for autism

2.Oral motor exercises

Oral motor mouth exercises indeed help in strengthening the oral muscles and also aid in chewing and eating actions.

Types of exercises

  1. Tongue exercises: Stimulates the tongue movements.
  2. Lips and cheek exercises: Strengthens the cheek muscles
  3. Jaw exercises:  Improves the jaw muscle movement.

Also check, Techniques to develop fine motor skills

tips that can help children with food sensitivities

Here are some tips and tricks that can help your children to cope up with food sensitivities:

1.Look into the reason

The first task is to investigate why a kid has food sensitivities. Asking your children questions that clarify their feelings and difficulties while eating can be quite helpful. Once the food has been identified, you can determine whether your child dislikes that specific food alone or a set of foods as a whole. This can make it easier for you to comprehend why the kid doesn’t enjoy it.

Also check, Tips to improve concentration

2. Change your strategy

In some cases, what a child eats can be more crucial than how they eat. Occasionally only a change in strategy is required. Accept your child’s desire to avoid particular meals. Present the same food in a different way. It is efficient to introduce a new food that is nutrient-dense yet still has the desired texture. For example, if your kid enjoys munchy or crunchy foods like chips, give him/her beetroot chips instead of potato chips.

Also check, Tips to develop healthy eating food habits in kids

3.Introduce new foods

Gradually, introduce new meals. Don’t force your kid. You can start by asking your child to simply sniff or lick the meal when served for the first time or you can use the “try one bite” method. In addition to any new introductions, include one or two old favourites in every meal.

Also check, Types of foods that help for ADHD

4. Sensory food games

Toddlers typically develop coping skills through play. Playing with food that has a sensory component can help your kid become more used to sensory stimuli. Every child will respond differently to food, so the strategy needs to be tailored. One strategy that works well is to put food in plastic bags and write letters or shapes on them. This can help your child to touch the foods without hesitating and improves the sensory skills.

Also check, Benefits of sensory bins

Nutrients required to alleviate food sensitivities in children

According to experts, anything that is good for the brain is likely to be good for autism and food sensitivities . Below is a list of the essential nutrients and ingredients recommended as part of a healthy ASD diet.


It is a small woody plant native to India and North Africa. Ashwagandha has a strong affinity for GABA receptors. Ashwagandha is used to treat Autism symptoms such as sensory issues, memory loss, anxiety, and attention deficit.


Brahmi is a brain superfood. It sharpens the brain by protecting cells and increasing chemicals involved in learning and memory. It acts on the CNS, where it improves grasping power, eye contact, memory, intellect, and speech, as well as correcting sensory sensitivity, emotional, mood, and personality aberrations in an individual.


In order to improve brain functioning, shankhapushpi is an old remedy. The powerful antioxidants and flavonoids present in it improve the memory capacity, focus, concentration, calmness, alertness of an individual. Since it is a brain tonic and stimulator, people taking shankhapushpi have improved autism features like sensory issues, memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and other cognitive abilities.


Protein is an essential component of a healthy diet. It helps to build, maintain, and repair body tissues. It is also necessary for brain health and plays an important role in neurotransmitter production (brain chemical).

Also check, How to get a protein-rich diet?


There is a link between omega 3 fatty acids and early childhood brain development, according to research. These healthy fats have incredible brain-boosting properties, additionally play an important role in improving autism features like sensory sensitivity, memory, and attention span. Fish and walnuts are excellent sources of omega 3.

Also check, Why is Omega 3 important for your kids?


Magnesium is responsible for nerve transmission and nerve-muscle coordination in our bodies. In other words, it guards against a child’s excessive excitement (which can be traumatic). It also increases the effectiveness of vitamin B. This is important in the production of enzymes in the brain. It  may improve sensory sensitivity and reduce behavioral issues.

Also check, what are some disorders in which magnesium can help?

7. ZINC:

Zinc is a mineral that our bodies require in trace amounts. Because our bodies do not store zinc, we must consume small amounts of it on a regular basis to maintain our health. Zinc helps in proper brain development and function, immune function, protein synthesis, and wound healing.

Also check, How can zinc help with hair and skin health?

8. NUTS:

All nuts, including almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, and hazelnuts, are high in vitamin E and aid in memory enhancement. They are also antioxidants that protect cells from damage. Walnuts are high in omega 3 fatty acids and are beneficial to sensory sensitivity, brain function, memory, and cognitive abilities. This fatty acid is also beneficial to cognitive functions.

Also check,Best nuts for protein


Aside from nuts, seeds such as flax, chia, melon, sesame, and pumpkins contain potent antioxidants such as vitamin E, which protect the brain from free radical damage. Sunflower seeds are brain-boosting snack. It have an effect on overall mood and mental processing abilities. Pumpkin seeds contain more magnesium, copper, and zinc than other seeds, which aid in eye contact, concentration, and memory. One of the simplest brain-boosting foods for children to consume.


Pure Cocoa powder (unsweetened) contains brain-boosting components. It is packed with a large number of antioxidants molecules, the main is epicatechin improves cognition. Hence, cocoa powder is also an important brain development food for children.

Also check, More benefits of cocoa powder


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Conduct disorder in kids: Therapies and Foods to manage it

Conduct disorder

Does your child frequently steal or lie for fun? Does your kid always get into fights or arguments ? Did he/she throw things or break the chairs, glass or other properties ? Does your kid act arrogant and threaten other kids? When this type of serious behaviour is frequent and consistent for a longer period which is unsuitable for their age, then it can be identified as conduct behaviour. Let’s know more about the causes, symptoms and ways to manage conduct disorder in kids.

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What is Conduct Disorder?

Having kids can be fun and happy but it will become challenging and tiring when the same kids become so adamant and throw tantrums. It is a very common behaviour among kids and teens to do so and they will eventually learn to manage their emotions. But in certain cases, kids engage in aggressive things like biting, slashing, and throwing things and teens engage in more serious violent behaviours like insulting, theft, damaging or burning the properties.

Conduct disorder is a chronic type of behaviour which is associated with emotional and behavioural issues. Children with conduct disorder go beyond normal misbehaviours and they will insult, harass, or yell at others. They have the habit of breaking the rules of society and other people’s freedom, they like to hurt others and treat them badly. Kids dealing with this issue lack compassion, are usually violent, and have no respect for the sentiments of others. Usually, conduct disorder first appears in school aged kids and teens, though it is also identified in adults. Boys are considerably more likely to be affected than girls.

Also check, Tips to improve concentration

Causes of conduct disorder

It is possible that a lot of biological, mental and social issues are likely to cause conduct disorder. These issues tend to overlap with each other. Here are some causes of conduct disorder:

Hereditary causes

There is a high probability of conduct disorder being hereditary. This indicates that a when close member of the family has a psychiatric disorder, a mood related issues, or a personality disorder, it may pass on the conduct disorder to their offspring.

Also check, Toe walking in kids

Biological issues

The conduct disorder in kids and teens may be driven by the damage of the specific part of the brain which is responsible for controlling the behaviour, feelings, and impulses. Mental disorders including ADHD, chronic anxiety, or learning issues could be other biological causes of conduct disorder.

Also check, Social emotional development of kids

Social issues

Family related issues, child abuse, traumatic events, strict parenting, poor education and insufficient monitoring are all highly associated with conduct disorder.

Also check, Tips for anger management in kids

Cognitive issues

Children with conduct disorder may have low levels of intelligence, lower economic level, and be rejected by society.

Also check, Asperger’s syndrome

Symptoms of conduct disorder

Children and teens with conduct disorder will display three or more of the following signs,

  • Get into fights
  • Often lie 
  • Not having empathy 
  • Not feeling guilty
  • Abuse animals or pets
  • Harassing, scaring, or assaulting others with weapons
  • Damage the properties by breaking or burning it
  • Violates law by committing theft

Also check, Early signs of autism

Ways to control conduct disorder in kids

Treating conduct disorder is quite challenging as kids and teens hardly exhibit something inappropriate with their behaviour. Showing anger and forcing them to act good won’t work. The best way to manage kid or teens with conduct disorder is to move them from their problematic surroundings and place them in a highly organised environment. Here are some of the ways to control conduct disorder:

1.Dialectical/Cognitive behavioural therapy

DBT is a kind of cognitive-behavioural therapy that seeks to alter behaviour by helping people acknowledge and embrace their emotions. It seeks to alter their behaviour by acknowledging and accepting their current emotions and providing tools that can help with regulating their emotions and improving tolerance and mindfulness. This cognitive behavioural therapy has been adapted to accommodate the unique needs of children. Its main goals are teaching coping mechanisms, identifying problematic thought patterns, and regulating intense emotions.

Also check, Benefits of behavioural therapies


Psychotherapy focuses on assisting kids by having conversations with them individually regarding how to express emotions and manage their anger. It might enhance the kid’s self-worth and it can also help them to become skilled.

Also check, Therapies of Autism

3.Family counselling

Family counselling includes mom, dad, siblings and other family members to take part in the therapy session. It can aid in improving family communication and teaching parents some tactics for resolving conflicts with their children to make it safer in the family. In some cases, strengthening the bond between parents and children can enhance family dynamics.

Also check, Tips for personality development

4.Group therapy

To promote empathy in kids and teens, group therapy will help. Group therapy can be performed with the classmates or friends of your kid which might help your kid to develop their social and communication skills.

Also check, How to manage tantrums in kids?

5.Residential therapy

When a kid’s or teen’s behaviour has gotten out of hand, in order to keep everyone safe, he/she can be placed in a highly organised residential treatment centre for therapy.

Also check, Common behavioural disorders in kids

Foods and herbs to manage the symptoms of conduct disorder in kids


All the nuts like almonds, cashew, peanuts and hazelnuts are rich in vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acid. Research has established a link between omega 3 fatty acids and brain development in early childhood. These healthy fats have amazing brain boosting power and play a vital role in enhancing memory and attention span.


Apart from nuts, seeds like sunflower, melon and pumpkins also contain powerful antioxidants like vitamin E that protect the brain from free radical damage. Sunflower seeds impact overall mood and mental processing powers and therefore it is considered a brain boosting snack. Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, copper, and much higher in zinc than other seeds, which help in increasing concentration and memory. One of the easiest to feed brain boosting foods for kids.


Jowar, which is rich in iron, can also lessen ADHD symptoms like anxiety, hyperactivity, and tantrums. Iron has the ability to relax the nervous system, which helps the child with ADHD syndrome to become more at ease.

Also check, 8 Ways to manage hyperactivity


Gotu kola has strong anti-oxidant qualities and enhances cognition, memory, and mental performance. It gently relaxes the nervous system while also encouraging alertness—the best possible state of consciousness for any form of mental focus, study, or cognition.

Also, check 5 Ayurvedic herbs that are safe for kids


Spearmint extract has higher quantities of phenolic compounds that enhance working memory, spatial working memory and increase attention, concentration, and brain function by promoting the formation and protection of new brain cells.


St John’s wort contains chemical messengers like Hyperforin and Adhyperforin. These chemicals has antidepressant properties. The extracts of this herb enhance mood, focus, and also reduce anxiety and insomnia. According to several studies, adolescents with ADHD may benefit from taking St. John’s wort every day for four weeks. It is also used to treat problems including anxiety, exhaustion, appetite loss, and difficulty sleeping that might occasionally accompany depression.


The chemicals in the passion flower provide a calming and relaxing effect. Early research indicates that taking passion flower orally for eight weeks may help some ADHD symptoms in kids aged 6 to 13 years.

Also, check What is Sensory Processing Disorder?


The herb valerian has relaxation properties. Additionally, it contains some anticonvulsant qualities that might be advantageous for kids who are prone to seizure activity. Children with ADHD, cognitive impairment, hyperactivity, irritability, anxiety, behavioural regulation, and neurodevelopmental abnormalities can benefit from valerian for improved attention and sleep.


The most well-known essential oil for soothing is lavender. Lavender essential oil can be helpful for reducing anxiety and making you feel more at ease, which may help with ADHD symptoms. The aroma of lavender oil can calm and soothe the nervous system. Its relaxing qualities can benefit autistic children by enhancing their sleep quality and assisting their bodies in combating emotional stress.

Also check, Brain development food for children


Curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric is known to improve spatial memory, long-time retrieval and visual memory as per a study. It helps in managing anxiety, depression etc which is commonly seen in people with ADHD disorder.

Also, check Asthma: 7 foods that help


Ginkgo biloba is a promising herbal supplement that may alter the neural system in a disorder similar to ADHD. It enhances the memory and cognitive performance. According to a study, Children who took a ginkgo extract daily for three to five weeks showed a decrease in the symptoms of ADHD.

Also check, Activities for brain development


Sunflower lecithin is an excellent source of choline, a vital nutrient required for a variety of health functions. Since choline is a precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory and learning, choline is particularly significant for maintaining good brain function.

Also check, Foods to manage hyperactivity in kids


A research found that the exposure to the aroma of rosemary oil improved people’s performance on thinking tasks in terms of speed and accuracy.

Also check, Healthy diet plan for autism


Foods to avoid

1.Refined sugar:

Excessive sugar impairs cognitive skills as well as self control. Moreover, sugar damages the protein in our body, resulting in ageing of organs, which further compromises immunity, growth and functioning. Greatest source of sugar in the average kid’s diet are sugary snacks and beverages like cookies, cakes, candies, fruit juice, soda, and sports drinks. Everything that the child picks up to eat today has strains of added sugar in some form or the other.

Also check, Healthy alternatives of sugar


Most of the packaged food companies are adding artificial preservatives to delay spoilage and contamination in foods.  Artificial preservatives such as nitrates, benzoates, sulfites, sorbates, parabens, formaldehyde, BHT, BHA and several others can cause serious health hazards such as hypersensitivity, allergy, asthma, hyperactivity, neurological damage.

3.Refined oil:

The high temperature involved in the refining process removes all the natural and beneficial substances from the oil, which is not good for the digestive as well as respiratory health and ultimately affects your immunity.


Casein, is one of the major proteins in dairy product. Casein upon reaction with stomach acid creates an exorphin. Exorphins can cause a variety of problems, including brain fog, fuzziness, difficulty concentrating, and numbness to pain, when they bind to the opioid receptor sites.


It is a protein found in many kinds of cereal like wheat, barley, and rye. These gluten proteins when consumed can aggravate inflammation as the body starts producing antibodies against gluten that may cause an inflammatory reaction in the brain.

Also check, Gluten free recipes for kids


It’s no SECRET that following an Ayurvedic lifestyle has numerous advantages. This unique collection of Kids Ayurvedic Brain Booster is also an easy solution to feed daily nutrition for Brain development to kids without any fuss. Made with Proven Ingredients. No Preservatives or Artificial Colour or Flavour. No Side Effects. Trusted by 20000+ Parents and Practitioners. To know more about kid’s ayurvedic foods – SHOP HERE

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Immunity, Gut health, Digestion, Weight, Brain development, Speech delay, Epilepsy, Eye health, Hormones, Sleep, Hyperactivity, Bones and Overall growth

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