I was a little nervous when asked by my friend, Kylie from Kidgredients, to write a post about my son’s typical lunchbox for her “Don’t judge my lunch” series.
My son’s lunch is not pretty or healthy. And to be honest, I’m not altogether proud of everything that I put in there.
I was (and still am) worried about being judged.
But as I thought more about it, I realised there was a very good reason that his lunchbox has evolved the way it has.
It may not be considered healthy, beautiful, practical or tasty by most standards. But it does meet his sensory needs, which is equally important for anyone on the autism spectrum.
Many autism parents struggle with getting their kids to eat anything at all, let alone food that is healthy.
Like many other kids with autism, my son prefers predictable and bland food – chicken nuggets, potato chips, macaroni & cheese, pies and cheese pizza being his preferred meals.
So it’s no surprise that these preferences also play a big role in the look of his lunchbox too.
But the make up of his lunch is also determined by his sensory needs.
Gilbert is under-sensitive which means that he tends to seek more sensory input than most people. He seeks deep pressure, loves spinning and jumping and has a very high pain threshold (which has caused a few issues for us all in the past!)
I have found over the years that providing him with food with extra crunch helps give his mouth and oral sensory system a workout which, in turn, helps keep him calm. This meets some of his extra sensory needs, due to his under-sensitivity, and helps keep him on track during the day.
My son’s lunchbox may look highly processed, predictable and not really that healthy. But take a closer look and you’ll see that everything in his lunchbox has a purpose. Even if it’s sole purpose is to be a treat.
Check out my post at Kidgredients on my son’s sensory lunchbox to discover what a sensory lunchbox is and how you can put one together for your own kids as well.
And tell me – do you ever pack a sensory lunchbox too?