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Recipes for Children with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities

Updated on July 20, 2016

Healthy Child is a Happy Child with a Decrease in Behavioral Issues


Chicken Fingers, Hamburgers, and Pizza.

As parents of children with special needs we know that our children have sensory integration issues which cause stomach and eating issues. No matter how hard we try it is really hard to get our children to eat a variety of foods. If you are one of the parents whose child only eats chicken fingers, hamburgers or pizza then this article is written for you.

JT Walter's son has autism. He was strictly a chicken fingers, cheeseburger and pizza child. The aforementioned were all processed foods and JT Walters wanted Alex off processed foods for his general health and to keep his weight She had to come up with a plan so she slowly but surely transitioned him off his staples of chicken fingers, cheeseburgers and pizza which caused issues like obesity and high blood sugars to a diet of whole fruit and vegetables and diverse proteins.

She started by making venison meatballs. Tonight she shares this recipe with you in her most humble make free videos. Because JT Walters believes all parents are in it together in raising healthy children.

Really Free Venison

Venison is organic, open range, hormone free, and antibiotic free, lean free meat.
Venison is organic, open range, hormone free, and antibiotic free, lean free meat. | Source

Recipes for Children with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities

Cast your vote for Venison Meatballs

So Is It Possible to Get Children Off Processed Foods?

Absolutely! Walters has no doubt that obesity is directly related to the amount of processed foods consumed. A high fiber diet including vegetables and fruits as well as proteins is incredibly important to maintain a low body mass index(BMI). It does require persistence on part of the parent though moderated with common sense. If the child will eat venison but with ketchup you have won half the battle.

JT Walters has made this journey with her son Alex over the last five(5) years and despite the fact he has mitochondrial disease his blood sugars have stabilized and his BMI is at 17% which significantly decreases the likelihood of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many other adult onset diseases. Give the Alex has not only Autism but Mitochondrial Disease made this transition from processed foods to whole foods so important in Alex's life.

In general, it was also difficult for their family to eat at a restaurant that did not serve chicken fingers, cheeseburgers or pizzas. Now they can eat out anywhere and Alex eats almost anything put in front of him. The last time they ate at outback restaurant he ate his black angus burger, the entire blooming onion, his mother's filet mignon and her salad. It all started with Alex learning to like venison meatballs. As this article is being written he is helping himself to a second helping.

Fried and Baked Venison Meatballs


Why Eat Venison?

Venison Meatballs

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 50 min
Yields: Approximately 48 meatballs.


All you need to make the perfect venison meatballs.
All you need to make the perfect venison meatballs. | Source

Venison Meatballs

  • 2lbs Venison Beef, Ground
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup Parmesan
  • 3/4 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced and Fried
  • 1-2 tablespoons Salt, Kosher
  • 1/2 Lemon, Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper, Ground
  • 2 teaspoons Thyme
  • 4-5 dashes Worcester sauce.

Step By Step Video Guide

So I video Taped JT Walters while making meatballs tonight. That way you can follow the recipe and follow along with her as she cooks. You can see for yourself venison meatballs are very easy to prepare although the camera work could be better.

Getting Rid of the Gamey Task of Venison.

Why is Venison A Good Transition Meat to Get Your Child to Diversify Their Diet

Children with Autism frequently experience Gastro-esophageal reflex disorder also known as GERD. It makes eating challenging and even some times painful especially with fatty foods. This can lead from anything to indigestion to vomiting after eating. We are aware that fatty foods like Fried Chicken exacerbates this condition. In all probability the three foods which of Chicken fingers, Cheeseburgers and Pizza, all high fat foods, were an unpleasant eating experience for children with GERD. Eating those foods probably decreased the likelihood of them attempting other foods.

Venison is much lower in fat thus reducing the risk of causing them to have worse GERD. It in all probability will be a pleasant dining experience. In addition, the nutritional value makes it an optimal protein source for children with special needs.

Reduce Risk of Heart Problems, Great Alternative for Food Allergies and Aids in Metabolism

Recipes for Children with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities; Venison Part 2

Venison Nutritional Facts

Realistic Expectations

When you read this hub you are probably thinking several things. JT will walk through them with you.

  1. "Processed foods as a sole dietary are source are not healthy and do cause behavioral and health issues." This is true.
  2. "My child will starve before eating venison." It is highly unlikely and JT did research this subject extensively. Your child may not like venison. JT has friends who dislike it who do not have diagnosed special needs. However when she prepares it they eat it. You have to begin to diversify your child's diet at some point. Today is as good as any.
  3. "There is irrefutable proof that venison is much healthier than most meats commercially available". This is true but it is a hard meat to obtain unless you have friends who hunt.
  4. Due to the fact that venison is not a delicacy you can get it rather inexpensive. JT obtains hers free through the gracious generosity of hunters but it would have been much more expensive had she tried to diversify her son's diet with store bought meats.
  5. "It is impossible." JT says with time and persistence your child will eat more diverse foods. You just have to keep reintroducing new foods and realizing hunger is the best cook. JT would remind you your children have been doing this too you since they were babies opting for the fruit over the cereal and vegetables. Be consistent and your child's diet with diversify.

Venison vs. Beef

Recipes for Children with Autism and Other Developmental Disorders; Venison Part 3

Sensory Integration and Eating in Children with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities

Despite what maybe reported by Behavior Analysts their are physiological reasons children with Autism and other Developmental Disabilities have for limiting which foods they eat.

  • GERD is a huge reason children with autism do not want to expand their diets.
  • Texture of foods also is a sensory integration issue which most children with autism and other developmental disabilities suffer which makes it unlikely for them to try different foods. For instances the texture of beans may be gross to those who suffer from sensory integration issues.
  • Food allergies.
  • Celiac Disease
  • et al.

Unless all physiological issues are ruled out which is expensive and invasive then the assumption should be that it is not a behavior problem. This is the community of special needs where support is given and judgement has no place. Venison is a pretty benign food to try but children with severe GERD have difficulty eating any meat at all. It is worth trying with the approval of the GI doctor if your child has one.

Recipes for Children with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities Part 4

Freezing Contents

Place in ziplock freezer bag and freeze. Remove as needed. They are handy to have around if you are going to try have your child with autism or other developmental disabilities transition to a new food. You will have about 48 meatballs to start off with. Just add two or three to their spaghetti. Or slice them and add them to their pizzas.

JT wants you to know while Alex's diet is carefully monitor for health reasons she has been known to have pancakes for dinner on occasion.

All we can do as parents is, with love in our hearts, try our best each and everyday. If we are consistent and persistent sometimes our prayers are answered and some we are still waiting to be answered.

Alex however does eat a large variety of foods now even though JT will readily admit she still fights with him over eating his vegetables.

Freeze them and keep reintroducing them.

Venison Meatballs I the Freezer,
Venison Meatballs I the Freezer, | Source


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