Meal Planning & #SpecialNeeds…?! (#Autism)

I had an “aha!” moment yesterday at mom’s group. The speaker was talking about meal planning and, honestly, whenever this is the topic, I never want to attend. When I was married, I was very regimented abut meal planning. Every Saturday morning, I sat down with the flyers and my recipe books, see what was on sale for the week, make a meal plan for the week then take the kids to the market and library. I would buy staples during the week (pasta, rice, meat, etc), and buy fruits and veggies (and a couple of cookies as a treat for the kids while we were out) for the meal plan.

The rest of the weekend, my slow cooker and oven were going, cooking all the meals for the week so I didn’t have to do anything other than remember to thaw that night’s meal, warm it up and serve throughout the week.

After my marriage ended and my kids’ sensory issues became more prominent, I stopped menu planning. They are very restrictive with their foods, based on blandness (is that a word?!) or spice or shapes. I basically have been eating whatever I felt like of the two dinners I make them each night, or just do up a Mr Noodles for myself. I didn’t see the “point” of meal planning anymore.

My “aha!” moment today was that yes, I can still menu plan…I just need to tweak it a bit, same as what I do for pretty much everything else in our lives. So, I created a Menu Planning Template that I wanted to share…which includes space to write what the kids are eating and what the adults are eating. Nothing fancy:

Meal planning template

Please feel free to print off as many as you wish…and offer feedback below in the Comments section.

I’m also hoping (fingers crossed!) to vlog about my journey with getting back into menu planning so be sure to Subscribe to my Youtbe Channel to check in (or remind me to do it!).

Seriously though, I hope this template is helpful for you…and me! 😉

Summer #Detox – Recap of Day 7 – Final Day!

Today is my final day on Hello to Healthy‘s Summer Detox. The smoothies have been delicious! My last morning smoothie is mango:

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I had leftovers for lunch today, and snacks of carrots and spicy hummus. My man took over for dinner again…and although it didn’t follow the menus provided for the detox, followed all the rules, and was as delicious as it looks:


I will be keeping some of the recipes as ones to refer to often, especially having rediscovered the yumminess that is eggplant! 😉

I’ll be honest and say that, with our lifestyle, and my kids’ sensory issues, eating vegan food is not one I can maintain. I feel like I spent most of my time cooking, was often hungry, went through the headaches and bloating (tmi?) that the program “warns” of, and missed my usual comfort foods (especially on Saturday when I attended a funeral and therefore had a very emotional day), but I’m glad I did it. It was really a test of willpower, but I also rediscovered my enjoyment of cooking. When the kids were at their dad’s, I was able to spend Sunday cooking some of the recipes, and with being able to use so many fresh ingredients between my garden and my mom’s, it was that much yummier!

Now to monitor how I feel as I reintroduce my regular foods back…wish me luck!


Follow my journey here:

Anneka gave me the tools, shakes and supplements to fully implement her Summer Detox

in exchange for writing about my experience.

If you are interested in her Summer Detox and/or her consulting services,

please contact her at

Picky Eaters…but what about #SpecialNeeds eaters?

I went to a moms group this morning that meets twice a month. This morning’s speaker (who is absolutely fantastic and an amazing woman!) spoke about picky eaters. Needless to say, the room was filled with more moms than usual. It’s obviously a huge issue. There were some great ideas and suggestions, including replacing the terms “like” and “dislikes” with “I’m hungry enough” or “not hungry enough” when asking for snacks, etc. The speaker suggested telling your kids to try new foods by saying “someday you may like that food, and today could be that day”. Expect your children to at least try a taste of whatever food so they can determine if today is that day.


We started the meeting with brainstorming what the “go to” meals are for families. I even asked the questions on my Facebook Page. I looked at the list when the room was finished and just shook my head. I WISH my kids would eat even half of the meals people listed. I can list off why my son or daughter would or would not eat most of these meals.

meal brainstorming

During the presentation, I thought they were all great ideas…however, how do I translate the suggestions to my kiddos, both of which have sensory issues? My son needs all food to be specific shapes EXCEPT for when it’s crazy processed foods like chips…of course that’s when shapes don’t seem to come into play at all. 😉 My daughter can’t handle ANY kind of spices or herbs. Even salt, pepper or italiano herb mixture is too much for her. She says pizza sauce hurts her so she eats garlic bread/Crazy Bread while her brother and I eat pizza. If I eat something with lemon pepper or other spices in it, she complains that it hurts her nose and one of us has to move across the room.


It wasn’t until my man started cooking for us that I actually realized that the 3 of us eat different versions or completely different foods for each meal. It stressed him out because his son will eat everything he makes (and sometimes bigger quantities depending on growth-spurt status!)…but it was just “normal” for me to make different things for each meal.


When the kids were really young, I mentioned my concern about my kids’ restrictive diets, especially my son’s. He spent about 2 years eating only fruit, rice cakes and pizza. That was it. The fruit didn’t bother me obviously, but rice cakes are really high in sodium, especially that my son would only eat the basil & tomato kind. The pizza wasn’t so bad because I could hide spinach and vegetables in the tomato sauce but still had pepperoni on it. The doctor wasn’t concerned because my son was healthy and growing fast so his diet wasn’t restricting his growth. I met with the dietitian at my doctor’s office too, and she was surprised to find a huge blackhole in the nutrition field specific to kids with special needs. As a parent, I know the Canadian Food Guide and I told her that before out meeting. Her research discovered that it’s not a nutrition thing, it’s a behavioural and desensitizing thing  for our kids on the Autism Spectrum.


So my question still remains though…how do I incorporate some of the great ideas I heard today to increase the diet for my sensory sensitive kids?