For the last few years I have been trying to teach Ricki what a normal diet is, using one of the older food pyramids as a basis. (The new one is I feel, not as clear to her.) I have printed out papers with the pyramid, with small recommended portion “triangles” which can be filled in as that type of food group is eaten. In addition, I have printed pictures of each food group beside the group.
[image: food pyramid/]
Rather than call it a “pyramid”, I call it the food triangle” (because it is only 2-dimentional on the page).**
For a while I had not been helping her record her food choices, because I realized that she was not trying at all to balance or limit her choices. She would talk about eating healthy, but when all was said and done, she ate whatever she darn well pleased. And I felt that bugging her about her choices would be a waste of time for me, being completely non-productive. Instead I centered on enforcing portion sizes (ie, 1 cup of rice rather than 2; 2 slices of bread as opposed to 4 or 5) as well as I could.
Suddenly on Sunday she requested from me to “write down my foods”. So I agreed, and at the same time I explained WHY one needs different food groups, there being different positive attributes to each group. She did OK in the morning, but overate tremendously at lunch at school (by her list of what she had eaten). This was compounded by her taking a huge amount of bread at supper. When she nudged me to record her food choices, I refused.
“Ricki, the food pyramid is to help you make good food choices. Today you did not try to make food choices, you ate EVERYTHING you wanted. You ate x-y-z-a-b-c for lunch, and several slices too many of bread this evening. We don’t need the food “triangle” to know that you overate, and I am NOT going to waste time just to document and mark that you are overeating. When you want to REALLY eat by way of the triangle, let me know.”
The yesterday morning she requested again, and I agreed. And she did very well all day, except for a late-evening egg and bread “snack”. But she did agree earlier to several reductions/substitutions in her diet. She definitely is trying harder.
I suspect that if I can keep her really well occupied after supper, we just MIGHT have a chance at making some improvements.
** This food pyramid is based on the one in the excellent book by Joan Guthrie Medlen (see HERE and for her informative site (lots and lots of special-needs info, and not only nutrition) HERE)