Children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) commonly exhibit aberrant tactile, taste, and smell sensitivity to foods. Food transformation that alters the appearance, texture, and temperature of foods is promising for solving this sensitivity problem. This study evaluated the effect of physical transformation of fruits and vegetables (FV) to snacks to enhance ASD children’s sensory approval for eating them. This was a quasiexperimental design study. It lasted for 4 weeks with three episodes of FV exposure to the ASD children per week. The original condition was conducted in the first and fourth week, while intervention was performed in the second and third week. Food exposure took place in schools in a quiet room. This study recruited 56 ASD children. Food transformation constituted changing bananas into ice-cream, zucchinis and sweet potatoes into chips, apples and kiwis into popsicles, and carrots into juice. FV acceptance and habitual consumption were measured at baseline and postintervention. ASD children increased their consumption of all FV, but only banana consumption was statistically significant from 55.3 to 78.0 g ( < 0.05). For habitual consumption, parents reported increases in all FV consumption for all three measured fruits and 2 of 3 measures of vegetables (pre vs. post mean for bananas: 2.4 vs. 2.9, apples 2.6 vs. 3.2, kiwis 2.4 vs. 2.9, zucchinis 1.9 vs. 2.5, and sweet potatoes 1.8 vs. 2.4;  < 0.05). Physical changes of foods may improve impaired sensory processing of ASD children to promote their FV acceptance. Project Code: RG 55/2019-2020R.

References

PubMed