The food we eat can dictate the type of day we will have: whether we have a great day because we ate well and looked forward to our breakfast, lunch or dinner, or we had a bad day because we didn't pack enough to eat or we packed something that upset our stomach.
Nutrition can be as important, if not more important for those indviduals living with FASD. Having enough to eat and eating at the right times can substantially influence how the remainder of the day will be. Sometimes, due to poor problem solving and sensory issues, individuals with FASD are unaware of how to fix a nutrition problem or are unaware that the problem has occurred.
If remembering to pack a lunch and bringing it to work becomes a problem it is important to incorporate long-term strategies that can follow a child or youth later on through life. Something like packing a lunch the night before and labelling it in the fridge is a good place to start. If a strategy like this is started at a younger age with a parent or support worker to remind the child, later in life a level of routine and structure will help the individual remember to take his or her lunch.
To this same effect having a checklist at the door to remind an individual to bring lunch is important. Otherwise, the initial steps of labelling and making the lunch the night before go to waste.
Once the steps are taken to make bag lunches with labels the night before and remember to take them to work happen, it is time to concentrate on what type of food is being packed in the lunch. It may seem silly not to combine these two steps of remembering a lunch and also packing it full of good food, however, breaking this process down into steps will make it more successful in the end.
A fridge is very much like a closet, without a little organization you will never find what you are looking for. Organizing a fridge with labels or compartments will help when it comes to eating healthier meals that can sustain an individual through a day at school or work, In the example below, an individual can clearly see where the bagged lunches are and where available snacks are kept. By organizing the fridge in the family home children will learn this method from an early age, sometimes helping to avoid problems with unhealthy eating.
In general, some individuals will require a level of help with things like grocery shopping and cleaning out their fridge after things have spoiled or have gone unused for long periods of time. However, creating a system of easy maintenance may save an individual from going to work with only a bag of chipes or a can of pop.
Be very careful to introduce foods that will keep the individual full for long periods of time. Hunger can cause poor performance at work and school.
There are a lot of techniques on how to stay full and what foods help your brain process better. See if you can visit a nutritionist with the individual as they may be able to recommend nutritional adjustments that will go a long way.
For now, try some of these simple strategies: