I was often concerned about Danny’s eating habits. He wasn’t willing to try pizza or pasta until he was 9, and has never tried red meat, fish, or most vegetables. He would have a meltdown if we cooked anything involving fish or olives that he claimed “smelled up the house and caused him pain,” and would be agitated if any prepared meal had anything green on it. As for school lunches, he ate the same thing - a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and apple sauce - every single day for 7 years!
I attributed his picky eating habits to his Asperger’s, but really didn’t understand the problem, and I regret that I initially scolded him for reacting so adversely. Now I know that Danny was, and is, hypersensitive to smells, textures, and flavors, a trait which is not uncommon for those on the spectrum. Certain smells, textures, and flavors, or even the thought of this sensory overload, would cause him to retreat into Defense Mode.
Early on, I would insist that Danny eat what was served, but that didn’t work well at all as he just didn’t eat. I also tried bribing him to try new foods, but that didn’t work either. To keep peace in the family, and to keep him out of Defense Mode before I even knew what Defense Mode was, I became willing to cook separately for him. I tried to keep it simple and if, for example, I made chicken with an elaborate sauce for the family, I’d have some plain cutlets just for him.