We enjoy food for more than just nourishment. To us, mealtimes and sharing a meal together is a social experience and trying new and exciting food is part of our social zeitgeist. For foster children, however, their relationship with food might be very different for any number of reasons. Here are some ways to talk to them about food and promote healthy eating for your foster children.
Discuss Their Relationship with Food
Food can invoke a strong emotional response in us, whether it’s memories associated with a specific food type, around a specific meal or just food in general. If food has been scarce in your foster child’s life, they may be hesitant to eat regular amounts or have feelings of guilt. Talk to your agency, such as FCA Scotland to determine what kind of history they have with food. Next, talk to your foster children about food and mealtimes and learn about their favourites, and what meals they don’t like.
Always Have Fresh Fruits Available
Instilling the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables with your foster children from a young age is essential to ensure they grow up to appreciate the nutritional value of these foods. While getting kids to tuck into a big bowl of green vegetables might be tough, fruit can be easier. Try and always have fresh fruit available to them that they can pick up and eat at any time, like a bowl of apples or fresh oranges they can eat when they’re peckish. Go a step further by incorporating this fruit into mealtimes by adding some banana to morning oats or some fresh apple into a salad with dinner.
Avoid Quick Snack Foods
Snack foods and convenience foods are full of all the bad stuff when it comes to diet. They’re often loaded with sugar and are high in fat and salt. It makes them taste great but it’s not exactly the healthiest thing. Helping develop good habits when it comes to snacks and drinks is essential. Try and keep these snack foods like crisps, chocolates and sweets for occasional treats, and not every day. A good rule of thumb is to limit them to once or twice a week. Instead, keep healthy snacks around, like nuts or fruit.
Practice Good Portion Control
When it comes to overindulging, it’s often not about the food we eat, but rather the quantities that we consume. Portion control is an important part of developing a healthy relationship with food. Making sure that your foster child has a good meal is definitely about giving them the right foods, but also about giving them the right amount of food. There is a lot of great advice around portion control, so have a look at some of it and make yourself familiar with it.
By promoting a good, healthy and balanced diet, you’re setting your foster children up for a positive relationship with food. Remember to allow the occasional treats and definitely enjoy mealtimes as a family as well as the bonding time it can create.