4 Tips to Help Your Long-Term Foster Child Eat a Healthier Diet


Most adults are well aware of how appealing junk food can be to children. Let’s face it, if a child were to create a nutritional plan, there’s a good chance it would be void of anything healthy, such as lean proteins, vegetables and whole grains. But if you’re a foster carer, it’s your job to look after your foster child, which includes ensuring they eat a well-balanced diet. That’s not always an easy task.

If you’ve got a long-term foster child in your care who doesn’t exactly love the idea of healthy eating, we’ve got four tips that can help make the transition to a well-balanced diet smoother.

Embrace Meal Planning

One of the biggest hurdles in making healthy meals is coming up with ideas at that moment. After a busy day, everyone is hungry for dinner and you may not have a lot of ideas swirling around in your head. This is why meal planning is so essential. You can plan the meals for a week, two weeks, or even a month if you like. It takes the guesswork out of it, and it ensures you have the necessary ingredients on-hand for each meal.

Another benefit of meal planning is that you can let your foster child take part. Ask them to name a few of their favourite meals, dishes, recipes or items and you can weave them into the plan. There are even meal-planning apps to make things more organised and some include healthy recipes.

Experiment with Different Spices and Herbs

Sometimes, healthy eating can feel boring, and the flavours may not be exciting. This is when spices and herbs can be a huge helper as they add interest to the meal. Expect some bumps in the road as you experiment with different options and flavour combinations, and keep track of which ones your foster child enjoys.

A few spices and herbs that tend to be child-friendly include:

  • Rosemary
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Smoked paprika
  • Clove
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Dill
  • Basil

You may need to play around with how much/little you add too, starting small and adding more if they enjoy it.

Model Healthy Eating at Mealtimes

Long-term fostering is all about creating a healthy, stable, comfortable, consistent and loving environment. It’s not enough to simply tell kids to do something; you too need to model the behaviour. When it comes to healthy eating, the adults in the household must also embrace a well-balanced diet that is high in nutritional value.

Make Dinner a Family Event

Finally, you want to be sure you’re setting yourself up for success, which requires consistency. Mealtimes should take place roughly at the same time each day, and whenever possible, it should be a family event. Breakfast and lunch may not have everyone around – the kids could be at school, for example – but dinner should have everyone there at the table. Not only is it a chance to share a healthy meal, but it’s an opportunity to discuss everyone’s day, communicate and bond.

Getting your foster child to eat a healthier diet won’t happen overnight; instead, it’s a process, so you will need to stay consistent and patient.


Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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