One of your roles as a foster parent is to help your foster child maintain good health. One of the best ways to do that is to make sure your child eats a healthy diet, which isn’t always easy. If your child is used to eating a diet that consists of hot dogs, fries and soda, there will be resistance to eating healthier foods. Even though your child may not be excited about eating healthier, there are many benefits to adding health foods to your diet.
Eating healthy food is not only important to weight management, but to emotional and mental health. A study published in 2013, concluded that a diet high in unhealthy junk food and low in nutrient-rich food was linked to behavioral and emotional problems, including anxiety and depression in children. To help your child transition to healthier meals, try doing the following:
1. Slowly Introduce Healthy Food
If your child is reluctant to eating healthy food, try adding a small amount of healthy food to their plate during dinner. The goal is to present a healthy alternative to the unhealthy foods that they may crave. If your child is very resistant to change, you can try substituting junk food with a healthier, tastier alternative. For example, if your child loves to eat ice cream, try substituting it for almond milk popsicles. If your child loves French fries, try seasoned pepper sticks, or other healthier alternatives.
2. Cook Together
Studies show that cooking meals with children can help build creativity, math skills, and communication skills, but it can also help the child to learn what healthy food is and how to prepare it. You can prepare a menu each week, ask your child to choose healthy food options, and cook delicious, healthy meals together.
3. Be a Role Model
Many parents want their children to eat healthy, but often eat fast food and sugary snacks. If you want your child to make healthy choices, make eating healthier foods a priority. Start taking healthy snacks such as apples, oranges, or other fruits with you during the day. Get rid of junk food in your cabinets and refrigerator. Create flavorful food that is enjoyable, yet healthy. Your child may not change their food preferences over night, but your food choices can have a powerful impact on them that will help them create better choices.
Florence Edwards, Foster Care Marketing Specialist
Florence has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Florence obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Florence’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Florence continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California. Email: email@example.com | Phone: (888) 346-9645