How to Feed Your Foster Kids and Yourself

Before becoming a foster mom, I never gave any thought to how I would feed any children placed in our home. I thought, “Hey, I will feed them.” But it’s not that simple.

The food preferences of the six of us currently in the house are: Asian, Latino, Midwest, and what I like to call “random today I eat it, tomorrow I don’t unless it’s bland and then maybe but maybe not.”

Some don’t eat any bread. One pretty much only eats bread. Three out of four kids eat mac and cheese, but one absolutely will not. Three will eat beans, but not the fourth. Two will eat rice. Unless it’s French fries, only one will eat potatoes.

A wise nutritionist once advised me to always put one item on the table that anyone who didn’t want to eat the main meal, could eat. That used to be bread. But now I have non-bread eaters (I know, I know. Bread is so awesome it’s hard to believe not loving it, especially a freshly baked baguette with French butter!)

So every night is now an international smorgasbord. It features one new main and the leftover main(s) from the last night or two. I purposely make more than we can eat in one sitting in order to have those leftovers. So what’s for dinner tonight? One Asian dish, one Texmex, and one Midwest entree with a couple sides of fruit and veggies.

Fusion? It’s not just for upscale restaurants. My budding culinary artists have invented rice topped with potato salad and tacos stuffed with shredded pork, lettuce and ramen noodles. Of course, for the purists, we still have plain ol’ white bread.

Some ask me why I go out of my way to accommodate everybody. Well, feeding your kids – both foster and otherwise – is a requirement. All joking aside, though, there are lots of reasons.

One kiddo’s ADD meds suppresses her appetite and so she tends to be underweight. Another child frequently refuses to eat and has been losing weight. Also, food is one of those links to the kiddo’s cultural heritage. Lastly, if you’ve had a sucky day, because (insert any regular or foster care hardship here), don’t you just want some comfort food to make you feel better?

12 thoughts on “How to Feed Your Foster Kids and Yourself

  1. Gosh, I can only imagine the food trials at your house. The description was dizzying. I only have one kid and navigating the first year with food was really, really tough. She will eat just about anything I put on the table these days, but those first 6 months included a lot of her preferred comfort foods which I would dream of eating. I’m slowly trying to migrate us back to my low meat life pre-adoption. It was so much easier! 🙂

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  2. This is very true. I used to work in a group home at a residential placement and mealtime was the most complicated part of the day because a lot of the children either didn’t want to eat, or didn’t want to stop eating and the “I don’t eat that” never seemed to stop. We had a two bite rule for food you didn’t like and if you didn’t want dinner you could eat pb&j, which in my opinion sucked. For “overeaters” they could only get additional servings of fruits and veggies. Feeding multiple children from multiple backgrounds can be exhaustive but it sounds like you’ve mastered it.

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  3. I have 3 kids, 2 are celiac, the third doesn’t eat dairy. Also here only one eats potatoes that aren’t French fries. And so much more… I hear you! And what you’re doing is very important.

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      1. Independent isn’t allergic to dairy, thankfully. She just doesn’t eat it. Neither did I until I was around six, it must be a family thing… Insightful and Investigator are both celiac. the rule of thumb in this house is that Investigator will probably like it, Insightful probably won’t, and Independent will like it if she’s in the mood 😉

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  4. Luckily, A is a machine and eats anything. Even if I don’t think its the best meal I’ve ever made, A wants seconds. If he hesitates, throw a little ketchup on it and its all good. The stomachs of 4 years are a scary place.

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    1. And now we’re doing respite for Jumping Jack and upon drop off, I was informed that he’ll only eat yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast! He’s tried two kinds of yogurt here so far and liked neither. Luckily,through some weird quirk of fate,I have four varieties. Keeping fingers crossed that the next two are hits. 😉

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