When children in foster care join the family mealtime can become a challenge. Children from difficult places are often accustomed to processed, bland, and low-nutrition foods, not healthy or varied meals. Mealtime behavior aside, just encouraging these children to try new foods can be a trial in itself.

However, family meals don’t have to be a battle ground. As with many things in foster care, the groundwork for meltdown free (and even enjoyable) dining must begin with the parents. Through experience, research, and consulting veteran foster parents, I’ve compiled a few tips to help all families (foster, adoptive, or otherwise) make dinners together peaceful and productive.

Ask for input.

This one is tricky. Obviously if you have five children and ask them what they want for dinner, you’re going to get five different answers. But, offering a choice of two different vegetables or taking a vote on entrees when planning meals can be helpful and make some children look forward to eating together.

Let them help.

Asking or allowing my kids to help make a meal has proven to be the best way to get them to try something new. Sure, meatloaf doesn’t look very appealing, but when I enlisted my kids in cracking the eggs and forming the loaf with their bare hands, it got them excited to try it! And, wouldn’t you know it, now meatloaf (covered in ketchup) is now one of their favorite foods… read more.

This article was published by adoption.com.

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