We were invited to a community awareness day in Bradford yesterday to help raise awareness about the increase of Muslim children going into care and the need for more Muslim carers to improve the quality of care for the children. With the community being mainly from South Asian backgrounds, a lot of the organisations that were present were mainly from the NHS to raise awareness on the importance of healthy eating. This had me thinking about how important it is for families in general to have a healthy eating lifestyle, there are many benefits to this. Healthy eating has a huge impact on behaviours and for a foster child it is important for them to have a healthy diet, so they can have their daily intake of the right nutrients and vitamins. A healthy diet would both increase the physical well being of the child along with the mental and emotional well being.
In majority of the cases the children who go into foster care, go in due to abuse, neglect and so forth. Their memory of meals and food isn’t that great either. In the recent years, there have been various celebrities and Government initiatives have beaten the drum for healthy eating, and none more so than the recent campaign by celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, who wants the Government to introduce a tax on sugary drinks.
Eating habits of children and young people are learned behaviours, so to create an environment whereby children can make healthy food choices is one of the best steps you can make as a foster parent. Whether it’s erratic eating, under eating or unhealthy eating, children and young people who find themselves in care may have experienced different things during mealtimes, and that’s why it’s important you approach the matter of healthy eating with an open and non-judgemental mindset.
We understand that every foster parent has their own methods of promoting healthy eating within the relationship. However, we feel that a lot of it comes down to whether you’re leading by example in terms of the food and drink you’re eating together as a family, if you’re continuously praising the child for any healthy food choices they make, as well as allowing them to make their own choices and suggestions regarding food.
Eating healthy and nutritious food is a critical factor to the success of every fostering relationship, but if you require any further advice or information on the subject, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.