On Saturday I took the older 3 kids to a local festival (or "vegetable" if you talk to Michael). I let them indulge in a corn dog and we shared a strawberry shortcake. That was it. The rest of the day we ate snacks I packed or a home-cooked meal.
FF to Sunday....our boys were OUT OF CONTROL CRAZY!!!! Oh my gosh! Anyone who says that nutrition does not affect a child's behavior needed to come to my home yesterday and see first hand.
We also see this with Choo Choo when he returns. His aunt/uncle do not eat well at all (very obese) and hit the drive thru more in a weekend than we do in a year. I'm not judging...they do what they do and we do what we do, BUT when it comes to Choo Choo it makes it very hard. He eats anything he wants, walks around with it, and also whenever he wants. Like I mentioned yesterday he ate TWO lunches with them. WHAT? So when he returns and I serve normal portions (especially for a 2 yr old) of healthy food he THROWS A FIT! Breakfast was tough this morning, but he finally realized that was all he was going to get...we don't serve cereal or processed foods for breakfast. Again, no judgement if that is what you do...it's just not what we choose to serve.
There are so many angles, challenges, and situations that we as foster parents encounter....this is just another one. Below is the article I wrote last year....
Nutrition and fostering
My husband Matt and I are the proud adoptive parents to 3 wonderful and energetic boys! One adopted domestically at birth, one adopted from S. Korea when he was 1 yr old and one adopted this past March after arriving as our first foster placement at 5 months old. Additionally we have another foster child whom we have had since 3 days old, currently 15 months. When Matt and I first got married 10+ years ago we were not pictures of health. We ate out a lot, ate a lot of processed foods and pop!
When we first became parents in 2004 things didn’t change much, in fact it wasn’t until we started to see troubling behaviors around the age of 3 that we started to make changes. They were small at first. We tried to not eat out as much and Matt and I cut back on pop. However, our boys continued to grow and we continued to see more behaviors…impulsiveness, wildness, physically aggressive, etc.
In 2008 I decided that more was needed! We decided to cut out as many processed foods as possible, we eat out only once a month or so, I try to make as many things at home out of natural ingredients. We try to use either gluten free or 100% whole wheat in baking, etc. One of the most significant changes came when we cut out food dyes, artificial colors and preservatives! Do you know what many of these things are made from? Petroleum! Yep…the same thing that runs our cars is in our food; some of it is even marketed as healthy! The changes were remarkable! The children were able to focus and attend (we homeschool) to school work and things were just more calm. Well...they are still boys, so there is still a noise/activity factor, but we could really tell the difference J
So what does this have to do with fostering?? It has a couple of things. First, our foster children come to us with a lot of “baggage” and any kind of trauma that they have experience takes hold in their brains. Good nutrition (We use supplements as well such as multivitamins, fish oil, vit. D etc and I highly recommend them!) gives the brain the nutrients and fatty acids that it needs to function optimally. It also affects energy, mood, motivation, memory, stress, and concentration.
Secondly, nutrition is difficult when fostering because the biological families (and some workers) that we have had contact with do not share anywhere near what we believe to be good nutrition. It’s difficult for me to see my foster baby come back from a visit with bright green juice or pop in his cup (he’s 15 mos old). Guess who gets to deal with the hyped up baby loaded with sugar!? A 12 oz can of Coke has 10 tsp of sugar!!! Don’t get me wrong, we do have alternatives to sugar and allow our children non-nutritious things occasionally, but we do see a dramatic difference in their behavior when we do so.I believe that clean eating is the start to healing and with foster children it’s all about healing!