Foster kids and food… It sure can be a fucked-up relationship.

January 23, 2011 at 7:10 pm 68 comments

**Helpful tips towards the end…

So, this morning I woke up and as soon as I opened my eyes, a DONUT flashed before me.  I thought I was hallucinating, so I blinked my eyes and looked around…no donut.   But the image of a Krispy Kreme Chocolate Ice Creme Filled Donut freaking haunted me from the bathroom to the kitchen to down and up the stairs with the dogs.  Oh shit…have you evep to ar had one of those?  Let me put it this way, they are so sweet that my lips pucker when I eat one.

I understand that some of you may not know what a Krispy Kreme is….before you die, FIND OUT.

Donuts kick depressions’s ass!.

Krispy Kreme is famous for the donut machine that they use… the first one in the Smithsonian (CLICK HERE).   I have never been to the Smithsonian and dont know anything about it, but in the Krispy Kreme store, there are newspaper articles about it.  Honestly, the freaking donuts should be in the Smithsonian!!  You can smell them down the street…. and they melt in your mouth upon impact.

All I cared about was the donuts in my mouth…stuffing my feelings away.



Eating issues and disorders are not really funny. They can destroy lives, even if you don’t die from them.  When you read my blog, it is does come across humorous, but the truth is, my relationship with food is FUCKED UP.   Surprise!

Most foster kids relationship with food is


 I am always amazed at how many foster parents DO NOT understand food issues or freak out about them.  Seriously.  Really freak out about them…

This blog should help you guys gain some perspective on the issue and work towards “healing” the child’s food issues.  So calm down, stop freaking out that you found a month old, half-eaten banana in under the bed,….. and breathe.


Have you ever been starving?  I don’t mean “oh, I didn’t eat dinner TODAY” starving — I mean you are so fucking hungry you eat paper to try to stop the pain in your stomach?   or carpet?  Starving where you can feel your stomach eating itself.  That type of starving?   For weeks?   For longer?  Have you?

I can remember one time being so hungry I decided to eat carpet from the floor.  I was literally laying on the floor and pulling the carpet out with my teeth and eating it.  The carpet was red and at the time it smelled good and I believed that it would stop me from being hungry…  Other times I cried to my brother that I was so hungry.  Know what his solution was?   He found some newspaper and ripped it up and “showed me” how to eat it.  Two little kids sitting on the ground eating newspaper to  stop the starving.  I ate all kinds of paper in my life.

At some point, the starving feeling stops.  And then if you eat anything, you get sick.  It’s a shock to your body to have food and you puke or your stomach hurts or you get diarrhea because its not used to having something in it.  This sometimes happened during the summer months, when there was no free lunch because there was no school.

Have you ever wondered when your next any food item will come– when your parents will put something in the refrigerator or the cabinet?  Anything at all?  And you give up waiting and search the trash cans, willing to eat bread that is soggy?   Or half-eaten pizza that you  find under table trash and cigarette ashes from a restuarant?


Welcome to my world.

So, when I got to foster care and there was food everyday…

I did not know what to do.

Eat it all immediately in case there was no more tomorrow?

Steal it and hide it all over, so I was sure to have some in case there was no more?

Not eat?  — Because when you eat and then there is none again….the pain gets worse.

I did it all.  What seems to drive foster parents nuts is kids (a) consuming everything and (b) hoarding and hiding food all over the place.  I hid it in the closet, I hid it under the bed, I hid it under the mattress, I hid it in the pillow, and I hid it in clothes. I hid it anywhere that I thought it would be safe and where it would be MINE.  Fucking everywhere.  And man some foster parents would get pissed off big time…


It makes perfect sense!!!   Comon’ – why punish a kid for doing what they are doing to survive? Fuck.  I remember in one foster home when they found out I was hiding food;  they “spanked” me and didn’t let me eat dinner — threatening the same punishment again if I didn’t stop hiding food.  WTF?   How is that helpful?

It’s normal behavior… in kids from abnormal worlds!!

I am always astonished that foster parents freak out about this — It makes so much sense.  Put yourself in our shoes — we are surviving….


So what can help both the child and the foster parents??  Lord knows I am no therapist, but here are a few tricks that worked with me over the years….  I’ve mentioned the first one before, but it is so good, it needs to be mentioned again…

1.) Get a rubbermaid container and label it with your foster child’s name.  Maybe even let them pick it out!  Put it next to the bed, under the bed, in the closet, where-ever the child wants it.  Let the child fill it with food — anything they want.  All theirs.  Anything.  Every 2-3 days, go through the container WITH THE CHILD, removing food that is rotting, spoiling, etc.  Discuss it.

HEAR THIS: Do not remove items without the child being with you.   The child will know it is missing and you are taking control away from the child. Together — remove items.

Once a child feels safe that food will be available when needed, the hiding/hoarding usually ends.


2.) Don’t argue over mealtimes.  If a child does not want to eat, do not force it.  Forcing a child to eat everything on the plate or to eat at all, is using food as a power-tool.  It adds to the already existing problem.  If the child chooses not to eat, be prepared to provide a healthy alternative later.  Sometimes there are reasons a child does not want to eat a certain item. For example:  mayonaise or any white cream sauce or egg whites might remind the child of being sexually assaulted (semen)…. red sauce might remind the child of blood… pizza might have been the only thing the child ate from a trash can… you see?


3.) Don’t overwhelm the child with “new foods.”  The child in your home may never have had chicken, or lasagna, or…..??  The child may have lived on a diet of pizza and bread and bologna.  Be gentle when expecting the child to eat what you make.  They may have come from a different world!  Be prepared to explain what you are eating and to eat first. I can remember at times watching Ms. Liz, my first foster mom, eat first, before I put anything in my mouth.



4.) Set rules/boundaries around food.  For example:  “LT, if you are going to eat candy, you have to eat an apple first” or “LT, you can have 2 pieces of candy, not 20.”    These will come with some resistance, but it helps to set healthy eating patterns, which the child may not know.


5.) Never punish a child by threatening no food.  Period. Don’t threaten “no dinner.”  Don’t threaten “going to bed without dinner” … anything like that.  This sets up a battle of control and more problems around food.  Many foster children are used to “no dinner” so by doing this, you are putting them back into their old world.



6.) At times offer food the child is accustomed to, if the child asks.  This just shows that you are trying to connect.  If the child’s favorite is bologna with pickles, offer it once and awhile if the child asks.  That was part of their world before coming to you.

So what about eating issues — well they usually stem from abuse,  control,  and feelings that are not dealt with appropriately.  GET A THERAPIST for the child CONSISTENTLY…

Food is a lifeforce and thus not eating or eating too much or puking it all out is control over life. In some people with no love in their life — food becomes “love” — something that would never betray you, abandon you, hurt you, hit you, abuse you….

... and until a child can begin to feel “safe love” and to understand that their needs will be met, food problems may continue.

… even into adulthood..

…just look at me….

…and a dozen donuts.


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are YOU guilty of treating foster kids like trash? fucked up rules of foster care… anyone?

68 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Heather  |  January 23, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    LT, you are brilliant. What you write is always so incredibly insightful. I really hope you will write a book some day.

    Thank you for again letting us into your life and for giving us a better understanding of foster kids and what they go through.

    Hope you are well and your arms are healing! Have a good night, LT, and thank you for the gift of your writing 🙂

  • 2. Crumble  |  January 23, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    LT, you really have a gift. This is such an incredible post. I LOVE when you give tips – they are always so practical and applicable!

  • 3. Lee  |  January 23, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    This is such a good post and I hope all foster parents or social workers who train them somehow get to see this. One of my children had serious food issues for a long time. His thing was sweets too. (like you he still has a sweet tooth, but he also eats healthy stuff) In his foster home he used to sneak a whole pan of goodies and got punished every time. We decided if he could see that he would always get as much dessert as he wanted that he would eventually stop feeling scared about the food. So we began having dessert every night. Cakes, brownies, cookies, ice cream. Whatever. And let him choose. For a while he would sneak it. For awhile he would have seconds (which I never said anything about). Now he is happy with a dessert at supper and a bowl of ice cream as a snack before bed. (he is nearly 15 and growing like a weed) I hope you enjoyed every bit of those donuts. I had them when we were in Chicago and they are delicious!

  • 4. michelle vandepol  |  January 23, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    fabulous tips. i agree you probably have a book in your future 🙂
    ♥ michelle

  • 5. abby's momma  |  January 23, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    I know a mother who did your box under the bed trick. It certainly worked in her household. We didn’t have to deal with that issue here fortunately.

    I’m always impressed that you are able to see clearly workable solutions for the problems you’ve dealt with in the past. That’s actualy a rare skill.

  • 6. Minty  |  January 23, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Thank you for all these tips. I hope to be a foster parent someday (if my girlfriend will agree that she isn’t really too impatient to be around children), so I’ll be keeping this in mind. I agree, Krispy Kreme donuts are amazing.

  • 7. Cecile  |  January 24, 2011 at 7:11 am

    I’ve been catching up on your writing the past week or so, I just want to let you know I think you’re a brilliant writer and an incredibly strong person. I especially love reading your tips for foster parents as I hope to foster some day when I’m older.

  • 8. Kari  |  January 24, 2011 at 8:37 am

    This post should be required reading for all foster and adoptive parents. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. What you have to say is very important.

  • 9. attachment parent  |  January 24, 2011 at 10:11 am

    When my foster son moved in, he ate granola with milk every meal at my house for a month or so — breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    then, after a month or so, he stopped eating granola and never ate it again.

    I didn’t care because we had so much going on, it was a small thing. Though when he stopped eating granola I had stocked up and it took me a long time to get rid of it.

    If insight equaled healing, and how we all wish it did, your broken heart would be all better. You are a remarkably insightful person, L.T. and I wish you the very best.

    And I hope Dr. Val adopts you, or if she can’t, someone does. You would be a great kid for a loving parent.

  • 10. Lindsay  |  January 24, 2011 at 10:20 am

    You write so well LT! Thanks for your post.

  • 11. FGGS  |  January 24, 2011 at 10:23 am

    LT -you are truly a brilliant writer. Such insight! Please don’t ever stop writing. You are such an amazing individual. I only wish you the very best in life.

  • 12. Brittney  |  January 24, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    i am so glad i’ve stumbled across your blog. my husband and i have 3 foster children, hopefully adopted soon, and their issues with food are so thick and so complex. we’re learning as we go hot to assure them they will never go hungry again and setting up good boundaries so they don’t feel like they need to hoard or sneak. not as easy as i thought. thank you for the brutal honesty.

  • 13. butterflysblog  |  January 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Sweet LT – What a fantastic post! I have never understood threatening any child, but especially a foster child, with food! Everybody should get to eat as much as they need and/or want every time they want. Shit, I let my dog self-regulate her own food by keeping her food in a big drawer in our kitchen, and it is always open for her. She eats as much as she wants whenever she wants it, and she is a skinny dog who only eats for nourishment.

    By the way, Krispy Kremes are the BEST!! The only Krispy Kreme in our area closed last year, and we have had to exist on Dunkin Donuts ever since.

  • 14. Erin  |  January 24, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I love krispy kreme! Now I’m craving them. My rule is that I only get to buy two, because otherwise I’ll eat a dozen, too!

  • 15. Jessica  |  January 24, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Thank you so much for this helpful and incredibly personal insight into the experience of foster children. The direction and care you offer foster parents is potentially life-changing for many.

  • 16. The Sleeper  |  January 24, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Great suggestions. Food issues are so prevalent in foster children that foster parents could really use this information.

  • 17. Eilan  |  January 24, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    My aunt will adopt a child soon, I’m considering translating this to her ^^
    Very helpfull. Thank you LT.
    You deserve everything good!

  • 18. zero21764  |  January 26, 2011 at 12:02 am

    I am lucky I never ended on the streets as a foster child food was one of the things blessed to me, Thanks for your post!

  • 19. Katelyn  |  January 26, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Wow. Thank you for this.

  • 20. jendoop  |  January 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Thank you for this post from another foster parent. I love your tips! Thanks!

  • 21. Rach  |  January 26, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Thank you! As a foster parent, this is so great.

  • 22. Sharon  |  January 31, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Wow! Your post made me cry.

    Two of my children were adopted as infants, but were exposed to extreme hunger early in life. Even though they were too young to remember where that knowledge comes from, they will always know that hunger. I can see it in their current relationships with food.

    Thank you for putting your experience out there for others to read. People need to know, so we can work to end hunger, and help those who have experienced it.

  • 23. katieinwonderlandx  |  April 1, 2011 at 5:17 am

    wow. i really realted to this. at 21 years old, i have some terrible hoarding habits. my relationship with food is terrifying and i will binge terribly, as if im worried that whatever i dont manage to get down me, will suddenly dissapear. I feel unsafe unless i have food of every kind hoarded in my room, and often find rotting packets of buiscuits etc under my bed, which i dont even remember putting there. Your tips for foster parent swere fantastic, and i plan to send them on to my aunt who is a fantastic foster parent, and would really appreciate them ❤

  • 24. Bee  |  June 29, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Thanks LT…I came across your post after googling food issues in foster children. We recently got custody of our 6 year old niece, who has spent the last 2 years in foster care/kinship care. She has some serious food issues and my husband and I thought we were over-reacting because she is a new kid to us. After seeing this and some other stuff I think It is the result of the neglect that she doesn’t even remember. She was lucky in her foster home, they were wonderful. But her parents and the time with her Gma, I just don’t know. Best of luck to you

  • 25. Jules  |  July 2, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I have been reading alot of your blog, I can tell you are a very caring lovely person, you didn’t deserve the bad things that happened to you. My foster mother was abusive, used to try and control me in every way and once force fed me and I nearly choked, she is a very evil woman. so I really relate to what your saying.

  • 26. Joleen LaMew  |  August 22, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Dear L.C. I am amazed at your insight. I had a starved child in my foster home and what you said was right on target. We didn’t put the bucket in his room but had a snack bucket in the kitchen for whenever he needed it. After a trip to the hospital for dehydration from eating and vomiting when he first arrived we learned to give snacks every couple of hours until he quiet asking. I was so amazed at his strength on overcoming some of his eating issues. I know this will be a life time struggle for him but with love and encouragement him like you will recover from the nightmare. I always told him it wasn’t stealing if his stealing food was to survive. More people need to understand that our basic instinct is to survive and if we have to beg borrow or steal we will all do it.
    God Bless you and I am so glad I found your blog
    I do write the news letter for our foster parent support group I would like to include this your blog in the news letter thank you

  • 27. Foster Care Street « I Was A Foster Kid  |  August 28, 2011 at 1:00 am

    […] Cookie monster has an unhealthy relationship with food.  His diet consists of cookies, which he shoves into his mouth at rapid speed.  Most foster children have fucked up relationships with food.  They hide food, hoard food, eat weird things.  I sometimes ate everything till I puked and something ate nothing, preparing for starvation when I moved homes.  As a kid, I sometimes ate paper, sometimes carpet, sometimes banana peels, sometimes other random things to try and stop the starving. As an adult, my relationship with food is still unhealthy.  (Click here for guidance with food issues). […]

  • […] Foster kids and food… It sure can be a fucked-up relationship. « I Was A Foster Kid. […]

  • 29. Fiona  |  December 14, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    LT, I wanted to thank you with all my heart not just for this, but for all your posts. I didn’t know what to say the first time I was here, I was so emotional.
    I wasn’t a foster kid, but this post touched me, because it describes my relationship with food and why. I love your tips – I struggle with hoarding too as becomes especially clear when I’m in hospital and am hiding food all over the place! Thank you for helping me to understand myself a bit better.
    One day I want to be a foster mum myself. You have already given me some ideas on how to hopefully make it a better experience for any future children I have the honour of caring for.
    Thank you. you are truly inspiring. xx

  • 30. doesmybumlookbiginthis  |  December 14, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    I know nothing about foster care, but this blog post has been so insightful and heartfelt 🙂 xx

  • […] told you before I have a fucked up relationship with food (HERE).  Many foster kids, foster alumni, and abuse survivors struggle with food; some eat too much, […]

  • 32. Silverflamerider  |  April 30, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make me eat. Even at 25 almost 26 there are days where I hate myself & use food as a way to control the pain. To punish myself.

    • 33. Melissa Manske  |  December 4, 2012 at 1:03 am

      I’m sorry that you went through so much pain.

  • […] ice cream cups and eat ONE to satisfy my need for the comfort and soothing I get from junk food.  (if you need a reminder about food issues in foster kids, click here).  This seemed like a brilliant idea.  I chose a mix of edy’s peanut butter cup, ben and […]

  • 35. Julie  |  August 27, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    I think I’m ok now but looking back at my life I realize I have a somewhat bad relationship with food. Mine I think are pretty mild to what you have described but I think they were worse when I was younger, its just that I didn’t realize I had any problems and that they were because of my childhood.

    Except for when I was really young I was always a chubby kid but I would eat large amounts for my age and always eat my food super fast. I eat much slower now but that is because I wanted to lose weight and wasn’t sure why I ate so fast all the time. My mom was in charge of feeding us and there were times when we were hungry but we never starved. In fact because of my step-mom I developed bulimia during 2nd grade. She used to make us eat all the food on our plates even when we tried to tell her we couldn’t eat anymore then she would watch us eat and tell us to eat faster so she didn’t have to sit there and make sure we would eat all our food.

    She would threaten, ‘if you don’t hurry up and eat that I’m going to feed you myself’. I was afraid she would shove it down my throat so I tried to eat it quickly but no matter how fast I went it was never quick enough for her. I would literally be sitting there with my mouth so full of food that I could barely chew and food was starting to fall back out of my mouth trying to shove more in there because I was terrified of what she would do if I didn’t. Then to top it all off we had to finish off a whole glass of milk with every meal too. Not just a little glass either, a full size 16oz glass of milk. She only watched us eat when my dad wasn’t home and told him we just didn’t want to eat her food because we didn’t like her food or because we didn’t like her because she wasn’t our real mom.

    When I started throwing up after even just one bite they took me to a food therapist and after every session my dad would give me some of my favorite cookies (I always thought this was a good memory and never connected it to the whole food thing because I had always thought I went to counseling because I was being picked on a lot at school, only a few years ago when I asked my dad why he did that did he tell me why I went to therapy and why he gave me those cookies) to try to get me to eat again. I think this is why I have trouble with self control and portion sizes even now. I eventually got used to eating big portions as I got bigger and would stuff myself on food, I just had to make sure I ate all the food on my plate when I served myself as a house rule. Even now sometimes I feel I have to eat all that I served myself even if I’m already full and I tend to serve myself for my eyes rather than my stomach. The other part of it is I have a hard time eating only a little bit if I really like the food. If it is something I like I will eat it till I’m really stuffed if I don’t like it I won’t eat it or I’ll eat only a little bit. I think its because they got me to enjoy eating by giving me something I enjoyed. So I have really poor impulse control when it comes to sweets or cheese since I really like that too. But I guess I could have gotten those even if I wasn’t treated horribly, guess we’ll never really know what our lives would have been if things were different. 🙂

    It really sucks when you have so many things wrong with you and you want to fix them but its so hard because its practically ingrained in you. I came to a point where I just wanted to give up because I had so many things wrong with me and they weren’t even my fault but now I’m an adult so it was my responsibility to fix them because I couldn’t blame my parents forever and I didn’t want to be that old bitter person who blames things on everyone else and just accepts her life as it was rather than trying to become a better person and not have to live with that anymore. It felt like there was so much responsibility on my shoulder and I didn’t even know where to begin, I had a hard enough time just dealing with the problems never mind fixing them. Wow this has turned into a really long comment but it feels good to tell someone about my past and a small part of what it was like growing up living with people who are supposed to love and protect you but instead hurt you or stand aside and pretend it isn’t really happening.

    L.T. I hope that you find a better life than the one you’ve had so far. Please don’t give up trying to change the things you’re struggling with. Life will always be hard one way or another but in the end you control who you are and what you do. It may be an uphill battle but at least you’ll be doing it for yourself and being who you want to be. My past was no where near as bad as yours I can tell but I hope you can put it behind you and start focusing on the future you have a head of you. Thank you for writing all you have, I know you’re helping others out there by just letting others know.

  • 36. Trey  |  October 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    LT, thank you for the insightful explanation into your own food obsessions. My coworkers and I were discussing one day while in the break room how you can tell a previously deprived person from one who has never experienced hunger through their eating habits. Guys like me and my friend would eat every chip in the bag or every crumb of a snack cake, then lick the inside of the bag or wrapper clean, sparing nothing. Even when eating off a plate, we would make sure that every morsel was consumed. In contrast, the others would consciously throw away uneaten food or a wrapper that still had the icing on it. I wouldn’t dare do such a thing.
    Julie, you bring up an interesting point. I do the exact same thing that your step mom did – I make my kids eat everything on their plate. However, I ration the plates to their eating habits so that they are only forced to eat what they have already shown an ability to consume. In most cases, they will actually more after the initial plate. I bring this up because this is survival instinct I picked up when deprived food. Maybe this is the case with your step mom. Just something to think about.

  • 37. Jessica  |  October 25, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    I am doing research on Emotional Eating Among Foster Children and was wondering if it would be okay for me to use some of your words from this post in that the paper that goes along with the research.

  • 38. Anita  |  November 21, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    LT -thank you. As a mom of 2 adoptive children from Haiti, one of which has significant food issues the food sneaking can be so frustrating. I’m going to do the rubbermaid idea – thanks for a different perspective. We are doing most of that, but I think giving her a bin of her own food will help. And I wouldn’t have thought about doing it, and understood what need it was meeting.

  • 39. beveanne harrold  |  November 22, 2012 at 5:03 am

    thank you very comforting to know that hoarding and hiding food is normal i still do this and lick wrappers no wonder people look at me like its weird i never thought of this and will watch to see how others do it so i can better fit in at work.

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  • 41. Aspiring  |  February 15, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Thank you for this article. I want to become a foster parent but more than that I want to become a good one. I learned about foster parents when I was a child (about 10) and decided it was something I was meant to do. I then made it a point to ask many women from my church about foster parenting and their replies were always the same “Oh I could never do that! If I became a foster parent I’d fall in love with the child and then the state might take them away from me and I’d be brokenhearted.” This reply made me angry because even then I could put two and two together, if the good women refuse out of fear of being hurt then who is left to be foster parents? The CRAPPY PARENTS! I am not yet a foster parent because I will not of be of minimum age requirement for a couple more months but I am waiting and scared spitless that I I won’t do a good job. Thank you, I will remember all these points.

    • 42. barbara velazquez  |  January 19, 2017 at 10:54 am

      you do not need to be perfect to be a foster parent

  • 43. Joan Hunt  |  February 27, 2013 at 6:23 am

    Thankyou for your very personal and insightful account, and reflects many of the food issues we see reoccuring with foster children. I would like to reference your blog in training of foster carers on issues of food and children. I have previously used many of the tips that you also mention and find that they do work and enable a young person to take control and to start devleloping a healthier relationship with food. there are no quick fixes but having tips that work do help to reduce the stresses. knowing that you are not the only one also helps enormously
    thankyou once again

  • 44. natalie  |  June 6, 2013 at 12:59 am

    thank you so much for this blog. I am a food educator and have a seminar coming up for foster carers. I didn’t really understand the issues foster parents/grandparents might have until I read this. May I take some of the tips and present them if I cite your blog? thank you in advance, Natalie from Newcastle Australia.

  • 45. Polli  |  November 1, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Wow – thanks! I have just fostered a kid who has been hiding food (old sandwiches) and I’ve been totally confused by it! Thanks for the advice – will try your ideas and work it out with her!

  • 46. More About Food Issues | Last Mom  |  December 14, 2013 at 9:49 am

    […] Tips and perspective on the issue from a former foster kid (who aged out of the system and is now an… […]

  • 47. monaro10  |  April 5, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    we even have a small table near the main dining table that the kids can sit at if they feel they would rather sit aside. We have a little man that stays with us that likes to hide all of his food under the dining table (I’m assuming so we don’t take it away) but sadly, he runs the risk of the dog taking a nibble, so he has his own table if he feels like he’d like to sit there. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn’t. I’m thinking it’s directly proportional to how much he loves the meal. The more love, the more likely he is to sit on his own.
    Thank you for your insights on this as it’s been something we’ve noticed with different children and we weren’t sure where to start.
    We’re now got little picnic baskets that they can use as well

  • 48. KimBehrenz  |  April 30, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Another fabulous article! Would love to share with prospective caregivers and colleagues, with your permission. Thank you!

  • 49. Carmen909  |  July 2, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    Hello, I was reading this article, because my mother-in-law is a foster mom, she has a one year old baby. The 1 year old eats like she has never eat before, we feed here well but if she sees someone else eating she will make the biggest fit. Trowing her self on the floor, kicking, doing everything she can to take the food away. She will never get full, my mother-in-law says it might be because her mother was always in drugs while she was pregnant. I am really interested in learning why she does this, I don’t want her to not be adopted because of this issue that I could probably help her in. If anyone can help I would be appreciative.

  • 50. Traci  |  July 24, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    It’s very trouble-free to find out any topic on web as compared to textbooks, as I found this paragraph at this site.

  • 51. lacysereduk  |  August 8, 2014 at 2:54 am

    I realize that this is an old post but wanted to let you know that I found it insightful and helpful. I have two step-children that spent their early childhood in an unhealthy and unstable environment. When their dad got custody, we found significant issues and the food-related ones are still continuing (now 6 years later). I wanted to thank you for writing about this and sharing your insights. It has given me some great ideas on how to (hopefully) make some final headway in eliminating their subconscious issues through providing different kinds of control. And, I really enjoyed your writing!

  • 52. Sarah  |  October 17, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    This was forwarded to me, as I am struggling with my 8 year old foster son over being such a darn picky eater. Thankfully no hoarding, but almost wish it was that becasue I could use your tips. Instead he refuses to even try ANYTHING that is not chicken nuggets from McDonalds, mac n cheese, pizza with pepperoni only and God forbid the dang peperoni are under the cheese instead of on top. If the nuggets are not the round kind..beware. Had little man for 4 months and he is still fighting this. Pancakes have to be a certain thickness, if he lets the food sit it gets cold then he has an excuse to not eat it. He is down right rude and adimant that , “NO”, I’m not having that, NO, I’m not trying that. Said he would eat chicken noodle soup, but then screamed about the pieces of carrots in it and watched as I picked eveybit out, then still didn’t eat it. These issues he has don’t appear to be from starving. I’m thinking it is something else like control. Total and complete control. And it is driving me NUTS! We have made so many connections and bonds and are at a a great level of security or so I think…maybe not yet. Your article gives me a new perspective, although, not sure how much rings true for my little one. So wish I could help him.

  • 53. fighting food issues | I Was A Foster Kid  |  November 15, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    […] If you work with foster kids, you know most of them have some food issues.  Hiding food, hoarding food, eating everything, not eating stuff… you get my point.  Even better, here is an altered post on food issues in foster care that i wrote along time ago. […]

  • 54. Peter  |  March 5, 2015 at 4:17 am

    Great piece of writing. I really want to share it with foster carers I work with. Hope that’s ok!

  • 55. Maisy  |  March 13, 2015 at 1:35 am

    Hi. My name’s Maisy and I’m fourteen. I’m a kid living in Canada. I just want to tell you you have inspired me to become a foster parent one day. I don’t know you personally, only through your blog but I’ve read every single post a million times. And you are my hero, LT. And I hope your dog gets better 🙂

    • 56. Maisy  |  March 13, 2015 at 1:39 am

      And you are strong and an amazing role model to me. And God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers so keep fighting ❤

  • 57. andy  |  April 19, 2015 at 9:07 am

    hi LT thank u for your insight. im a foster carer and have a child that hides food. this stopped after about 15 months of being with us. in this time b chose a lot of dinner meals and always chose breakfast and lunch or packed lunch. we have always said eat what you want but you need 3 meals each day and not just unhealthy snacks. however we do have lots of treats… when easter comes just keep your eggs in your room and eat them when you like, but remember you eat main meals to grow and stay healthy. We have just agreed with social care to keep b and his brother permantly, and just recently (past 2months) after 9 months of not hiding food, running off or soiling b has started to hide food and run off again.
    i will try the container as you suggest, and if you have any thoughts of why b is doing this again after 9 months without doing it we would be eternally grateful.
    ps we dont have any background history of the boys eating habits and wonder if the permancy (which has been discussed with the boys) is causing the regression
    his brother c doesnt have any of these habits.

  • 58. strangelings  |  June 25, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    This literally made me cry. (and go eat a sandwich, ironically enough). I was only in foster care for nine months but- this and your other writing hits so, so hard on the issues I have, that even most people in the trauma community don’t understand. thank you.

  • 59. Nancy Moll  |  December 11, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    I work in a residential group home as a therapist. I am putting together a training for staff about the many food issues our kids have. I would like to use the information you have provided because it is real and raw. Please let me know if I have your permission to use the 6 tips you listed. Thanks

  • 60. Jodi  |  January 5, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    LT- thank you So much for sharing. You really are helping those of us out here that want to help the children coming into our homes. My family is going to start fostering in a couple weeks. I came upon your blog in my research on how to help make Foster Kids feel welcome. I have been reading for hours now. You have given me so much insight. I will continue to follow your blog and look for new insights as we go on this journey into fostering. I want you to know that your insights are being used in the foster care training process that I have received. Again, Thank you for helping me be the best Foster care parent I can be! Blessings to you!

  • 61. Lynn  |  January 12, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Would it be ok to give this article to my group of foster parents. We meet monthly to talk about a topic and discuss issues they are having?

  • 62. donna  |  February 21, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    This is very helpful–thank you. May I ask a question about the food issues? We tried a backpack of food that our son could take everywhere with him. He ate all the food until it was gone and then began eating other people’s food. Do you have any suggestions how to proceed with this issue? Thanks.

  • 63. Ash  |  March 27, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    Mayo or white sauce looking like sperm? I grew up in foster care from the age of 9 months so I know my way around the system but I found that to be incredibly bizarre comment, or pizza reminding them of blood? I mean yeah my childhood was shitty but not feeding a kid anything white because its the color of sperm or anything red because its the color of blood is just super weird thinking.

  • 64. Allegra  |  November 3, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    Thank you for your ideas! My husband and I have never had kids and are expecting our first placement on Monday. As I have a very intelligent and sneaky food obsessed dog I was wondering how I would leave snacks out without them ending up in the wrong paws. Providing a safe sealed area where they can put food if they desire is an excellent plan.

  • 65. Alicia  |  February 20, 2017 at 7:17 am

    Hi LT,
    I hope you are well at the moment. I’ve posted before in the past & also a former foster child. I’m going to be forty in a couple years and have to say I still have severe eating issues. Like any other lasting mark abuse leaves on us, this too, is life long I believe for some of us. Anytime I’m going through severe anxiety, depression, change, or major stress I immediately revert to survival mode. I’m going through it right now as a matter of fact. No one understands me like a foster kid has. In any case, LT, we may be strangers but we are not alone in understanding each other.

  • 66. Jill Schreiber  |  February 26, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    i am a social work professor and I have written about foster kids and food. This post is brilliant. I am doing a training for foster parents and would love to share this post with them. May I read it to them?

  • […] Read More […]

  • 68. beanz  |  April 9, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    With foster kids its not always true that it’s because they never ate.
    My family used lies and manipulation and took my kids. They’re now eating bland tasteless meals (they cannot cook) whereas before they had gourmet meals with asparagus and millions of different tastes.
    I made many dishes for them, homemade chilli, calamari, cannelloni, lasagna with chicken, cheese garlic bread, I developed a love for food and every time I get to cook for them they become excited and my son exclaims Mommy has the best meatloaf. But when my oldest is there he pokes and picks at it and finds it to be “less than mediocre” and cannot wait to have a taste of Mums cabbage rolls or stuffed mushrooms or the cannelloni, which is his favourite. Though I imagine there are children who starved, I could not allow a child to starve let alone eat food with gravy that tastes like water and fat.


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