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4.17 Nutrition, Diet and Mealtimes


This guidance is provided for carers looking after children in foster homes.

  1. Ask and take account of what parents, previous carers and children say about foods they like and dislike; and any allergies or other health care needs which may impact on their diet.
  2. Find out about special requirements; for example, food needing to be cut up, special dishes, cutlery or assistance the children may require.
  3. Provide nutritious, balanced and varied food.
  4. Cater for culture, age, medical needs and choice.
  5. Cater for individual needs.
  6. Involve children, as far as possible, in menu planning, choice and purchase of food.
  7. Ensure adequate and appropriate drinks are available at all times.
  8. Present food in attractive and appetising ways.

At meal times

  1. Carers should sit with children, not at separate tables.
  2. Provide enough time for children to eat their meal comfortably.
  3. Serve slow eaters first to allow them more time.
  4. Make meal time a relaxed, social event when the day can be talked about.
  5. Promote independence with sensitive one-to-one help where necessary.
  6. Consider children who may require some privacy or may need to be separated while eating.