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Ideas for Feeding Kids Adopted from the USA

March 8, 2012 | post a comment

General Diet/Summary:

The food patterns of different regions in the United States are a result of the heritage of the people who established it. The major regions of the United States are the Northeast, the South, the Midwest, the Southwest, and the West – each region characterized by unique culinary specialties that reflect the cultural background of immigrants and the foods that were available in the ‘new land’. Even today, with a global assortment of foods available and a consumer desire for uniformity in food products, there still exist distinctive regional differences in food consumption.

For more information about foods distinctive to each region of the United States, see the United States page at


Nutrition Facts:

Nutritional deficiencies are uncommon in the United States, but information about low income minority children is lacking. Incidence of overweight and obesity as well as food insecurity and hunger in children is on the rise. The American diet includes many empty calories (foods like soda, fruit flavored drinks, sweets, and other highly processed foods that contribute calories without providing essential nutrients). This coupled with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle and uneven access to fresh, wholesome foods has created a typical American diet that is high in fat (particularly unhealthy saturated fats), high in sodium, high in simple carbohydrates, and low in fruits and vegetables.


Meal Patterns:

The American diet centers around 3 hearty meals a day. The composition of the meal varies by region but often includes a meat and a starch. Since many children and young adults skip breakfast, and sometimes lunch, between meal snacking contributes significantly to daily intake. Across the country, a diversity of dining options are available from all-you-can-eat buffets to unique culinary creations sold from street side food trucks. The busy American lifestyle lends itself to eating on the run – fast foods, convenience foods, and restaurant meals are popular. In recent years, there has been a move towards more meals cooked and eaten at home and healthier fast food and restaurant options.


Transition Foods

The transition diet is one you develop to help bridge the gap between your child’s native/familiar diet and what eventually will become his or her regular diet at home. Even children adopted from within the United States may need time to adjust to the diet in their new adoptive home. Food can vary greatly from region to region in the US and can even vary within the same region if a child moves to a home of a different ethnicity or socioeconomic status.

The transition diet often includes recipes and foods from the familiar diet. A good way to start the transition process is to ask exactly what foods your child ate in the foster home, using that as a base for your cooking at home. It may also be helpful to watch the foster parents feed your child at least one meal before returning home. Simple things such as the temperature or texture of foods may be important to your child. Even if you don’t know exactly what your child ate previously, incorporating familiar foods into his or her diet is a great way to help your child transition to a new home, as well as preserve traditions from his or her previous home(s).



Homemade Applesauce


There is nothing quite as tasty as homemade applesauce! I often double or triple this recipe because I love it so much. You can choose to peel the apples or leave the skins on for more fiber and nutrients. Enjoy!

  • 2 cups sliced apples
  • 1/3 cup apple juice, apple cider, or water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • cinnamon to taste (optional)
  • sugar or brown sugar to taste (optional)

Put apples, juice or water, and cinnamon stick in a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until fruit is very soft and the liquid has cooked off (about 15-20 minutes).

Mash the apples using a fork or a potato masher for a chunky consistency, or puree in a blender for a smoother consistency. Taste the sauce and add cinnamon and/or sweetener as desired.

If you are making this applesauce for babies under 1 year, you may want to peel the skins, because the skin does not break down completely when cooked and may be a choking hazard for younger babies. If you choose to leave the skin on, be sure to puree the applesauce to a fine, smooth consistency.


For more information about feeding kids adopted from the U.S., including recipes, see the USA page at

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