Do you know what your kiddo eats all day when you are away from home? Do you tell your nanny ahead of time what they should make? While some parents make a meal plan and leave it out for everyone to see, others leave food choices in the hands of nannies and caregivers. Some nannies don’t mind the freedom of planning meals for the children they care for, but others find it stressful as they’re afraid to use ingredients that might be needed for family meals.
If you don’t plan and/or pack what your child is going to eat when you’re away, here are 5 reasons that you should:
You know your child is eating nutritious meals. While they may have great intentions, their loving caregiver may be allowing your kids to have more sugary snacks then you would allow. Packing their lunches, or leaving a note about what they should have for lunch, gives you peace of mind when it comes to them getting the nutrients that their growing bodies need. See our post A 2014 Resolution to Improve Junior and Senior Health through Nutrition for more ways to get your family eating better.
Your nanny can focus more time on the children, and spend less time trying to figure out what to cook. How long does it take you to look through the cabinets and decide on what to eat? After you make a decision, you still have to cook what you chose. While your caregiver is preparing meals, they are giving less attention to those in their care. If you want 100% of their attention on your little one then you need to plan their meals and do a little food prep.
Ingredients for pre-planned family dinners aren’t being eaten when you’re away. Have you ever gotten home from work, started dinner, and realized something you needed for the recipe had already been eaten? If you let your caregiver know ahead of time what they should make, then this will stop happening. When you are ready to make dinner that last egg will still be there, as your kiddos had the lunch you packed for them and your nanny did not need that egg.
You can save money by using up what needs to be eaten first. How much food do you throw out on a weekly basis? If you are having to toss fruits, veggies, and other perishables on a regular basis, planning out your kids lunches can start saving you money. Pack lunches for your kids with the foods that need to be eaten first. Instead of your nanny passing out cookies for snack, leave a note that says have the oranges for snack. Soon you’ll notice your family wastes less, which means you can stop throwing money away on food that went bad.
You can prevent your nanny from eating you out of house and home. This sounds silly, but some people complain that their nanny eats everything in the house. Do you find yourself constantly replacing your children’s special treats because your caregiver ate them? Does your nanny go through a box of cookies a day without the kiddos even getting one? If so, you’ll notice a huge improvement when you take charge of the meals.
Put away the things you don’t want to be eaten, and leave a note about the foods that you want them to eat. You can write a note that says something like, “Today for snack can you and the kids eat the apples? I don’t want them to go bad. Thanks!” Another way to prevent your caregiver from eating stuff you don’t want them to is to put their name on the things they can have, or make them their own special snack shelf. You can also pre-pack food for the nanny too, as suggested below.
How to take charge:
On Sunday night, pack lunches and portion out snacks for the week. You will know that your kids are eating healthy foods and you’ll be taking some of the stress off of your nanny. You can have a special drawer or container in the fridge just with their food for the week, and set aside a shelf or bowl for snacks like apples and bananas.
Packing lunches for the week doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. They can be as simple as toddler friendly finger foods or you could double Sunday night’s meal and portion out the leftovers in reheatable containers. Does your nanny usually eat what the kids are eating? You already have the supplies out, so why not pack a few extra lunches and snacks for them too.
Do you plan and pack food for your kiddos to eat while you’re away? Has it made things easier on your family and caregiver? If you have any tips to share on meal planning for the little ones and their caregiver, please leave a comment. WE LOVE COMMENTS!
Photo courtesy of Donnie Ray Jones on Flickr.