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to think what kids eat here is not really healthy?

(110 Posts)
aeromint Thu 21-Sep-17 10:26:42

I am a live in au pair who entered this country just two months ago, taking care of a 8 year old boy for the past 6 weeks and his diet seems to be made of cornflakes, sausages, burger, string cheese and lunchmeat sandwiches.. aren't these, er, junk food?? That's what we would term them in my country. I really dislike making sausages every other evening to him, but this is what I have been instructed to do... Some of my friends also tell me that the kids in their homes eat mostly this kind of food...

How can this be healthy? I am honestly puzzled.

I grew up in a country where we followed this combination of foods for all three meals of the day - one carb item (usually rice or wheat based item), one or more vegetable medley (compulsory), a dip/sauce made from either a veggie or pulses and a fried item like shrimp or cassava crackers. And lots of seasonal fresh fruits, nuts and buttermilk throughout the day. Proper meat-based meals was usually on Sundays and special occasion / rituals day etc (about 1-2 times a month but it will be like a festival with too much of it) - so, a treat, not normal occurance. Basically, we had vegetables every single meal....

So... the only vegetable I see my kid (I use the word my very loosely) eat is carrots or potatoes smothered in ketchup (which is full of sugar?)... but he eats processed meat everyday, he packs a sandwich to his school and has cornflakes for breakfast... On weekends he has potato waffles or pancakes.... not sure what he eats for dinner, but his mum cooks a roast on sundays with potatoes and peas.. I am always invited to join them on sunday lunch and I love it but I miss the vegetables! Like broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, radish, asparagus...

Will AIBU to gently suggest her to include more veggies or should I just mind my own business?

(Sorry if the details here are a bit vague, I know my host mom is a member on this site, don't want to out myself...!)

user1471459936 Thu 21-Sep-17 10:30:08

A typical day of food for my 3 year old: breakfast is olives, humous, crackers, carrots and cucumber (all his choice, he won't eat what we have: porridge); lunch is usually baked beans, a roll and cheese or soup; dinner last night was omelette, asparagus, broccoli, carrots and leeks; snacks of apple, satsuma and a biscuit. So your charge does sound rather unhealthy!

tocas Thu 21-Sep-17 10:31:08

Tricky - not sure how the child's mother would take it if you suggested it, could go either way!
It's not all children here - I grew up mostly on fresh food cooked from scratch with the occasional "treat" junk . I agree the diet you describe sounds unhealthy.

AuntLydia Thu 21-Sep-17 10:31:23

Yes, I'm a childminder and inclined to agree with you. I always provide loads of veg with meals - which is largely filtered out by the childminded kids and left. It's frustrating. I'm not sure I'd speak to your host mum about it but surely she wouldn't mind you adding veg on the side of his meals? Would he cook with you to see if he'd eat some veg that way?

AlpacasPackOwls Thu 21-Sep-17 10:32:56

My children have meat or fish most days but it is fresh, not processed. We have sausages about once a fortnight, ham probably once or twice a fortnight.

DarceyBusselsNose Thu 21-Sep-17 10:34:41

The Uk, traditionally is a very meat based society, no doubt you have heard the expression 'meat and two veg'? That applies to the main meal of the day. You would be hard pressed to find the average family eating shrimp paste and shelving traditional meat products to one day a week.

I suppose you could offer to cook one of your traditional meals but it's probably not to this familys palate

existentialmoment Thu 21-Sep-17 10:35:57

You know one child and think you know what everyone in the whole country feeds their children? You don't.
And no, as an aupair you should be telling your employer what to feed her child.

titchy Thu 21-Sep-17 10:35:59

Well cornflakes for breakfast and a ham sandwich for packed lunch are pretty standard for many many families. What do you serve the sausage or burger with? Meat every evening is again pretty standard fro lots of families. Are you actually making the burgers and sausages from scratch - your OP said 'making'?

Anyway even if it is a crap diet, at the end of the day he's not your kid so no, it would be massively unreasonable for you to tell them that. Maybe you could politely ask that she buys some carrots for you to nibble on, or some fruit for you? (Assuming you don't buy your own food.)

lljkk Thu 21-Sep-17 10:36:06

Reasonable to suggest but don't get the huff if they don't like your ideas.

How do you know they haven't tried all the marvelous foods you approve of, but maybe the boy freaked out & refused? Maybe they had to work hard for years to get their son to eat a diet as diverse as this.

I almost cried with happiness when my son ate a Wotsit. I'm guessing OP won't understand that.

<Boak> at buttermilk. I hate that stuff. I bet you drink carrot juice, too? <Shudder>

alohaimnew Thu 21-Sep-17 10:36:18

Myabe have a word with the parents - ask if you can make him some of the delicious food from back home? Dont make it sounds as if you already think the childs diet is unhealthy (it is) - the mum might have her back up if you come off as trying to imply her child is unhealthy.

NannyR Thu 21-Sep-17 10:37:37

That's not a normal diet for many children in the uk. Why not suggest to the parents that you could cook some dishes you are more familiar with, to go alongside the processed stuff, most parents would be over the moon if someone was actively wanting to increase their child's interest in eating more fruit and veg and encouraging them to eat a more varied diet.

Porpoises Thu 21-Sep-17 10:37:38

Could you slide in more veg, make it sausages with two veg rather than sausages with one veg? How old is the kid?

Newtssuitcase Thu 21-Sep-17 10:38:01

Can you just gradually change the meal by stealth eg swap like this
sausages chips and beans
sausages mash and beans
sausages mash and peas
sausages mash and peas and carrots
chicken breast/salmon, mash, peas and carrots
chicken breast/salmon new potatoes peas and carrots

Peppashorse Thu 21-Sep-17 10:38:19

I agree, some of the packed lunches I've seen over the years have been shocking.

My dc are toddlers and do have days where they don't eat as much veg as I'd like or time is limited so they have fish fingers. They probably eat far too much pasta.

I cook fresh most days and don't use processed meat, I aim for protein, carb and at least 3 veg with the main meal, fruit with breakfast and lunch.

LaurieMarlow Thu 21-Sep-17 10:39:24

Yanbu, that's pretty rubbish. Not atypical of the UK either unfortunately.

Raising it with the mum might be tricky. How much control do you have of the shopping/cooking? Could you start introducing healthier options by stealth?

PhilODox Thu 21-Sep-17 10:40:06

That's a pretty poor diet- but it's nothing like what my children eat! One family cannot be representative.
Do you have responsibility for making his evening meal? Could you introduce more veg, and variety?

WalkanTalk Thu 21-Sep-17 10:40:26

Lady, that is one child. We do not all feed our children so unhealthily thank you very much.
If you want the child to eat healthier, maybe offer to cook for the family?
But they might just be happy as they are.

Winteriscomingneedmorewood Thu 21-Sep-17 10:42:26

Maybe take your charge to the library, select some cook books and ask him what he wants to make that he has never tried before? Give him a challenge to try new foods!!
If their pfb starts getting chunky I would be guessing you will be blamed!!

WorraLiberty Thu 21-Sep-17 10:43:22

It doesn't sound like a particularly healthy diet.

However, you say you grew up in a country where your meals were far more healthy, but actually you grew up in a family where your meals were far more healthy.

Families tend to be the same the world over in terms of either eating healthily or not.

You could gently suggest some changes, but since you've only been with them for such a short space of time, you might be better off getting to know the parents a bit better first.

aeromint Thu 21-Sep-17 10:45:47

No I don't do any shopping. My HM does that and leaves me instruction on a weekly calender on what I should give.

I don't make anything from scratch. Burger patties are already in the freezer, I should just assemble and given the kid.

Yes the kid is rather fussy. He does not want to eat anything that he does not already know he enjoys. I am afraid I am not used to letting kids have the last say in their food (different culture I guess). I have offered to cook foods from my native country many times, but have been refused by him. His parents loved it but!

aeromint Thu 21-Sep-17 10:46:51

That's a nice idea, to take him to the library and show him cookbooks. I will do that!

Overstuffedburitto Thu 21-Sep-17 10:47:01

I grew up in another country and have been surprised not how some kids in U.K. are fed. Not what they're fed so much as that they are allowed to 'dislike' whole food groups e.g. Veg and they don't even have to try them. My kids were just given what I thought was normal food- veg curry, mixed salads etc and was told it was mean and kids should have food they love like nuggets and chips! I was told humous and raw veg would upset my toddlers stomach by pil!

It's a culture in some but certainly not all uk homes - many are super healthy- and it takes a bit of adjusting. Food is very emotive and critiquing the child's diet will not win you friends so I'd just ask the parents if they would mind you serving the kids some food traditional to your homeland, as a cultural exchange, and see if they like it.

If the kids are healthy it's all
Good smile

ADayGivingMeHope Thu 21-Sep-17 10:49:49

Do not criticise her or 'suggest' meals to the mum - it will very likely lose you your job!

What you could do though - suggest to her that you enjoy cooking your native foods and would she mind if you made insert dish here occasionally for you and her DS and you can make enough to freeze for the whole family. She might like that.

becotide Thu 21-Sep-17 10:50:47

his diet sounds rather dreadful.

And I feel for you with missing the vegetables.

We eat a very basic diet in my house but I do include a lot of vegetables. We eat carrots, cabbage, broccoli,cauliflower, swede, peas, grean beans, sweetcorn, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, spinach and asparagus.

But some of these things need to be hidden for my children to eat them happily. Personally I use a blender and make pasta sauces.

In your country, how do you persuade children to eat their vegetables if they don't want to? Or do they just eat it happily?

Potatoes and peas sounds rather sad but it's sadly not unusual for children to be allowed to simply refuse healthy meals and to be given something else.

LaurieMarlow Thu 21-Sep-17 10:51:08

Actually, I don't agree worra. The basics of national cuisines are different across the world and some are a lot healthier than others.

The UK doesn't stack up particularly well globally on the healthy eating front at a macro level. There are lots of reasons for this (a a gill of all people has a great analysis of it somewhere).

However, at the same time, plenty of families in the UK eat very well. And I'd say particularly in the last 10 years and particularly the demographic best represented on mumsnet.

But it's not inaccurate to say that nationally, our diet doesn't stack up well on the healthy front. Our obesity rates speak for themselves.

I'm curious where you are from OP? I can't place the diet you describe.

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