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Au pair eating all the treats...same old, same old(29 Posts)
Hi, know this has been posted about before but remind me what is the best way to deal with this?
Am sick and tired of au pair eating only the 'nice' food in house (crisps, chocolates, biscuits, ready meals) when the rest of us only eat these things as treats and then when we want to eat a treat - oh look, all gone, wonder who finished that (again)?!
Doesn't that mean more 'real' food for you?
Or is she eating 'treats' on top of the real food?
I do think younger people are hungrier, my 17 year old eats twice as much as me
She's only 4 years younger than me so our appetites should be similar.
In terms of 'real' food - she'll eat the strawberries but leave the apples or eat the pizzas but leave the pasta. This is what I find annoying.
Are they treats for you because you like tomeat healthily or because of cost? If its not cost, then you could just buy loads and put them in her cupboard. Her health is up to her. Otherwise you'll have to find some treats that she doesn't like that you do. Dark chocolate? Hawaiian pizza? Blueberries?
I suppose sometimes they are treats because of costs (eg. strawberries), sometimes it's because of them being nice (eg. biscuits).
I don't want to find that when I want a biscuit as a 'treat' that there aren't any when I didn't get a single one from the packet.
Can you keep the non chilled ones in your room and just bring them out when needed
Stash the biscuits and stuff. That's what I do. I keep a few out and stash some.
Or simply tell her you bought them for yourself and if she wants treats she needs to pay on her own. Sometimes I might have some sweets my host mum bought but then I don't really mind her eating my biscuits that I've left in the kitchen. But I mostly buy all the sweets on my own and keep them in my room, and if she buys something I usually don't touch it.
Tell her what her share is. I.e. you can have a quarter of the pizza as it's for four people. You can have a fifth of those biscuits as they have to be shared with 5 people etc.
Can you have a conversation with her about it
or am I missing something ?
It sounds really bonkers to me that anyone sharing a home with other people should show such scant regard for shared resources and lack of awareness of basic manners. Perhaps you need to put her in the picture in terms of how you catergorise certain foods and the fact that there are certain expectations of how they are consumed: "In our home, we think biscuits are a bit special and save them for treats as opposed to using them as meal replacements. Ditto strawberries. We generally make sure that food items that can be shared are enjoyed by all members of the family in equal parts and recognise that other foods such as ready meals should not necessarily be consumed as a first resort when one is feeling peckish at 3.15 pm, but left as a special treat for whoever returns home late from work, too exhausted to cook. You are welcome to supplement our weekly shop with special items of your choice, paid for out of your own pocket."
Something like that?
Ha, x-post with just about everyone else.
Yes peaceful puts it very well.
You just need to talk to her about it.
An you ask that she buys her own food, and put her wages up to compensate? Give her a cupboard and a shelf in the fridge.
I can sympathise, I remember a flat mate eating my foods when I was out, I don't think she had no control around food tbh, it actually made me a bit greedy because I knew if I leave stuff I won't be the one who gets to go back to it.
Aren't aps supposed to be part of the family, would you expect to restrict them if she were your sister. It sounds as if your ideas don't coincide, I wonder if that extends beyond the food cupboard. Have you ever explained your policy? If she likes certain things can you not buy more of them or ask her to replace what she takes, or only buy them for yourselves when you plan to eat them.
Buy one pack of biscuits for her and one for your lot?
LIZS, I think I'd be pissed off if an actual family member were eating all the family supplies of certain foods.
Peaceful's post is good. I would be telling her something similar and being quite clear about expectations - 'this pack of biscuits/set of ready meals is there to last us all for a week (for example), which means your share is XX - if you want more than that you will have to buy it yourself'. It sounds mean and pedantic, but it doesn't sound like this AP has an ordinary sense of fairness in terms of what she eats up.
How old is she? Is this the first time she is away from home? Do you know what her background is?
I remember when I went to Uni everyone was away from home for the first time & bought chocolate digestives and used to say that our mums would never buy them at home. It may just be that this is the first time she has had "unrestricted" access to such food and is making the most of it without realising that there are restrictions in place but she hasn't been told about them. Maybe she did have unrestricted access to such food at home. Maybe she grew up with bare cupboards. Maybe she's lonely or bored or homesick or comfort eating.
Just talking to her seems a good idea!
Why don't you make things clearer for her?
I would keep all the
junk food treats on a specific shelf (or box or something) and tell her that they are kept for specific occasion (or a Friday night treat). Same for ready meals.
Remember also that, depending on the au-pair, some are really young, and perceive their host family as very wealthy (because they can afford help whilst that would be a luxury thing for their own parents). It simply does not occur to her that you have a "limited" food budget and don't understand the restrictions.
I would ask her what she likes, and make sure I buy enough of that food.
It can be very difficult for a young foreigner to be in a strange house and understand the rules if they are not clear. For example, I never buy squash, we only get fresh fruit juice. If my kids are told to make themselves a drink, they will naturally pick up the fruit juice from the fridge - but other people think of these as "treats"/ (sorry, best example I could come up with).
It's natural for us not to finish all the chocolate from the cupboard, but might be different for a single child.
I never get these threads when parents are moaning about their nannies/ au pairs etc and haven't actually told them not to do it or actually spoken to their au pair/ nanny about the issue. Just speak to her and tell that they are treats. I'm a nanny I wouldn't have a problem with my boss telling me certain foods are for treats.
You seem to mention just comfort foods which I would have no issues replacing as a host mum. I would just buy the value stuff and let her eat as much as she likes. Value frozen pizzas are under £1 and I would not begrudge any au pair this. I would just stock up the freezer on these and make sure she has something to put on top of the plain cheese pizza to make it nicer. Value biscuits and crisps (under 50p for 12 packets) don't break the bank either. Keep your comfort foods separate if it's expensive.
I had a very close au pair friend who was told she was only allowed one piece of bread to make a sandwich for her lunch and she was allowed to select most bruised apple as well. That did not not make her feel at home but family thought this was normal. She left.
I have a red pen that I use to put a star on foods that DH/DS/au pair can't eat, usually they are things that are part of a main meal that I've planned for that week.
I wouldn't limit anything else, we keep nice choccys that were usually a gift in the lounge and she knows that these are out of bounds.
We also have a list for food that has run out - so if someone finished something, they have to write it on, so no surprises when you go to the cupboard. That may also make her be more aware of how much she's eating.
Thanks for all replies. I suppose I was hoping there was a way to get around this (eg. star thing or separate food cupboard) without having to broach the subject directly as I, admittedly, find this very awkward to 'criticise'. As someone mentioned it can come across as being 'mean and pedantic'. It has been helpful to get some suggestions before broaching this which it seems I will just have to face up to.
Buying Value stuff won't work - I don't want to have to eat Value crisps when I fancy some crisps - so how would it look if I bought her Value crisps and kept the branded stuff for the rest of us?!
Seriously, why don't you just buy more? No way could I face telling someone living in my home that there were restrictions on the food! Buy a mix and keep your fancy crisps in your room... or buy them as required, ie pick a pack up at lunchtime and eat it at home that night on the couch.
tbh we eat budget crisps and they're absolutely just as tasty!
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