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Healthy Eating/Activity Plan & the Nanny.

(9 Posts)
springlenner Fri 15-Apr-16 10:51:41

I guess I know the answer here but anyway, would welcome some suggestions.

My DSs (9 and 6) have become quite...ahem...chunky and lazy over the last few months. I think they probably would be considered overweight.

They snack a lot and have huge appetites and their favourite hobby is playing Minecraft etc on the iPad.I'm worried they're becoming couch potatoes.
I really want them to have a healthy and sensible attitude to food and exercise. I was a fat child and never have forgotten how that feels and don't want them to be in their 40s30s ( like I was) when they figure out the right balance.

The food/meals I provide are healthy and balanced I think.There is always fresh fruit and veg accessible and available. Basically, what I am saying is the food I prepare is fine but there are a couple of issues, particularly when I'm not around.
I work FT and have a 2 hour commute and also travel for work so sometimes they have already eaten with the nanny before I get home. She's not the best cook and likes to please them so 9/10 times cooks them frozen chips and nuggets or similar- in enormous portions.
Even if I have left freshly prepared bolognese/chicken etc.

2 days ago I came home to find they had eaten a whole 1kgbag frozen chips and 2 packets of chicken goujons - basically they had had one dinner, then 10 mins later said they were still hungry so she cooked the same again! Yesterday they had eaten 2 pizzas (each) and a packet of sausages , a bag of new potatoes, 1/2 bag frozen corn before I got home..
Also she constantly allows them snacks ( my 6 year old was allowed a whole Easter Egg and a massive bag of crisps as a snack the other day) I don't buy biscuits often but when I do they are gone the next day.

Not only is this costing me a fortune in groceries, ( £120 Ocado shop on Tuesday evening -- everything is gone now on Friday morning) but I don't think she understands, I have spoken to her about portion control a number of times - she herself is ( gorgeous) , sporty, tall and willowy - so maybe she doesn't understand that some people simply can't eat like that and get away with it?
She prefers to let them "rest" ( i.e tv or iPad) after school but I encourage her to take them to the park after school for a run about if they are free but this often results in even more food being provided as "they have burnt off so many calories" ( not to mention they have a snack before they go to the park and yesterday and ice cream whilst there too!)

They do swimming twice a week and are starving after that - despite being told they could wait for dinner they are given chocolate, crisps etc from the vending machine and biscuits. They also do football once a week - ditto she buys them Luzozade sport and burgers after that. She pays for this herself as she feels they need a treat and all of the other kids are having burgers and chips in the clubhouse ( yes, but they are probably not having dinner 20 minutes later!!) ..
I've recently signed them up for cricket and rugby after school so lack of activity is not really the problem - it's more the unchecked unhealthy snacking and default TV/iPads - they are often crashed out on the couch ( stuffed no doubt) when I get home.

Our nanny is a lovely lovely person and a fabulous carer in every other way - but it seems for her either a. she sees feeding as a way of caring or b. my DSs are manipulating her by encouraging it ( I wouldn't put it past them)

My current plan is - no frozen chips/nuggets etc available - mea culpa on this - I do fill the freezer with these things for a quick supper if in a hurry but they are not planned to be staples, no sweets/ biscuits/ high calorie snacks in the house, pre-prepared balanced dinners in fridge, lots of fruit and veg available for snacks. A daily activity.
I am going to sit down with DSs this evening and work out a meal plan for the week so they are engaged...

I realise their diet is my responsibility and I want to do my best, but how can I influence their levels of activity and make sure they are getting/ making good choices when I'm not there?

I have spoken to the nanny a number of times on this. I think she thinks I'm being controlling over food or maybe she just doesn't get it. I really really don't want my children to be battling with weight issues for their whole lives like I do. I just want them to be healthy :-(
Sorry so long! All suggestions welcome!

CMOTDibbler Fri 15-Apr-16 10:59:45

Just sit her down and tell her : in future, you will draw up a weekly meal plan and she is to stick with that. No buying snacks, no burger/icecream/stuff from vending machines, just take the snack on the meal plan. End of.

NannyR Fri 15-Apr-16 11:02:10

Just don't buy the food you don't want her to feed them - if it's not in the house they can't eat it!
I'm a nanny and I usually write up a meal plan for the week ahead with a shopping list of things I need, so the parents can see exactly what the kids are eating. Maybe you could give her some ideas of what meals you want them to have along with a simple recipe book. Also, cut right down on the snacks, if they are eating well at mealtimes they really shouldn't need lots of snacks.

canyou Fri 15-Apr-16 11:08:37

We have snack boxes here one for each child they get to choose a sweet treat or crisps and then fruit yoghurt etc and that is it for the day no other snacks and they have breakfast, lunch, dinner and a supper before bed.

springlenner Fri 15-Apr-16 14:09:37

Thanks, all.
canyou good idea about the snack boxes - will definitely implement that. I totally get only having the food in the house what you want them to eat but how do you all deal with that if you work full time?
I try to do a weekly ( more like twice weekly) supermarket shop and e.g this week got 2 boxes of Waitrose chicken goujons for £4 - they were meant for 2 meals though not one! Likewise the potatoes...I don't really have time to shop daily. Stickers with days of the week on them?

NannyR Fri 15-Apr-16 14:18:07

I would write a meal plan and say one box of chicken goujons with baked potato on Tues for example. But equally I would expect a nanny to have a good idea about appropriate portion sizes and healthy balanced meals. Is she serving enough veg with the meals so they could fill up on that, rather than needing extra chicken?

springlenner Fri 15-Apr-16 14:48:57

Thanks NannyR
Yes, she is serving veg (although always frozen peas or corn although fresh broccoli/carrots/green beans always in )
All in enormous portions as far as I can see, they simply eat whatever is put in front of them!

canyou Fri 15-Apr-16 17:57:56

No ideal if it would work for you and tbh it maybe easier for me as I work shift work so sometimes get 3/4 days off, but I bulk buy aldi special on veg and prepare and blanch and freeze they just need to be put in hot water. I also do broccolli and cauli cheese into silver oven trays that can be dumped. It means that whoever has the dc has everything ready to cook. I use the slow cooker a lot for meat and main meals fish etc. I do open packets of stuff ie chicken etc and put them into portion controlled bags so as DSS does not cook and eat all the goujons etc. It can fail I had lamb stew on today but DSS got in before us and ate all the meat I now have meatless soup stew for dinner. angry

mommybunny Wed 20-Apr-16 16:34:01

Been meaning to respond to this for a while - sorry for delay. It's a tough one as you're dealing with a person who has charge of the most precious things in the world to you - you want her to stay on side!

You say you think your DCs are "probably" overweight - why not find out for sure? Carefully measure their height and weight and plug it into the NHS's BMI calculator along with their DoBs. I do this every so often and am not really concerned about my DCs' weight at the moment - it's just a good practice and doesn't make you "controlling" to the extent you don't belittle the DCs with whatever information you receive. If the message is that they are indeed overweight, then you have every reason to curtail their food intake and insist the nanny support you in this.

If they aren't overweight, then maybe it can give you some licence to agree to some flexibility - maybe one day a week their main evening meal is the burgers at football (no Lucozade though! no kid needs that!) and there is then no need to feed them when they get home. Maybe one day a week after swimming they can have one treat from the vending machine to take home to have after dinner. If they are "still hungry" after the dinner you've decided they should eat then why not offer them a cheese course - if they're really hungry they'll take it up and if they're not they won't. It will reassure the nanny that you don't really ever intend to starve them, but you do care that the food they are getting has some nutritional value and that it is really fulfilling a hunger need and nothing else.

So many people use food to appease, especially children (how else do you explain the enormous sacks parents of toddlers carry around full of Cheerios and other processed garbage?). A lot of people have a real aversion to hunger, and think it's cruel ever to let a child feel hungry. There is a big difference between depriving a child of a meal full stop and making them wait slightly longer for one then their boredom threshold will let them. It's not a bad thing for a child sometimes to feel hungry - if nothing else it makes them more amenable to try unfamiliar things (when I twig that my DCs are in a growth spurt I pile on the new stuff, because they're so hungry they don't really care what they eat).

Good luck with your situation. I know where you're coming from completely, on all three fronts: having had my own weight issues as a teenager, having had a long day and nanny looking after my DCs, and wanting to keep the grocery bill down!

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