From Christine Connally, Community Counselor in MD:
Childcare focus – Check with your host parents before you buy a child a toy that requires close supervision – electrically operated toys, shooting toys and games, chemistry sets, and the like. Remember, too, that younger children may have access to toys intended for older children once the toy has been brought into the home.
Driving – Traffic tends to be heavier around the Holidays. My best advice is to leave earlier than normal and take your time. Be the “bigger person” and allow that one last car to slip in ahead of you. It may avoid an accident. Remember au pairs can be asked to pay up to $500 of the deductible for an accident.
Healthy eating – is your house filled with treats, and goodies that are tempting you? It is the season, and you are here for a cultural exchange, so try some of the traditional sweets your host family is offering, but it is a good idea to downsize your portions – how much you eat is as important as what you eat.
Hints for success – If there is an alarm system for the house, be sure that the au pair is listed with the alarm company as a legitimate user of the alarm. Also, the au pair must know the appropriate security code in case of a false alarm.
Photo: Benjamin Chun
Is your house filled with treats, and goodies that are tempting you? It is the season, and you are here for a cultural exchange, so try some of the traditional sweets your host family is offering, but it is a good idea to downsize your portions – how much you eat is as important as what you eat.
Guidelines for Eating Smart
- Eat breakfast – it’s the best way to start the day.
- Drink water – 4 glasses or more a day, more when it is hot or when you are active.
- Downsize your portions – how much you eat is as important as what you eat.
- Snacking – most packaged snacks are high in calories and low in nutrition. Skip the cookies and the chips and snack instead on whole fruits, nuts, popcorn (without the butter), carrots or non-fat yoghurt.
- Fiber – foods rich in fiber are filling and give you energy. These foods include bran cereal, fresh and dried fruit, broccoli, asparagus, peas, corn, cabbage, brussels sprouts, whole grain breads, brown rice and lentils.
- Lean protein – whether or not you eat meat, you need protein. Best sources include skinless chicken or turkey breast, fish and shellfish, egg whites, lowfat milk and cheese, kidney beans, chick peas, tofu and other soy products.
- Variety – try to eat fruits and vegetables of many different colors. This will help you get many vitamins and other nutrients important to your health.
- Stop eating before you are full – you’ll feel better.
If you want to lose weight, here are some ideas to help you do that:
Crash diets or quick weight-loss schemes are not a good long-term solution.
Have patience in losing a half-pound to one pound per week.
Always drink plenty of water or other fluids.
Never skip meals in an effort to lose weight.
Get up and go, increase your physical activity.
Eat a variety of foods.
Credits: The International Food Information Council Foundation and http://www.bluecrossma.com