feeding nanny rules

Dear DNB,

Can you tell me how to handle food and meals for my nanny? Do I keep food for her, is she supposed to bring her own lunch, or do I pay for her takeout? I’m new to having a caregiver at home, so what’s the norm? 


Hungry in Highland Park

Dear Hungry in Highland Park,

We love a question with flavor! It speaks volumes about what a considerate employer you are. While people may not think food is a priority, we all know that food is always top of mind!

When you hire a caregiver, it’s assumed that she’s going to be in your home for at least two of the three meals each day. Honestly, a typical nanny’s diet while she’s at work consists of whatever she’s feeding the kids — fruits, veggies, cheese sticks, and peanut butter! 

Now, if your nanny has dietary restrictions (this should be addressed during the interview process), it’s up to you whether you’ll accommodate. If her diet is complicated and you don’t want to keep food specifically for her, that’s totally understandable. You can ask her to either bring her own food from home, or offer to order takeout once in awhile.

The most important thing here is to establish family guidelines about food that your nanny will follow. Just as she’ll follow your rules when she’s preparing food for your children, she’ll follow those rules herself when she’s in your home. For example, if your children are strictly prohibited from added sugar, it’s perfectly fine for you to ask your caregiver not to bring this type of food into the home. Or, you can ask her to only eat it when the children are napping, for example.

In our opinion, clear communication and good food are the ingredients for any successful relationship!