Let’s take a moment to think about this. When French kids start their meal off with a salad, eat their veggies and don’t snack, those healthy eating behaviors make American parents do a double-take. How do French parents accomplish this almost unimaginable feat, one that most American parents find daunting and nearly impossible? The author of French Kids Eat Everything, Karen Le Billon, has some very useful tips for American parents and all of us, for that matter, to consider.
#1 – No snacking. American kids snack, on average, 5-6 times a day. French kids may have one afternoon snack – one little, eeny, weeny, square of chocolate! Therefore, they come to the table hungry. What a concept.
#2 – Everyone eats the same meal. Another amazing concept. There’s no pb/j or chicken fingers for those finicky eaters. Whatever parents are eating, the kids are eating too.
#3- The first real food for babies – leek soup. I know. I found that pretty unusual as well, considering the American palate. No rice cereal and apple sauce for French babies. Those little French taste buds are immediately introduced to flavorful foods building a gastronomic foundation to last a lifetime.
Believe me, I understand what it’s like to raise a fussy eater. I raised one. After months of feeding her separate meals from the rest of the family when she was just a few years old, an epiphany arrived. My wise husband suggested we put a stop to the message we were sending her (your food/our food) and began to serve her the very same food as we ate. It wasn’t always a day at Disney World, but it worked. The older she got, the more flavorful food she tried and enjoyed, the more adventurous her food choices became.
Hang in there, parents. Change is possible. In addition, I’d venture to say you know what food are best to feed your children With the incidence of obesity in our country three times the obesity rate in France, why would we not want to give these techniques a try.