Would you love to turn your picky eater into a real foodie? It turns out there is a lot we in America can learn from the French!
I recently came across a great book, French Kids Eat Everything, by Karen Le Billon. Her kids were picky eaters too, but when her family moved to a small village in France for 1 year, she found that French children eat almost anything they are served. She set off to find out how French parents got their kids to eat so well, and what she discovered is the basis for her book.
In short, here are some of the lessons she learned from her stay in France:
Parents – You are in charge of food education. This of course includes teaching your children how to eat healthy, but also how to appreciate and even love the food they eat.
Avoid emotional eating. As parents, we should never use food as a reward for good behavior. As Karen puts it, “our children are not sea lions.”
Parents schedule meals and menus. Your children eat whatever the adults eat – no exceptions. Of course, each family member can choose how much they will eat of each food being served, but if the adults are eating Thai food, then so are the kids.
Eat family meals together, without distractions. You don’t have to eat every meal together, but try to make family dinner happen at least 3 or 4 times per week.
Eat your veggies. This may be as hard for adults as it is for kids, but it’s critical to good health. And a variety of veggies is important too.
You don’t have to like it, but you do have to try it. This is one that I can remember from my childhood. It turns out that when a French child says they don’t like something, the parents are likely to respond, “oh, you just haven’t tried it enough times yet.”
No snacking. It’s really ok for you (and your kids) to feel hungry between meals. In America, we tend to feed children whenever and wherever they express hunger. It turns out that often, they are just bored and not really hungry.
Eat slowly. We call this one “savor the flavor.” The key is to really enjoy the food you eat and give your body time to digest it fully.
Eat “real food.” By “real food,” we mean food that is actually cooked by humans, not stuff that comes out of a box or fast food restaurant.
Eating should be joyful. This is a matter of attitude. Relax and enjoy meals with your family. Sit around the table and talk rather than rush off to some other activity as soon as you’re finished eating.
If you follow these 10 tips for healthy eating, you too can turn your picky eaters into real foodies too!
Do You Wish Your Kid’s Ate Better? Check out our FREE eBook at www.HealthFamilyFuture.com. Many of the strategies in this book can be used by both children and adults.
Remember, healthy choices you make each day can transform your family for generations! What choices will you make today?
You may also want to read: Making Meals Fun Can Help, You Have More Influence Than You Think, Picky Eaters – What You May Not Know