Sitting at a cafe in her red stroller moccasin shoes and a red ribbon politely cutting up her steak and cheerfully munching on her “haricots verts” (green beans) and broccoli.
Yes, that is your typical 4 year old Parisian girl. If you have ever visited France or most parts of Europe you probably wondered how are these kiddos so open to eating what we call here “adult food”?!
Here are a few habits you can easily adopt into your child’s eating routine.
Expose your child to as many different foods as possible even if they just have one bite! A common French parenting phrase when it comes to meal time is ”Juste essaye!” (Just try it). Instantly your child will step away from what we call “a picky eater”. Have your child taste everything you prepare from the first course to the last one. Try those vegetables in a variety of ways. Bake it, grill it, sauteé it. Let your child explore food in different textures, flavors and aromas. Talk to your kiddo about the new foods…Is it crunchy? Is it soft? what does it smell like? Keep in mind that your child is able to have as big of a taste palate as you do if you just expose them to a variety of foods.
– French kids have a time and place for meals!
French kiddos help mommy with making dinner and are involved in family meal time. Get your child to wash the vegetables, sprinkle the spices into the pot and help you set the table.
French kids not only help prepare for the meal but they also sit at the “salle à manger” (Dining room) just like mommy and daddy and are expected to enjoy meal time conversations with their parents. Not your typical dinner in front of cartoons but, a truly pleasant and enjoyable family meal. French parenting books will also advise that there is a time and place to eat. Step away from the typical Pirate Botty ziplocs that your child carries around all day. Children do not need to constantly be eating. Limit the “goûter” (snack time) to once or twice a day. This will help your child look forward to a nice family dinner with mom and dad.
– Serve your meals in courses – Yes courses!
Serving meals in courses will not only teach your child patience and good manners but will also promote healthy eating. Start your meals with a warm soup or a plate of veggies and fruits. You can also make a plate of “crudité” (raw veggies) for your kiddos to munch on while you finish up making dinner. Keep it wholesome! Keep it fun!
Do you have some tips that worked for your kiddos? Please share!
Sophie Le Petit Gan
Below is a sample menu of what we serve our kiddos at school. Similarly to the French creché (preschool) the menu is balanced with a variety of organic and wholesome foods served in multiple courses. The kids LOVE IT and most of all they are excited about having a balanced nutrition or as the french say “repas équilibrés: ;)!
Bringing up Bébé is a fabulous and entertaining book all about French parenting…