Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tot Talk: Kids Eat Everything... right?

Ugh, trying to get kids to eat is an everyday day challenge. I can remember giving my kids a small cup filled with, cheerios, raisins or what ever I had in the cupboard that could travel in a plastic container and could then be found between my toes.

Have you ever hear of a book called, French Kids Eat Everything? Illustrations are fantastic and the ideas are very informative. In her hilarious memoir, Le Billon share 10 rules she learned from the French about how to raise happy, healthy eaters. Takes a looks at these rules...

Parents schedule meals. Kids eat what adults eat.
French children eat three meals a day, plus a snack (or "le goƻter") at 4pm. Parents choose the menu, and there are no substitutions.
Eat family meals together--and make them feel special.
The French never, ever, eat without putting a tablecloth on the table," Candles, pretty plates, cloth napkins--"It immediately puts them on their best behavior," she writes.
Food is not a reward, punishment or bribe.
It's time to stop treating your child like a puppy. Using actions like "Let's set up the sprinkler!" is just more fun.
Eat your veggies. Key: Think variety.
The French typically serve veggies first at a meal, when kids are hungriest, says Le Billon. Mix up a different yummy dish each day.
You don't have to like it, but you do have to taste it.
"Refrain from begging or even asking them to eat, and do not praise them for eating. Keep the conversation positive and not focused on the food, so that the kids will want to be at the table. If the child refuses to eat, the parents simply take the food away without too much comment." According to nutritionists, most children have to taste new foods 7-15 times before they willingly agree to eat them! So if kids initially don't like a certain food, it doesn't mean they never will. Fascinating, right? 
No snacking. It's OK to feel hungry between meals.
"Hunger is the best seasoning," say the French. And it's true: Food tastes better when you're hungry, and kids will eat more "real" food when they're hungry, instead of filling up on snacks. You too mom!
Slow food is happy food. As in, eat slowly.

French children spend a minimum of thirty minutes at the school lunch table--even when they're teeny! Meals aren't just about eating, of course, but also about socializing with friends. I know you don't have time -- Make it.

It's not just your children learning about proper manners and eating habits; it's you too. What do you think? Try it out for a bit and see what happens? 

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