Katie Couric visted Good Morning Americaas a guest co-host and had a chance to talk to Karen Le Billon about her new book “French Kids Eat Everything.” Karen tells Katie that moving to France cured her children of picky eating. She says we Americans really have a lot to learn from the French when it comes to food and kids. She noticed in France that the kids eat very well. And there is not the childhood obesity problem like there is here in the United States. Karen shared statistics that kids in the United States are three times more likely to be obese than French children. It has a lot to do with what they eat and how well they eat. So how does Karen get her two young daughters to actually eat broccoli and beets? The complete title of her book will give you a clue, French Kids Eat Everything: How our family moved to France, cured picky eating, banned snacking, and discovered 10 simple rules for raising happy, healthy eaters.
Here are some tips she shared with Katie…..
- “No Snacking” was one of the tougher changes they made. French kids only have one snack a day, afterschool, around four o’clock, and it’s usually a nice fun treat like a nice chocolate square. She says they don’t go rummaging through the cabinets looking for snacks at other times of the day and you won’t see cupholders on strollers in France. She said in America, kids seem to constantly be snacking on something or drinking sugary drinks and juice all day.
Karen reminded us that “No eating between meals” actually used to be the norm in the United States up until about 1970. Now kids snack three times a day and one in five kids snack five times a day
- French children always eat the same food as their parents. No extra cooking to make special dishes to appeal to the child’s taste buds. Americans tend to let our kids dictate what they want to eat. In France the parents are in charge.
- The French get their children’s taste buds used to vegetables at a very early age. Karen says that one of the first foods the French give their babies is leek soup, not bland rice cereals like we tend to do here in the States. They like to start their babies on a variety of tasty puréed vegetables. One day a mother may give her baby an orange purée like pumpkin and the next day may give them a green purée or a red purée. They are constantly giving them a variety of tastes even as young as eight months old. Karen includes a leek soup recipe as well as others in her book. But you can find this one on the Good Morning America’s website…Baby’s Vichyssoise (White Leek Soup)
- School lunches are very much like any other French meal. A typical French meal might be four courses. The first course may be an endive and kiwi salad, main course might be steamed baked fish with a side of broccoli. The third course would be a cheese course. They normally don’t drink milk with their meal, but drink water. They get their dairy from the cheese. To the French eating is about moderation not deprivation. So they have a dessert which many times is fresh fruit but they do include their sweet treats like a cherry soufflé. Here is an example of a week’s school lunches in Brest, France as presented by Karen on her blog KarenLeBillon.com. Karen said the recipes for these meal suggestions are also included in her book.
- The French families sit down together and take time to slowly eat and enjoy their meal. The children don’t have to like everything on their plate but they have to taste everything on their plate.
- Karen points out that the French only take about 18 minutes more to prepare a meal. That was one change she said she could do. She could take 18 more minutes to make a nice healthy meal for her family.
This Video from Sunday Morning’s Man in Paris, David Turecamo explores France’s strict diet regiment within the school system’s gourmet lunch menu.
Bon Appétit !
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