I have not written a book review in a while and not because I don’t read books anymore, but because I have not found one in a long time that I feel compelled to write about and encourage you to read too.
Lately I have been reading more books on picky eating as I have been trying to gain as much knowledge as possible on how to deal with picky eaters to maximize the help I offer my clients and their picky eaters.
I wrote many blog posts with tips on how to deal with a picky eater and I will continue to write more in the future as this is a topic close to my heart (I used to be an extreme picky eater myself – please notice the words “used to” – and I helped my children become good eaters).
I also know that dealing with a picky eater is an issue many parents struggle with. I have taught (and continue to teach) many parents how to help their children enjoy a wide variety of foods. I truly believe that with love, consistency, and a plan, every parent can help their picky eaters expand their food repertoire.
Recently I found a great book, “French Kids Eat Everything (and Yours can too)” written by Karen Le Billon, that I am sure you will love reading as it includes many practical tips you can apply in your home right away.
The first time I heard about this book was in 2012 when the book was being mentioned almost everywhere I went. The title of the book put me off at first as some French kids must be picky eaters.
It took me three years to decide to read “French Kids Eat Everything”. And I am going to confess that I am extremely happy I finally read it and sad that it took me so long to get to. I could not put the book down. Karen’s writing is engaging and takes you to an idyllic village in Brittany, in the south-west of France where the author lived for a year with her husband and two young daughters.
Sidetrack – When I was in six grade and still living in Romania, I visited France for 3 months during the summer holidays. The book reminded me of living there. I lived in Marseille with a lovely French couple who had grandchildren my age. I remember my time in France fondly, as I got to experience many wonderful new things (hike in the Alps, eat fresh and delicious croissants, swim in the Mediterranean Sea, eat sea urchins, visit the Eiffel Tower, and many, many other awesome things that I hope to tell you about in another post).
I loved reading “French Kids Eat Everything” as it includes many picky eating tips I subscribe to. However, I was in complete shock while reading the first 50 or so pages of the book. I could not believe some of the French approaches to feeding children. However, the more I read, the more I understood and agreed with their approach (except for a few rules – one of them being not feeding a baby on demand, but every 3 hours, even if the baby is crying and asking for food).
Here are a few food rules that Karen Le Billon talks about in her book. (The word “rule” can seem a bit constrictive. I would like you to look at these rules as more as guidelines – less regimented and with a nicer feel/sound, less menacing. When applied consistently and without pressure, these food guidelines help our children become better eaters.)
- Eat whole foods that taste good.
- Food should be enjoyed, shared, and not used as a bribe, toy, punishment, or reward. Eating food should not feel as something we are forced to do and hate every second of it.
- Sit down and eat together with the rest of the family.
- Limit distractions (TV, computers, phones, etc.) at the dinner table.
- Avoid random snacking so the stomach becomes comfortably empty before eating a meal.
- One family, one meal. Children should eat the same foods their parents eat, just smaller portions.
- Stop when feeling satisfied, not full.
- Have faith in your child. They will self-regulate and eat enough for their needs. No child will starve themselves.
- Don’t stop encouraging your child to try new foods. If they did not eat a certain food yesterday, they might enjoy it today.
Healthy eating can be fun. We can teach our kids to love the food they eat. Their mental, emotional, and physical health are important. Eating (and enjoying) their food is the foundation of their overall health.
All of us love our children and we want them to eat healthier foods. What we often lack is having a plan and consistency. “French Kids Eat Everything” teaches us in easy-to-follow steps how to make a plan and stay consistent.
If you have a little picky eater on your hands, I believe with all my heart that you will benefit immensely from reading “French Kids Eat Everything”. Karen added 18 recipes to the book, recipes that both of her kids learned to love. I think you too will discover a few recipes that your child can learn to love.
Learning how to read, write, ride a bicycle, etc. takes time and practice. Your child can also learn to enjoy eating a variety of foods. Your time, patience, and practice are all it takes to help them get there. I believe in you. I believe you can get there.
Have you read Karen’s book “French Kids Eat Everything”? I would love to know your thoughts if you did.
P.S. Do you need more help with your little picky eater? Check out my “Picky Eating? No More!” program. It might be the right program for you and your child.