Sunday, December 29, 2013

French Kids Eat Everything - Karen Le Willow

This book has the unfortunate distinction of being published about four months after Bringing Up Bebe - it focuses on many of the same themes and reaches the same conclusions about the differences between spoiled and pampered American children, and their perfect French counterparts.  Of course, I'm joking, but I couldn't help but have that negative reaction while reading this - and feeling a little bored only because I had just read it all in Bringing up Bebe.  I agree in general that many American children these days seem to rule the roost, throwing tantrums that their parents invariably succumb to, and in general behaving badly.  And, because I have three children who are relatively picky eaters, I'll read anything that has suggestions about how to overcome this.  I didn't really learn anything new from this book - but it did reinforce for me the idea of introducing foods to your children over and over - and just because they turn their noses up once, twice, twelve times, doesn't mean you stop.  As someone who didn't really start eating vegetables myself until my late 20s, I believe that our palates change as we grow older, and that we can train them to enjoy new foods.  So, I try it with my children, but I draw the line at being too strict about it, or denying them food that they will eat, if they refuse to eat the ones I've initially served.  While I am not in the business of running a restaurant out of my kitchen, I do think there needs to be some give-and-take with kids when it comes to food.  I also enjoy snacking, I think it's fun, and it gives me enjoyment.  Does it sometimes mean I'm not that hungry for my actual meal?  Yes.  Do I think that's the end of the world?  No.  So, my kids are also snackers, and I think that's just fine.  I don't expect them to be able to sit quietly through a three-hour meal.  I can do that as an adult if I have to, but I don't want to, and they shouldn't be forced to either.  Bottom line, I appreciated many of the ideas of the French that were shared in this book (and Bringing up Bebe), but I don't generally see a need to overhaul my way of life - despite the fact that my children and I are hardly the model of healthy eating.  I want my kids to have a healthy relationship with food - to enjoy it, but not depend on it.  I don't want them to feel ashamed of eating or feel like there are a million rules that surround it.  Cooking and eating and sharing a meal with friends and family are some of my greatest pleasures in life.  I hope that I can impart that to my children - while throwing in a few vegetables here and there for the ride.

No comments: