View Full Version : French children eat everything!

13-05-2015, 10:04 PM
Saw this article on Facebook ,
Very interesting read on fussy eating!


14-05-2015, 08:02 AM
I have bought this book for my husbands birthday - well, one of his gifts.

For the last 30 years we have holidayed in France, we try to stay a month but usually 3 weeks, we rent a gite and just live there really rather than holiday as such, so we get to know neighbours and eat in local family based restaurants. We soon noticed how well behaved the french children were at the table and how they eat the same as adults - no children's junk menus just the option of smaller portions. Consequently children are always welcomed in these restaurants, no crayons and colouring in sight either, the children just join in the conversation with adults.
Over the years as we have hosted evenings at our rented homes discussions have taken place around this and the main reason I have concluded is that adults spend time with children, quality time, meal times are important to the whole family eating together is more important than an early bedtime and the homelife is around the meal first, then social, tv etc.. but first and foremost children are important. In French supermarkets you see families shopping and children helping, rarely do you hear " oy come ere" which is the music in our local Morrisons. Children hunt in the fruit section for quality fruit, one little lad a couple of years ago indicated that I shouldn't take this melon and pointed to a huge blemish. Children attend the local markets and actually join in the shopping, not just run up and down.
Unfortunately there are too many British children brought up by parents on faddy weaning methods, food for fuel, families where meals are eaten in front of the tv, on the run, at little tables not dining tables and a suitable height chair or booster seat, parents not enjoying cooking or no skills so readymade is the norm.

Her key tip is having food aspiration, acknowledging that the child might not like it now, but prepared to try it and expect that one day soon they will. I think that is great - but the biggest influence is the family eating together as good role models. When I read on here about childminders providing evening meals around 4.30-5 I despair, These children are at least getting a good role modal of family style eating, though not if they are doing so around tiny children tables, but what is their parents attitude to meals if they don't want to eat with their child in the evening? What messages are being given to these children around family meals? Meals should be a happy occasion not a fuel stop in my opinion. Preparing together is just as important as eating too. The LO's I have whose parents have this attitude are great eaters, try foods, polite well mannered, can use cutlery, never have the 'can I get down from the table mantra'. I read on a social network site that some childminders allow children to eat and run- as soon as they are finished the child can leave and continue playing - there were enough saying this for it to come across as being perfectly ok, but in reality I think it was because the CM's didn't want the hassle of keeping them at the table until every one has finished by talk or expectation.

I bought the book for ideas for him as my DH is our chef and also because it's a subject that we often discuss when we are away....I can't wait to read it though.

14-05-2015, 08:45 AM
There are so many factors at play here.

We also noticed how well behaved children were in restaurants in France and Italy. Yes, they were eating from the same menu and using the same cutlery, maybe smaller portions and smaller cutlery - but not plastic. They were included in the conversation etc etc. Being curious though - does that mean that they are having more salt because they are eating adult meals? Is this why they enjoy them so much? Yes, I know at home we can cook the child's portion separately before we add all the salt, or flavour it with herbs/spices instead, but is this really what is happening in the French and Italian restaurants and homes? We know too many kids over here love salty foods - takeaways, McDonalds etc. Do we strive too hard to make our children's food so healthy that it is too bland and undesirable and then resort to the convenience foods which they will eat?

14-05-2015, 08:45 AM
I have one family who pick up at 6pm (but only have two days a week), and I provide an evening meal. When the dad picks up, his first question is 'When did the two year old have a nap'? All he wants to do, is take the kids home, put them to bed by 7pm! The kids haven't seen their parents since 7.30am!
Dad has gone one better, he now works away from home 500 miles away and only comes home at the weekend, as he couldn't cope with the 'stress' of looking after the 3 boys on his own in the evening. Mum would get back by 8pm.

Makes me feel sorry for the kids and the mum :(

14-05-2015, 10:50 AM
This is all interesting. I've tried to be consistent with my daughter from day one of her eating, having the same meals that we do, made from scratch, served at the table, no sweet treats (other than fruit) and she's still a fussy eater. :S

I had a funny food moment yesterday when I served snack to the children. We were assembling our own stuffed pittas and a child turned to me in shock telling me that I had placed a bowl of leaves on the table. It was salad. :D