Karen Le Billon Blogs about What French Kids Eat (Everything)
By living in her husband’s hometown in France for a year, Karen Le Billon was forced to retrain herself and her two young children on how to eat, what to eat, and when to eat, thus effectively divining the ten simple rules the French live by for raising happy, healthy eaters. Of course, the rules are so ingrained into French culture that a French person couldn’t rattle them off to you if you asked, but by assimilating herself and her family, Karen teased the rules out for us to all benefit from. She’s back home living in North America, and is blogging about French school lunches as a way to engage parents, educators, culinary professionals and francophiles on the subject. Please welcome Karen to TSI as our guest writer for the day–and then go check out her blog, too!
My weekly blog posts on French Kids School Lunch Project have attracted a lot of interest: each week I post a menu from a different school in France, and discuss the French approach to food education at home and at school. The menus are amazing: from guinea fowl for preschoolers in Versailles, to beet salad and fish meunière in Paris. Even small villages have fresh-cooked three- or four-course meals every day. And meals are subsidized–the lowest cost is just 20 cents per day in Paris!–to make sure no child is left out.
No culture and no parent is perfect, of course. Living in France with my French husband (and with a French mother-in-law!) has taught me about the good things we do here at home, as well as what we could learn from the French. We do a great job at fostering creativity, empathy, and initiative. The French are great at obedience, patience, and…teaching kids a love of healthy food (and a healthy love of all food). I like to think we could take the ‘best of both worlds’, and learn from the French, who pioneered the science of child health (puériculture) in the 19th century–on which their wonderful kids’ food rules, routines, and recipes are based. The blog and book try to get these ideas across in a simple, accessible way. The response has been fantastic.
Learn more about French Kids Eat Everything, Karen’s book detailing her year living in France spent discovering and learning the ten French food rules, and get to know Karen better by following her on Twitter or liking her on Facebook.