Somehow I've found myself reading books about the french parenting style. (No, I don't have any announcements to make!). Such is the life of a nutrition nerd.
It all started with this article I posted about a few months ago on the superiority of French parenting style. The nutritional implications of the French parenting style are huge. The article wet my appetite, and the prospect of learning how to avoid fights over broccoli at the dinner table was too much for my dietitian ears to ignore. But life got in the way and I kind of forgot about it.
Then a few weeks ago there was a lot of press about a great book by Karen Le Billion called French Kids Eat Everything, which sparked my interest in the subject again, and I pre-ordered a copy of the book on amazon (the first and only book I've ever pre-ordered -- goes to show what a nutrition nerd I am). When it showed up on my Kindle a few weeks later, I was practically giddy. And I devoured the book in just a few days.
Here's a few of the many points I took away:
French parents prioritize meal times, and schedule them. Breakfast, lunch, a 4 o'clock snack for the kids, and dinner. Nothing is to be eaten outside of these times or away from the table. This is a far cry from the snack-at-every occasion childhood kids are experiencing in the US. It's as if we're afraid that if we go more than two hours without given children a snack they're going to plunge into a blood sugar abyss. And we're not reaching for apples during these snacks. These snacking habits warrant a separate post, which I'll plan for sometime soon.
French parents start their babies eating solid food with homemade vegetable purees, not cereal porridge. This trains the palate for vegetables, and seems brilliant to me! The book has recipes and tips if you're interested in this.
The school system is an integral part of a child's food education. Not nutrition education, per se, but food habits, manners, scheduling, and exploration of new foods.
If you're at all interested in child nutrition or eating habits, I suggest you pick up a copy.
But there were also some unanswered questions that came up for me when reading this book. And thanks to the magic that is Amazon (and their strikingly effective "recommendations for you"), I delved further into the French parenting subject with Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman.
I'm half-way through this book, and have to laugh at myself for reading a book about parenting, but its a great book! And I keep finding places where it ties into nutrition and childhood obesity. I'll report back on this book when I'm done, but so far it's made an impression on me.
Best of all, along the way, I'm learning an awful lot about the food culture I've moved into (France and Belgium have similar food habits and ideals). Now I need to work up to reading books about the french style of nutrition and parenting in French but I'm a ways from that one.