Books We Love: French Kids Eat Everything

French kids eat everything book

( This book contains a combination of parenting and feeding advice that will either seem common sense or be life-changing, depending on your own food upbringing and eating habits. Author Karen Le Billon and her husband moved their two young children from Canada to France, and encountered, among other cultural adjustments, a very different food culture in France, where kids seem to eat everything (including vegetables), do not snack between meals, and rarely complain about it. To top it off, French kids are rarely overweight, despite their love of food. Is it something in the water? You don't have to be a parent to appreciate the honest and often humorous personal anecdotes from the author as she resolves to get her two picky children eating the French way within a year.

French kids eat everything bookIt turns out that a lot of what drives French kids' behavior around food and eating is ingrained within the food culture - mindful eating; eating high-quality, minimally processed foods (but not necessarily in massive quantities); eating a wide variety of foods (including the occasional delightful treat); and not eating for emotional reasons. Overly frequent snacking is another contrast between our North American culture and that of the French: Adults do not snack between meals, and children typically get only one afternoon snack (between lunch and dinner). 

Perhaps I like this book because its central theme resonates with my own belief: Eating should be joyful, not stressful (one of the "food rules" in the book). It is more than just calories, vitamins, or minerals. I was lucky enough to watch and learn from many home cooks in my family, and there is something that changes how you appreciate eating when you know what you are savoring, where it came from, and how it was prepared.

That being said, not many of us can spare hours in the kitchen for an elaborate multi-course meal. However, it is possible to prepare tasty, healthy dishes from ingredients you can find at your grocery store, with a bit of planning and prep. The book contains simple, tasty, and interesting recipes such as Endive and Kiwi Salad, Quick No-Pastry Quiche, and Crepes, and includes kid-friendly modifications within the context of the dish without having to become a short-order cook.

Author: ​Karen Le Billon


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