We have much to learn from the French when it comes to educating our children about healthy eating and good food, as Karen Le Billon discovered.
This week I learned of a fellow foodie who shares the same ethos of healthy eating as I do, particularly when it comes to teaching children about healthy eating and good food. It all started with this article on the BBC Good Food Magazine’s website, Do French Children Eat Everything? which related Karen Le Billon’s experience of moving from Vancouver to France with her French husband and two young children. While she was there, she began to realise the French attitude to food and healthy eating habits, especially when it comes to children, is very different in a positive way to how things have evolved in Canada, Australia, Britain or the USA.
Of course the French have been the renowned for their sumptuous cuisine and slow, lengthy eating habits for centuries – but it is apparent that they have much to teach us when it comes to encouraging children to eat healthy food, and be aware about it too. Here are a few of the things Karen says the French do differently:
The French attitude to healthy eating in schools is particularly fascinating, and you can learn more about it on Karen Le Billon’s blog –www.karenlebillon.com. As a taster, this is a quote from her blog, taken from the website of a school near Paris, explaining their ethos about lunchtimes.
“Mealtime is a particularly important moment in a child’s day. Our responsibility is to provide children with healthy, balanced meals; to develop their sense of taste; to help children, complementing what they learn at home, to make good food choices without being influenced by trends, media, and marketing; and to teach them the relationship between eating habits and health. But above all else, we aim to enable children to spend joyful, convivial moments together, to learn a ‘savoir-vivre’, to make time for communication, social exchange, and learning about society’s rules–so that they can socialize and cultivate friendships.”
Healthy eating is more than simply good food, it is also about relaxing in good company, and developing a sense of taste. Now there is an attitude we could all be adopting at evening meal times at home.
On Karen Le Billon’s blog there are tips on how they, as a busy family, manage the three course evening meal, and the experiences of others who are on a crusade to encourage their children to develop healthy eating habits and grow up with the ability to distinguish the difference between well-marketed food from real healthy food.
And thanks to Karen, there are certainly some techniques here that I will be adopting at home with my own daughter. I will let you know how I get on, and hope you will do the same by sharing your healthy eating tips for kids in the comment area below.