French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters

French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters

French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters

French Kids Eat Everything is a wonderfully wry account of how Karen Le Billon was able to alter her children’s deep-rooted, decidedly unhealthy North American eating habits while they were all living in France.

At once a memoir, a cookbook, a how-to handbook, and a delightful exploration of how the French manage to feed children without endless battles and struggles with pickiness, French Kids Eat Everything features recipes, practical tips, and ten easy-to-follow rules for raising happy and healthy young eaters—a sort of French Women Don’t Get Fat meets
Food Rules.

List Price: $ 24.99

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3 Comments so far »

  1. NavyWifeLovesLife said,

    Wrote on April 21, 2013 @ 4:36 am

    103 of 113 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Just What I Was Looking For!, April 6, 2012
    By 
    NavyWifeLovesLife (Florida, USA) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters (Hardcover)

    I just finished reading this book and I loved it. I bought this after finishing ‘Bringing Up Bebe’, and I wanted more tips on how to get my child to enjoy more foods. I also wanted to change my own food habits, so this was perfect for me. I hate how I eat and I hate how the way my family eats has affected their health negatively. I am still young and in good health and I want it to stay that way. I don’t enjoy eating and food much, because I like to eat and just move on to the next thing as fast as possible. I now realize that by taking my time to eat and to cook healthy meals, I can de-stress and enjoy my life more. Slowing down to enjoy food and family is just what I needed.

    I am sure that a lot of people (especially Americans) will probably not give this book as good a review as it deserves, because there are a couple of parts in the book that pretty much say that everything about the way Americans eat (as well as some other Europeans and Canada) is so very wrong. I am inclined to agree 100%, because if nothing was wrong with how Americans eat then our childhood obesity rate wouldn’t be what it is. But I can see how some people might be ready to get all upset about somebody telling them that their eating habits are wrong. So unless you want to and are willing to make a big change in your eating habits for the sake of your child, don’t bother reading this book. It is the slap in the face that I needed and what I think America needs, but is too lazy and complacent to accept.

    So far my family and I have begun changing our lifestyles, little by little, to follow the ‘rules’ in the book. It has been amazing. We have had several meals ‘the French way’ and we have enjoyed them immensely. My daughter is very young (just started solids) so this is the perfect time for me to have read this book. She will never know how bad me and her dad used to eat, and how bad our habits were. I think its great that I will never have to go through a time with her where she will refuse to eat things. Her dad and I are not picky eaters at all and I can’t stand to have meals with picky eaters, so we are willing to do whatever it takes to keep her from being like that. The changes we have made so far are small, but we are working slowly towards our goal of eating the way we should at every single meal.

    This is a great book if you are looking for a lifestyle change that will help you and your kids eat healthier and lead more enjoyable lives. If you are willing to put forth some minor effort to change and you really try at it, its not that hard. I lead an incredibly busy life and this has actually simplified it a lot! The recipes included are great and the anecdotes are funny. It is a fun book to read. I highlighted and underlined a lot of passages to read again. The rules are simple (not rigid) and easy to apply to everyday life, even if you don’t live in France. Any family and any person can follow them super easily.

    —— UPDATE ——

    I just wanted to update my review now that its been several months since I closed the cover. My daughter is now a a busy toddler and is eating more ‘big girl’ foods. I wanted to revist this review just to say that this book has definitely made a lasting impression on me, my parenting, and my life. This has helped me so much. Currently my family is very busy and we barely have time to do anything, much less take the time to cook nice dinners, but somehow we have been able to carve out time here and there to use dinner as a time to connect, even if we aren’t always able to do that with every single meal. We are still working on a lot of the main principles outlined in the book, since its hard to undo 20 something years of ‘bad’ eating in a few months or weeks. We are just doing what we can, when we can, and its working for us.

    I really appreciate the many anecdotes in the book and the funny stories now that my daughter is a toddler and has learned to say, ‘no’, and ‘I don’t want any’. Often when I offer her new foods she shakes her head and dumps it in the floor. And yes, sometimes it is frustrating but eventually she will try a bit after offering her the food several times in different ways. My daughter doesn’t like certain textures so we have to work with her on that, and this book has given me the knowledge that she won’t always hate sticky foods, its just a phase and eventually with work she’ll get over it. I now know that sometimes you have to try something 100 different ways before you like it.

    My husband and I have applied this to our own eating habits. He hates squash so I have tried to get him to try it in various dishes in order to test the theories in this book and I do think they work. I have prepared squash for him in almost every possible way, and while he does not like every single dish he does enjoy some of them. Also we have cut out or cut down on a lot of bad eating habits like eating fast food and take…

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  2. toast2taste said,

    Wrote on April 21, 2013 @ 5:31 am

    54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    French Kids Eat Everything – But not just anything and not just anytime or anywhere, April 17, 2012
    By 
    toast2taste (Paris and San Diego) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters (Hardcover)

    After a decade of French and France bashing, the pendulum seems to be swinging in the other direction with a range of new books extolling the magic of the French art de vivre. After Pamela Druckerman’s coquettish “I’m not even sure I like it here” but nonetheless rose-tinted view of life in France (read, Paris), it’s refreshing to read Karen Bakker Le Billon’s earnest attempt to understand the French way of educating bébé at the table. While Druckerman bears and rears her children in Paris and in a French cultural context from conception, Le Billon moves with her French husband and two small children, ages two and six at the time, from the ultra-permissive, child-centered food culture of North America (Vancouver, to be exact) to the authoritarian and comparatively rigid environment of Brittany.

    The Le Billon grandparents are horrified by the manners and eating habits of their Franco-Canadian grandchildren. From their French family’s perspective the children eat constantly, at inappropriate times and places, and with so sense of etiquette – n’importe quoi, n’importe quand et n’importe comment. Le Billon is not happy with her daughters’ poor eating habits and limited culinary range, but feels powerless to change them until she realizes that behavior tolerated at home is unacceptable in France and could pose a significant impediment to her children’s social acceptance.
    With the rational mind and experimental rigor of her academic background, she sets out to identify aspects of French food culture that will help her educate her own children on healthy eating and good manners. What makes the book interesting is that Le Billon is not herself in love with the French way of life and she is not a foodie by a long shot. She is no instant convert to eating a wide variety of foods and spending hours languishing at the table either. Le Billon is not afraid to voice her discomfort with the rigidity of French culture with regards to expectations of child behavior. She often finds French attitudes towards children and food downright mean.

    In the beginning Le Billon views children making their own food choices as empowering and the rigid rules around eating times unnecessarily strict. In American culture, choosing your own food is indicative of the overarching importance placed on individual liberty. French culture, in contrast, values communal sharing of food as a means of strengthening bonds and increasing cohesiveness.
    While Le Billon wishes that her daughters could adopt the manners and varied palates of their French peers she herself is a reluctant cook with a somewhat fearful and anxious attitude towards food. She sees mealtime as a chore and a time drain. However, over the course of the year she comes to appreciate not only the health benefits of specific mealtimes, a varied diet and no snacking, but also the interpersonal benefits of relaxed time together as a family. Meal times transition from battleground to an opportunity to spend time together, to connect, to be joyful and to relax. The book is overly long in my opinion, but the reader does identify with the slowness of her process in coming to terms – and eventual acceptance – of a way of eating that runs through French culture. Restraint, connection and pleasure are all to be found around the table.

    Where this book distinguishes itself from others in the genre is that it does not conclude in France with a rosy cinematic fade out of the annual family day-long garden feast and a `happy end’ to the food wars. After their year in Brittany, the Le Billon family returns to Vancouver, intent on maintaining the French culinary art de vivre, or lifestyle. The return, as my family knows all too well, was rocky. They had spent a year consciously exploring another view entirely of food and its place in their lives culminating, literally, with the 10 commandments of eating well, only to find that it is very difficult and a whole lot less pleasurable to walk the walk in the land of ten minute school lunches. K-Rae Nelson, Toast2Taste.blogspot.com

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  3. Laura J. Valle said,

    Wrote on April 21, 2013 @ 5:58 am

    96 of 114 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Excellent until move back to North America, April 12, 2012
    By 
    Laura J. Valle (Norman, OK) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters (Hardcover)

    I purchased this book after I read the book description regarding how the author integrated what she learned in France into her family’s lives back in North America. Having recently moved from Paris, expecting our first baby, and scared to death of raising my child in our current American food culture, I really was hoping to glean some ideas on what to do to keep my child away from American junk food, fast food, processed food, and from snacking all the time as I see children do here. I thought the book was terrific the whole time they were in France – it reinforced what I had learned there and reminded me of all the things I do want to do with my children/family. However, I found their move back to North America less than inspiring and overall not helpful. The author resumed allowing her children to snack throughout the day at school and did nothing regarding the lack of time her children had to eat in school and their poor lunch selections. She also started purchasing processed foods in the house for “just in case” times (like peer visits) and allows her children to eat fast foods on days beginning with “F”. I do not want to home school my children, so I really was hoping for some real, solid suggestions on keeping my children healthy in an unhealthy, fast food society. I do not want my children to snack throughout the day, eat processed food at all (especially not partially hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup) and I will never let my children go to fast food restaurant chains – nothing on their menus are healthy whatsoever.

    Definitely, the first part of the book is a good read, especially for those who have never lived in France or in Europe. There are also recipes in the back of the book that are quite nice and useful for quick healthy meals. It would be lovely to see a full cookbook filled with French, family-friendly, easy recipes (hint-hint). The research in this book is also sound, and overall, the book is a good read. I was just highly disappointed in lack of answers I sought out to find – how to raise my children in the American society while still maintaining a whole foods, unprocessed, slow, healthy way of eating. And personally, I was shocked that the author chose to move back. We did not have a choice, but hope to return someday (maybe even before our children enter the American school system), so it is also hard for me to understand why someone would want to give up that wonderful life for a life of fast paced, shove-faux-food-in-as-you-go, kind of life style.

    Definitely a must-read for those in America who want to change their relationship with food (enjoyment/nourishment instead of reward/punishment) and to attempt to carve out a better way of life for their children in America’s obsessive processed/fake food culture.

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