Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Are those Frenchies better at food than us?

This week I strangely came across two bits of info which led me to wonder, what is the deal with the French?  The first was this hugely interesting article by Karen Le Billon, who blogs at French Kids Eat Everything.  She is an American lady who lived in France and has observed this amazing phenomenon which leads to French school kids eating carrot salad and radishes and cherry clafoutis - I wish!

Here is the post where she ponders on why France has the lowest child obesity rates in the developed world.  She notes that the French don't know more about nutrition than Americans but that they do tend to take a totally different approach to food (less anxious).  For example, the French are more likely to associate food with pleasure than Americans who associate food with health.  The French spend twice as much time eating than Americans but their kids are three times less likely to be fat!

Admittedly, it's a bit hard to find a take home message from the article but it seems that one of the things that is entrenched in French culture, and importantly French schools, is that kids should try everything.  They don't have to like it, they just have to try it.  There is even a tasting curriculum in schools which culminates in a certificate at Grade 4.

Leo, our 4-year-old, is absolutely hopeless at trying anything that he is not sure about and it often drives me nuts.  So I have totally done something that I swore I never would (again) and started one of those sticker charts.  Every time he tries a new food, he gets a star sticker and when he gets 10 stickers he can have a Lego minifigure (bribery anyone?) 

I used to look at people who did this stuff and think I would never be so lame but it totally works and Leo has already tried a mushroom, a strawberry and a prune. 

The other Frenchy fact for the week is that they have the lowest rate of breastfeeding in the developed world.  I've got no idea why that is so it must be a blog for another day!

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