Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A guest post: Secrets to fostering good eating habits in our children

I am very excited to share a guest post I have written for Janet Lansbury's wonderful, inspirational blog.

All (or nearly ;-)) my secrets to enjoying meals with my son and fostering healthy eating habits.

Go check it out, it's here.

Back soon with a new post and recipe...

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  1. Hi Helene - great post. Thanks for sharing your insight. Since reading your blog and "French Kids Eat Everything" last summer, meal times have been anticipated (instead of dreaded) events in our household - yay! What is your opinion on finishing food before getting more... How do you handle requests for seconds on a particular food item if the other items on the plate haven't been eaten (for ex, more chicken but vegetables haven't been eaten or vice versa)? What about moving on to the next course (i.e. moving on to dessert/cheese course if they didn't eat the main course)?

    1. Hi Lila! Congratulations, what a great shift for the better for your family, it's wonderful! I handle resquests for seconds within reason. Meaning, I don't give more of a food to compensate for another not being eaten. But I do often to agree to it because children may have a craving for a certain nutrient or food because their body needs it. Pablo has gone through phases of craving more meat, or more dairy, or more greens... I give a little bit more, and when I deem it's enough, then I say, "If you are still hungry, you may have what is left on your plate". I will have limits on quantity served for starches, sweets or meat, but of course if he asks for seconds or thirds of asparagus, I'm all for it ;-) As far as moving on to the next course, what I do ask is that he wait. If we are not done with the current course, he may decide he's done with his plate, but he has to wait until we are done too to move on to the next course. If he's hungry, he will often reconsider eating more of what's on his plate. Except for special occasions, I limit dessert to plain whole fat yogurt or a piece of fruit (which we often share). But basically, I respect what he says, but never give more of another course to compensate. Hope this helps! Keep up the good eating :-)

    2. Hi Helene! I love, love, love your blog! Thank you so much for taking the time to write each thoughtful post! I read the book "French Kids Eat Everything" and loved it too, but your blog has really made it easier to put the "rules" in action!

      Related to the above question... My son has been a fantastic eater, once he got used to eating solid foods. He would try anything happily. He didn't always like it at first, but with more introductions, there hasn't been anything he hasn't liked. It was so exciting! However he is now 13 months, and the past 2-3 weeks has stopped eating almost all vegetables, most meat, sometimes grains, and more rarely fruits. Since reading "French Kids Eat Everything" I make a point to sit down and eat together following the four courses. He will ignore the first course of vegetables completely even though shortly before he was whining, I believe because he's hungry. When I try to offer them to him he will just turn his head and gently push my hand away, so they just sit on his tray until I finish mine. I act non-chalant about it, but it kills me that my great vegetable eater isn't eating them! It seems as if he is just waiting for the next courses, most especially the yogurt, since he gets yogurt at each meal now for dessert. Yogurt is the one thing he will still eat well consistently. I only give him an ounce or two, as I think would be appropriate for a dessert portion. Between meals, we don't snack on foods, but I do have frozen breastmilk he is still working through, and will drink about 3-4oz about 3 times a day. A typical day lately consists of him eating a good breakfast (the one meal he eats no problem) of yogurt oatmeal and fruit. Lunch: 2oz yogurt, skipping all other courses. Dinner: literally one bite of meat, a bite or two of a grain, and 2 oz of yogurt. Why do you think this is happening? What would a French parent do in this senario?

      Sorry to be so lengthy! Any insight you have would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Hi Helene, I'm so happy I came across your blog via Janet Lansbury! I was wondering if you've ever posted information about your typical portion sizes (both baby and adult), or if not, if you might be able to provide some more information about the average portion sizes for the different courses you serve at mealtimes. Thanks! Erika

    1. Hi Erika, and welcome :-) I don't really have guidelines for portion sizes because it's so variable, trusting our bodies is the best determining factor for portions. The only thing I was more precise about, is the quantity of protein offered, especially for an infant or young toddler, not giving too much (30 g tops per serving from 12mo-3y). Trusting the toddler to know his body is the key to portions. And some trial and error to guestimate what works for your family. Of course, our general plate portions tend to be smaller than a typical "American" serving, because of the several courses, each course leaves a little room for the next basically. The good use of leftovers is an important side point to this question, we use a lot of dinner leftovers for our lunches (rice or quinoa made into a salad, chicken, or pork, eaten cold with mustard for lunch, etc.) For babies, you might want to check out the "Feeding Baby" section, I have a segment for each age group, portions start real small (all led by baby), from a couple of spoonfuls to 1 oz, to 2 oz a little bit later... I hope this answers your question! :-)

  3. Sadly, something must have eaten my comment a few days ago, but I just wanted to tell you how absolutely thrilled I am to have found your blog. I live in Belgium and I studied French language at university (my mother tongue is Dutch). After high school, I went to France, to a lovely family who had a bed&breakfast, to practice my French. For some personal reasons (mostly nerves about the novelty of the next year and the crush on my boyfriend that I did not want to leave for more than a week, stupid, stupid, stupid), I came home waaaaay too early BUT there was awakened what now clearly is my love of cooking. They produced a lot of what they made themselves, they made the most delicious cheese, and made such festive meals out of simple ingredients. This blog brings it all back (also the regret of returning home way too soon, silly me) and makes me enthusiastic to pick it up. I have learned myself to cook and now I'm fairly confident in the kitchen, but the meal with several courses, the freshness and simpleness... I want that for my little boy. I want that for my husband. I want that for me too.
    And what you wrote in your guest post about respect, trust and there role in education... it has been gut feeling, but there you had it written down in the way I needed to hear. Thank you so much!

    You gained a faithful reader :)

    1. Hi there, and thank you so much for reposting your kind comment! Welcome, thrilled to have you :-) Embracing the idea of cooking and sharing food with your family is a life-enriching gift, and it sounds like that stayed with you even after you shortened stay in France, which is so wonderful!

    2. Coming from a fellow blogger...what a flattering, inspiring comment!! You don't know what this means to a blogger ;-)


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