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

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Overview

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 ...

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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

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

BonAppetit.com
Le Billon . . . strategically identified questions she faced while living abroad: Why were French kids tidier eaters? Why did they sit quietly at restaurants? Why did her daughter’s teacher suggest she see a therapist when she wanted to pack her school lunch?
Publishers Weekly
Part cultural study, memoir, and children's food guide, Le Billon's book is a breezy but practical volume for hurried parents looking to keep their kids well-fed. A mother of two young girls (Sophie and Claire), the author recalls the year her family lived in Pléneuf Val-André, France, her husband Philippe's hometown on the Brittany coast. She compares North American eating habits (e.g., fast-food consumption, constant snacking) to French norms they learned along the way—"French parents gently compel their children to eat healthy food. They expect their kids to eat everything they are served, uncomplainingly." In due time, Le Billon (Eau Canada) drafts a set of rules for her daughters, strategies she believes readers can easily follow as well—parents should "schedule meals and menus;" "Kids should eat what adults eat: no substitutes and no short-order cooking;" and perhaps most importantly: parents "are in charge of food education!" Her tone is straightforward, generous, and gentle. That Le Billon concludes with a small collection of kid-friendly recipes—including a Five-Minute Fish en Papillote and Clafoutis (sweet cherry soufflé)—makes this kid-friendly foodie manifesto all the more accessible. (Apr. 3)
BonAppetit.com
“Le Billon . . . strategically identified questions she faced while living abroad: Why were French kids tidier eaters? Why did they sit quietly at restaurants? Why did her daughter’s teacher suggest she see a therapist when she wanted to pack her school lunch?”
Marion Nestle
“It takes a brave couple to move two picky–eater kids into a French small town and convert them to foodie omnivores. We have much to learn from European food traditions, and the contrast between French and North American school lunches is a striking example. A must–read for teachers and parents.”
Patricia Wells
“Humorous as well as instructive, this culinary adventure will change the lives of parents and children alike. . . . Karen Le Billon and her children learn that it’s okay to feel hungry between meals, turn to mindful eating, and learn the importance of enjoying one’s food.”
Laura Calder
“This book is not only about how to teach children (and yourself) to eat well and happily for life, it’s a book about how to help build and maintain the foundations of any civilized society. I loved it. Essential reading, whether you have children or not.”
Elizabeth Bard
“A wonderful—and important—book. One family’s topsy-turvy culinary transformation becomes an in-depth exploration of the habits that have kept French kids loving food (and eating spinach) for centuries.”
Lynne Rossetto Kasper
“A fascinating and valuable read.”
Library Journal
More than 50 years ago, families ate meals together at the table on a regular schedule, children weren't served separate meals, and snacking between meals wasn't rampant. When food advocate Le Billon (environment & sustainability, Univ. of British Columbia) moved her half-Canadian, half-French family to France, she was surprised to find out that this is how the French still live. Quickly acknowledging that her child-centered method of parenting has spawned two picky eaters, she embarked on a yearlong food experiment to analyze the French culture of parenting and food and devised ten French "food rules." In her view, French parents are stricter, more demanding, and less indulgent than North American parents and, as a result, she concludes, French children have more self-control at the table and eat what is served to them. After a year of food-related misunderstandings, arguments, gaffes, and faux pas, the family moved back to Canada, where Le Billon unsuccessfully tried to institute the French food rules at her daughter's school. VERDICT By the end, Le Billon's obsession with French food culture and French children who obediently enjoy eating everything they are served becomes both annoying and exhausting. Parents looking to experiment with diet changes may wish to focus on the last chapter, which summarizes Le Billon's rules.—Pauline Baughman, Multnomah Cty. Lib., Portland, OR
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062103307
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/6/2014
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 131,883
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen Bakker Le Billon is a professor at the University of British Columbia, and was named one of Canada's Top 40 Under 40 in 2011. A Rhodes Scholar with a Ph.D. from Oxford, she has published three scholarly books. For the past decade, she and her family have divided their time between Canada and France.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Mom's Choice Award Recipient!

    French Kids Eat Everythingvis a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom’s Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling Author and; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom’s Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2012

    This is a great book if you want an alternative to our fast-food

    This is a great book if you want an alternative to our fast-food, beige American diet. I just finished a summer camp with a bunch of kids that proved challenging during snack time. I consistently heard from the K-3 crowd, "I hate that. I won't eat that!" You would think we were serving cow's tongue. Nope. We offered a variey of cheese, pretzels, fruit, and jello. I agree with the author that we need to reclaim our authority as parents. We can be gentle and assertive but whatever is served at dinner is what the family eats.

    I do have to comment on the quiche recipe. Although it is not a traditional recipe it does work and it is good. Since the flour is mixed into the quiche itself (and not as a pie crust) it gives it a sturdier texture and consistancy and is definately yummy and filling. The key is to add your own spices to suit your taste.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2012

    Enjoyable and thought provoking

    This is an easy read that will make you stop and think about your families eating habits.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2012

    Charming and optimistic

    This reads a bit like the Swiss Family Robinson for foodies and those of us who enjoy traveling to France. I particularly enjoyed the author's tenacity and creative spirit as she learned to make family meal pleasurable after a well-intentioned but unsucessful period of forcing the new rules abruptly. This is a family I want to cook for me and be my friends!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    Excellent Advice

    I really wish I read this book before my kids were born and I may have been able to get my kids to sleep through the night and not be such picky eaters. The French are very wise when it comes to rearing children. Very simple advice - nothing too complicated. I also love the idea of NO SNACKS. I've already starting using the French way of feeding my family.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2012

    Definitely recommend especially for new mothers

    I wish I had this book when my kids were little. It has always been a struggle to get them to eat well. This book does offer practical advice and inspiration. I haven't tried the recipes yet but I plan too. I love the incite into the French culture, always interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2012

    very interesting

    As a parent of a picky 6 year old, I found the book very interesting. It also gave me things to think about in how we all eat at home. Unfortunately, the quiche recipe is not edible as written. I don't think its like any quiche I've ever had, including in France, and we had to throw most of it away.

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    Posted April 5, 2012

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