French Kids Eat That?

In our week cycling in France, we stayed and ate at lovely inns. My high school French came in handy, especially when it came to reading menus.

The meal always began with a surprise nibble called “amuse-bouche” and proceeded to an appetizer, dinner, cheese and then dessert. I’m not sure we cycled enough to pedal off the calories, but it was a vacation not a marathon.

What got me was the children’s menu. Do French kids really eat this?

Here’s one of the menus:

Pour les Enfants

Le Foie Gras de Canard au Naturel
Ou
Les Asperges Vertes, Sauce aux Herbes

 Râble de Lapin Rôti, Quelques  Le´gumes de Printemps
Ou
Filet de Poisson, Pureé de Pomme de Terre

 Assiette de Fraises,Crème Chantilly
Ou
Glace Carambar

Translation:

Duck Liver Paté
Or
Green asparagus in Herb Sauce

Pan Roast Rabbit, with spring vegetables
Or
Fillet of fish with mashed potatoes

Strawberries with whipped cream
Or
Ice Cream with Caramel Sauce

Foie Gras

My three kids, when young, would have eaten the mashed potatoes and dessert.  I prepared balanced meals, usually incorporating most of the crucial food groups, but their favorite foods tended to be pasta, burgers and plain chicken. For vegetables, they preferred carrot, celery and cucumber sticks. One son ate ham & cheese sandwiches EVERY DAY throughout school, and my daughter loved anything tuna fish.

Thinking of eating, I remembered reading  Mireille Guillano’s book, French Women Don’t Get Fat http://frenchwomendontgetfat.com/ where she maintains French women stay slim and stylish thanks to walking a lot, eating small portions, and sipping one glass of wine a day.

As First Lady Michelle Obama continues her efforts to streamline America’s waistlines with her Let’s Move! Campaign, soliciting promises from corporations, including Disney to offer healthier foods and as New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg enacts laws to limit sizes of soft drinks, I wondered whether we should borrow some clues from the French.

Or perhaps we should ask the kids. Take Nicky Bronner, a 15-year-old who created his own line of healthy junk food, Unreal Brands Inc. after his father confiscated his Halloween candy.

So how do you keep the balanced diet between healthy food and junk food?

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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13 Responses to French Kids Eat That?

  1. Ariana says:

    Haha,
    I remember when my oldest was growing up he would tell me : Ma, I am sick of your Russian food, can you please make some human food, like an American hamburger or chicken nuggets…..and then he went to college…..
    Ma, can you please, please give me some of your Russian food, I am so hungry! – so yes, he would eat that Foie Gras now!

    Like

  2. Patti Winker says:

    Yum. You know what’s funny? I know parents who won’t “waste” good food on their kids. They keep them on a diet of mac and cheese or other ‘kid food’ while they’re eating grilled fish and duck and other goodies. How do their taste buds ever develop?

    I must say, I do like the move toward healthier eating and living, especially focusing on younger kids. Why not start off with good habits, right? I also just checked out the Unreal story. Very cool. Thanks for the link.

    True confession time: I live about 1/2 mile away from my local grocery store and will more often than not drive there to shop. Yes, drive there. I’ll think up all sorts of excuses why I must – I’ll have too many groceries to carry home, it might rain, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, my dog ate my homework… oh, wait, never mind. I also could take my bike but… more excuses. So, from now on I’ll just think of myself as a French woman. I’ll slip on my comfy shoes and walk my ass down to the store and back. I’ll buy only what will fit in my backpack and that’s that. Thank you for the slap upside the head from across the pond!

    And thanks for sharing the pictures. Very beautiful and oh so fun!

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    • Thanks– great comment. I forgot to mention mac & cheese- and my daughter thought the babysitter made it better than I did — and we both used the Kraft box! No pressure on walking to the store. We have one nearby but I generally drive– even if I say I’m going for one forgotten item, I usually get more things.

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  3. Mariesophoto says:

    Sure French kids would eat these tasty courses!

    I grew up in France and I remember getting so excited when we’d planned to have dinner out. That was something really planned we wouldn’t go on a regular basis nor very often and never to Fast food restaurant. Never to Fast food restaurant because as kids our greatest pleasure was to taste something that we had never eaten before and some dish we would never eat at home!

    Kids love to try new things! so yes, French kids would love these tasty dishes 😉

    Like

  4. zannyro says:

    This was great! I do think we need to do more walking…and the smaller portions are key…it worked for my daughter recently..all she did was keep her calorie intake to no more than 1200…and exercised…and she looks great….I’m trying to grow up to be like my daughter 🙂

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  5. We always had the kids eat what we ate. i remember going to a friend’s house for dinner. She was amazed that John ate her artichoke dish. He tried it and liked it. he did not have seconds. he was about 11. We have never engaged in the cook two meals rule. I was too busy for that.

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  6. Yes yes, French children eat what their parents put in front of them! My daughter spent a semester in Paris living with a French family. The funny thing is they immediately told her why Americans have a weight problem – it’s because we take home doggie bags from restaurants.!! (in fairness, there is some truth here since a US restaurant portion is 3 to 4 times bigger than an equivalent French one, although taking food home would mean we didn’t eat it all). My daughter noticed how French women ate, slowly and sparsely with mayo and anything they want on a sandwich; they also would shop almost daily for fresh food, walking everywhere, and did NOT snack. In fact, there is no French word for snack. Oh la la! I would be many pounds lighter if I only lived in Paris 🙂

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  7. Stella Sormani says:

    I believe that latest parenting book is all about raiising your children the “French way”
    !

    Like

  8. Barbara klein says:

    Beats Fish sticks and macaroni and peanut butter and fluff sandwiches. You can keep the “fois Gras”. I’ll settle for good old “gehochte leba”. Love Mom

    Like

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