Lesson number 1: Kids eat what you eat, or at least what they SEE you eat.
By Crystal Bossola- Mom, Entrepreneur, Nutritionist
I thought I had a wonderful idea. ‘I am going to start a new parent workshop called French Kids Eat Everything’, I told my husband with zero response (eye roll). Yes that was actually the name of a book that I read and therefore completely unoriginal. Being half french, my methodology of feeding my child was based on french tradition. Sidenote, I also specialized in child nutrition so the inability to sway from my nutrition backbone helped the technique in a culture of constant snacking. I wanted to share it with everyone. I threw the idea out to my circle of friends and colleagues with very little enthusiasm. Okay maybe a workshop wasn’t the way to go, I thought to myself. Well there I was, no workshop, just writing about my experience in the comfort of my own home as the wild one napped.
As I was discussing my idea with a friend, who did not have any nutrition background, but was a mom with three kids, I listened to her input. She was sharing the difficulty in telling her 2 year old “no” to candy and doughnuts while the two much older siblings were able to indulge. Then she said something that was a huge topic in my would be workshop. “My kid told me ‘why do I have to eat that mommy when all you eat are chips?’’ she said. Boom! She realized she was eating all of her meals alone resulting in her children not seeing good eating habits from their primary role model. It wasn’t as though she was eating unhealthy food at mealtimes it was that eating alone was unhealthy.
Children do what parents do because that is their main perspective into the world. If we are eating alone and children do not see what a healthy meal looks like then the expectation of a child to eat fruits, vegetables, and protein becomes unfair. The colloquial phrase, ‘do what I say not what I do’, seemed so unfair as a child. We know through stats that a healthy environment at home increases the individual’s potential for success in each category. At home eating behaviors are the foundation for healthy eating habits into adulthood. Our responsibility is primarily to ourselves to be healthy and have healthy behaviors. Children will fall into suit. The moral of this story is to eat meals with family. That is the french way.