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French Kids Eat Everything

French Kids Eat Everything

Learn how the French encourage their kids away from picky eating.

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French Kids Eat Everything is a book written by Karen Le Billon that showcases how she and her family moved to France and cured picky eating. Within this book she shares 10 simple rules for raising healthy and happy eaters. Karen Le Billon is a professor at the University of British Columbia, a Rhodes Scholar and she has a Ph.D. from Oxford. French Kids Eat Everything offers readers humor and tips with regard to the tried and true food rules Le Billon learned while living in France. Some of the major points you will see are avoid snacks because they can be a recipe for obesity, try new foods and dramatically rethink the way we feed kids both at home and at school. This book doesn’t just focus on the eating habits of kids, but also building strong eating foundations. You can teach your kids to love new foods, adopt a strategy of four square meals per day without snacks and try out some of the recipes include in French Kids Eat Everything. This book can help you change you and your family’s habits for the better while also helping your kids avoid being picky eaters.

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  • Helps families adopt the healthy habits of the French
  • Encourages kids trying new foods
  • Discourages snacking
  • Includes several recipes
  • Book written based on author’s personal experience
  • Tells you what to eat and how to eat it
  • Some parents may be resistant to the methods offered

French Kids Eat Everything is all about incorporating healthy eating habits into your family’s repertoire. The author created this book based on her experience after she and her husband moved to France with their children and had to change their eating habits. You start off with baby steps and then move into learning how to eat the French way. A comparison is made to the types of foods that French children eat versus the dairy and carb-heavy diet most American children eat. The common theme throughout the book is that the French take great care in teaching their kids how to properly prepare and eat healthy foods. The author places healthy eating priorities for French parents on the same level as reading or toilet training for American parents. This doesn’t mean that the French are forcing their kids to eat a vast array of foods. Instead, they adopt the attitude that food is fun and lunch is focused on as the largest meal of the day.

In schools, meals are prepared for the children with a specific menu displayed each week. Students are required to eat at school and not allowed to bring their own lunches unless they have specific food allergies. Along with using cloth napkins, child-size cutlery and China plates, French children are required to spend at least 30 minutes eating while at school. French educators have three key goals when it comes to educating children about food. Those key goals include:

  • Protect children’s health and support their academic performance by feeding them nutritious food
  • Educate children and cultivate their palates, teach them basic rules of food hygiene and nutrition and open their minds to food as culture, art and heritage
  • Discipline their eating habits, setting up healthy routines for when, where, how, what and why kids eat what they eat

Some of the rules for serving lunch at French schools include vegetables served at every meal, fried food no more than once per week, real fish served at least once per week, fruit served for dessert every second meal at a minimum and sugary desserts only once per week. All of the meals served at schools in France are planned by a nutritionist and a committee of parent volunteers. From babies to school aged children, meal times are strictly scheduled. Rather than provide food on demand for children, it is provided when adults decide it should be provided.

There are 10 rules included in French Kids Eat Everything that talk about how to train your child’s relationship with food. Some of the rules include:

  • Rule #1: Parents you are in charge of your children’s food education.
  • Rule #2: Avoid emotional eating.
  • Rule #3: Parents schedule meals and menus. Kids eat what adults eat: no substitutes or short-order cooking.
  • Rule #4: Food is social. Eat family meals together at a table, with no distractions.
  • Rule #6: For picky eaters – you don’t have to like it but you do have to taste it. For fussy eaters: you don’t have to like it, but you do have to eat it.
  • Rule #9: Eat mostly real, homemade food and save treats for special occasions. Anything processed is not real food.

Along with the rules in the book are tips on how to properly execute them without inducing a lot of stress on you or your family. The strategies make sense and will help your children become healthy eaters. There are also some featured recipes included in the book that your children and whole family might enjoy. Below are a few of the classics offered in French Kids Eat Everything:

  • Endive and Kiwi Salad
  • Quick No-Pastry Quiche
  • Bouillabaisse for Babies
  • Lentil Apricot Soup
  • Mamie’s Chocolate-Stuffed Baguette
  • Chocolate Mousse

There is no exercise mentioned in French Kids Eat Everything as the book focuses on improving the eating habits of children.


French Kids Eat Everything offers some solid recommendations on getting your kids to become more cooperative eaters. Although the practices are different than what is typically found in North American culture, they are effective and can lead to a lifetime of healthy eating. Anyone struggling with getting their young children to try new foods and eat more vegetables can benefit from the information in this book.

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