French living

My French Food Influence: 6 tips to get kids to eat everything

I have 6 amazing French food tips to share with you: it will change the way you and your kids look at food. They’ll eat everything! Do you want them to take the whisks & some risks (at the table), then this is for you!

So you want to discover my French secret and learn how my kids eat everything? Psssst… Come closer, I’ll tell you… I don’t have any! I have taught them to stay open and try new recipes, new food, to taste at least twice before deciding you don’t like it.

As you know, I’m French. There. That’s it, nothing else to add, is there? I tasted everything when I was little from school food to my delicious grandma’s family meals. And I truly believe this is how things should be.

Do you agree with me? I have 6 tips about the French food approach that which, in my opinion, made a huge difference to my kids’ taste buds. There are different things you can do at different stage of their lives.

I’m French, I ate everything as a kid. I truly believe as a Mom these 6 tips are the reasons why I got so successful: they like everything!

1. Teach them a word of wisdom: Moderation

In my house: The candy jar is on the kitchen counter. It’s not hidden. My kids are 6 and 8, they are allowed to eat sweets, I don’t hide them. They know that the candies or the cookies are not going to disappear overnight.

They can have one today and one some other day. Of course, I like it better when they choose a fruit (my daughter often does) but the reality is I like candies & chocolates too!

Let’s be real, they are kids, they do go crazy during Christmas, Easter and birthdays. But then… so do I!

2. French Food Approach: Make meals a pleasant moment

Most of all, any meals are a family moment. We always have dinner the 4 of us together and the TV is rarely on. If it is, it could be a lazy Friday TV night because we are all humans!

I believe meals need to be pleasant in a positive atmosphere. Then, if you are introducing a new recipe or ingredient, the moment is more favorable. I rarely get push back from the kids, my son’s reaction would always be, ”ok, I’ll try a little bit to start” **insert proud mom face emoji**

3. Start them early

And by early I mean when they start eating solids. In their little baby puree, I would add a mini pinch of herbs or nutmeg. I always tried to enhance the flavours and I feel it made a difference, they both have such a great pallet.

One summer, we travelled to France, my son asked if he could ordered from the regular menu as the food was more appealing! He was probably 4 or 5.

YES!

IT SHOULD DIFFERENT: Kid’s menus in restaurant: What is the idea behind chicken fingers and cheese pizza? Don’t get me wrong, I’m fine with comfort food but I think the choices should be a little broader. How are they going to have a culinary curiosity?

French food plate with white fish and rice from a restaurant in a South of France that my kid ordered.
My son’s choice in a restaurant in the South of France

I want them to be adventurous in their food choices in restaurant and take risks & be surprised by new flavours.

A little tip/game: When I make them soups or smoothies, I get them to guess what’s inside. They pay more attention to the flavours while eating. They have gotten so good at this ‘game.

Now, I actually get suggestions, from my son mostly, for a dish or challenges for desserts.

4. Show them where the food comes from.

I get it, not everyone has a backyard or even a balcony, to grow some veggies or fruits. You can maybe go the farm and pick up their own strawberries for example.

Even if you are just growing some lettuce, I believe this is important to have them understand that produce don’t grow in the store.

Watering the soil after planting. Yellow watering can.

I’m not a city girl, I grew up in small villages. I went on vacations at my grandma where if we are going to eat chicken, you need to catch it first. My mom does a lot of canning of the delicious produce she harvests. It’s work but it’s worth it, so much flavours.

To me, this is how you get some culinary curiosity. You discover, you experience, you taste and try.

5. Involve them in the kitchen

Ok – Easier said than done. I’m not actually the most patient person to let them participate as often as they want to. On a week day, when I want to put dinner on the table in 30 minutes (Cooking race with me anyone? ) It’s not always the ideal moment to do some bonding in the kitchen with the kiddos.

Kids hands with the rolling pan, rolling some dough for a French pastry

However, once in a while, I let them have fun with me.

My little Princess loves to crack the eggs when I do a quiche, it’s simple and a good help actually. Mini Chef is starting to like to chop veggies or be in charge of the pan. (or below he is making meatballs for Food Revolution)

 French kid's hands making easy meatballs.
My little Chef when he was 4.

6. My French (food) influence: Eat for pleasure

I’ll wrap up with the MOST IMPORTANT of all. Eating, seating together as a family should be a moment of pleasure. It’s really how French people do it :)!

You should be enjoying every bite and appreciate every effort that went into a meal. Cooking or baking for someone is really a proof of love and caring. Do you taste it in your food? <3 <3

Actually, I have told you that secret before, Love is always the secret ingredient.

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    marilyn @family food around the clock
    March 28, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    Amazing Ideas! I also have children so I totally understand the concept. My son loves cooking with us and it’s a great way to put games and TV aside for a few hours when they are not in school. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Reply
      Mélanie
      March 29, 2019 at 2:07 pm

      Thank you Marilyn for stopping by and I’m glad you can relate. I guess food bloggers we also have a different view because it’s a passion 😉

  • Reply
    Denise@urbnspice
    March 29, 2019 at 5:20 am

    I loved your article, Melanie! A great post for every parent and grandparent to read. I am a huge fan of having kids in my kitchen – it is the best way to teach them about food. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Reply
      Mélanie
      March 29, 2019 at 2:08 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words Denise! I do hope to inspire parents and grand parents! 🙂

  • Reply
    Sabrina
    March 30, 2019 at 2:19 am

    Great tips and I agree it’s so important to teach kids where food comes from and to appreciate different flavours! Thanks for this great post 🙂

    • Reply
      Mélanie
      March 30, 2019 at 2:22 am

      Thank you Sabrina! It’s really something close to my heart! Thanks for visiting!

  • Reply
    Effortless 2-ingredient Red Currant Jam - Bon Appét'Eat
    July 28, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    […] think getting kids involved is important with their relationship with food. I talked about it here and […]

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