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Children and Too Many Snacks

Children and Snacking“Are you hungry?” joked the cashier as I was checking out of my friendly neighborhood grocer. Distracted as usual, I casually replied, “No. Why?”, thinking I had food crumbs on my face left over from a free sample. The cashier looked in my cart and smiled towards all the snack food I was buying. “Oh,” I replied, “I have kids.” We had a giggle and I left happily with my shopping cart full of granola bars, chips, cookies, cheese sticks, hummus, etc.

As I drove home I recalled an article I recently read about French parents and how their kids ate everything with little fuss. And, in fact, I had already implemented one of the suggestions which was requiring Olivia (age 6) to eat at least one bite of everything on her plate. But this grocery store exchange reminded me of another item on the “How to raise your kids to be French eaters” article – don’t allow them to snack much.

I can’t honestly say how this downfall into the “snack happy” family happened. I’m pretty sure it was gradual but, since Olivia started Kindergarten, it has definitely gotten worse. It doesn’t help that this transition also brought on a new level of picky eating. Instead of being more adventuresome in her lunch options as I hoped, she became more selective and specific.

“I can’t eat a sandwich because the edge gets hard.” “I can’t eat this fruit because it tastes weird now.” “I’ll only eat carrots with this kind of hummus.” When I get said hummus, “I don’t like it.” One excuse after another.

My husband and I have been talking so much about making smart food choices that I’m actually starting to get annoyed with hearing about it. To be fair – it’s not only Olivia. I find myself snacking more because it’s easier and Owen (17 mos.) is also quite the snack-a-holic.

So for the health of my whole family, I’m thinking I need to figure out this French parenting thing. What do they do differently where their kids will eat everything – and not complain? I was trying to Google the original article I read from a Twitter post. I couldn’t find it but I did stumble upon the author, Karen Le Billon, and her story about how a year spent in France cured her children of their picky eating behaviors. That’s compelling enough for me.

I’m going to download her book, French Kids Eat Everything, onto my Kindle this week. I’m hoping to get some insight into how to put an end to this excessive snacking routine my family has acquired. At the least, maybe I’ll have a valid reason to move our family to Europe  – or at least convince my husband to take us on vacation.

What about your family? How do you deal (or don’t) with snacking?

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