Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Nursery School Gourmets
I read a really interesting article in Time Magazine recently about Parisian nursery school lunches. The French really care about the quality of food that their children eat, and they believe it's something that should be taught from a very young age. For instance, french preschoolers learn very early that they'll only be fed at the table. Secondly, they take their time during eating...often being served a leisurely 5-course meal consisting of salad, cheese, plenty of organic fruits, and an adult-style entree.
This article really hit a nerve with me. I'm not claiming to be the world's healthiest eater, but I would never feed Sophie 90% of the food that she's served at school. Her menu today consisted of waffles & maple syrup, a brownie, chicken nuggets and fries....in other words: junk. The thing is, it seems like most parents I speak to feed their children things like this on a daily basis. It seems pervasive in American culture that parents feed their families the fastest, cheapest, most processed food possible. And I truly believe that this diet has contributed to our poor health and skyrocketing healthcare costs.
I'm not all about low-fat, diet stuff. There are many cultures out there that eat high-fat diets in which people are thinner than Americans. I'm more concerned about sugar (especially the fake kind) and the amount of processing that goes into the food. I wish that more people wanted to feed their kids high-quality, real food.
Why do kids have to eat macaroni & cheese, or cereal that contains ultra-violet marshmallows? Why do parents have to make separate meals for themselves and their children? These questions trouble me when I speak to other parents, but I keep my mouth shut for the most part. Since this is my blog, I'm on a soapbox here (I know). And I've even changed how we eat at home since reading this article. We all eat at the table (with no TV) every night now. We avoid high fructose corn syrup or other unnatural sweeteners (even aspartame) as much as possible. We only eat 100% grass-fed beef at home. But we still have a lot to learn about eating from the French.