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 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.


  1. Great post. I think more and more parents are making conscious decisions about the health of their children. What I see going on makes me scared for my children. I recently posed a similar question to an older colleague, he told me he doesn't think he would have raised his kids to be what they are in today's world.

    Kids are getting bombarded on a daily basis with messages that reinforce that they NEED the fluorescent marshmallows and fries.

    A great read on this topic is called "Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture" almost made me trash my t.v. and move my family to a teepee in New Mexico.

  2. Actually, I find this post to be very interesting because one of the classes I am currently taking talks a lot about things like this. A lot of people these days don't really eat food, but "food like substances" which are composed of mostly chemicals. The cream filling in oreos are ALL chemicals.

    I think it's great that you are trying to eat more "real food". Just be weary of labels though because a lot of the times they are a lie. Cereal boxes that claim they "may lower cholesteral" from the heart association only says that because it doesn't have a certain type of fat in them. Things that say no sugar added might have sugar substitutes added instead. If any of your food says natural on it, it means that it has been minimally processed, but that is very ambiguous, and besides, if you are getting chicken, wouldn't you expect it to be minimally processed anyways? Shouldn't all chicken be natural then? I feel like I'm writing a paper so I'll stop but yea this topic really bothers me as well because I feel like our nation's health is deteriorating.


    My sister sent this to me via FB. Let me know if it works for you.

  4. Tiffanie, it works! You are awesome! Thank youuuu....

  5. Can you see if they will let you pack her lunches? I can't believe they are feeding that stuff. I know of an all organic preschool, but it's in Vienna. Not sure where you work now. Let me know if you want the name.

    - Jen E

  6. Hi Jen,

    I asked about packing lunches, and they said it would be too hard to keep track of different lunches for so many kids. Yes, please let me know of the organic preschool...I've been looking for one and it seems like even expensive places like Beantree don't feed your kids any better.