Eating the French Way?

Courtesy of French Kids Eat Everything, by Karen LeBillon

Courtesy of French Kids Eat Everything, by Karen LeBillon

Here's a polarizing issue for you... will your picky eaters be "cured" if they eat The French Way? Karen LeBillon's book French Kids Eat Everything offers an interesting perspective on an age old question: how do I get my kids to stop being picky eaters? 

I have met families where one child eats everything and anything and the other child eats only one color of food - beige. This must be frustrating. But I don't believe there is one approach to solve issues like these.

There are aspects of LeBillon's philosophy that I completely agree with: parents are in charge of food education, slow food is happy food and eat mostly real food. While I agree with many of her other points, I don't find them as universal. I would love to eat family meals together but with small children and working parents that is not always possible. In my house, the rule is to try a bite of everything on your plate. My kids don't have to like it and they definitely don't have to finish everything on their plate but to me as a parent it's important that they explore tastes beyond their comfort zone. My daughter tried sea urchin last night for the first time while we were out to dinner. Turns out she didn't like it but we were thrilled that she gave it a go.

I definitely disagree with the thought that parents should schedule meals and menus without kids. I love that my kids have opinions about what they do and don't like. I have found that involvement in cooking and menu planning has made my kids more enthusiastic about their meals. I believe that because we've set reasonable guidelines, they know they can't have cake for dinner or the same lunch every day. 

What's your take on Eating the French Way?