French children have always amazed me in their mature, sophisticated understanding of life. I attribute it to French culture’s openness and societal poise, but whatever the real roots of their maturity, they never cease to teach me a lesson.
A few days ago, a French family stood in line in Starbucks behind me. Being the evesdropper that I am (especially when I hear foreign languages), I was attentively listening to their conversation in French while pretending to be playing with my iPhone. When the little five-year-old French girl was given permission to pick anything she wanted out of the pastery and chocolately drink case, she enthusiastically grabbed a mini-bottle of green juice and jumped up and down in excitement. The shock of seeing a child choose possibly the healthiest option, not to mention a GREEN drink, was enough to make me chuckle and reminisce upon my teaching days in Dordogne, France.
In France I taught CM1 and CM2, the American equivalent being First and Second Grade. My students were given an hour for lunch to walk home (or be picked up by their parents) and eat as a family. School provided an afternoon snack for all children which consisted of one small piece of chocolate, slices of baguettes, and fruit. Inevitably, the fruit was always the first item selected by the children, and most never even took interest in snacking on the chocolate.
My point is this: French children are raised with an awareness of their body’s dietary needs. They are taught to listen to their cravings, to not always choose the sugary option, to not be afraid of greens or fruits, and to know that when they do crave sweets, that they will always available in moderation.
If five-year-olds can be that in-tune to their bodies, so can we. Mimic these children, and in doing so you will start to find out that your body will tell you exactly what, how much and when to eat so that you ultimately find perfect balance in your nutrition and in your body.
Bon courage mes amis!