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Tuesday Tip for Picky Eaters: NO SNACKING!!

This week's Tuesday Tip for Picky Eaters: NO SNACKING!!
All this week, I am featuring “French Kids Eat Everything” by Karen Le Billon. On Friday, one lucky reader will win a copy of this inspiring book. As I mentioned yesterday, the book explores the 10 French Food Rules for raising happy, healthy eaters. I think the most critical piece of advice for picky eaters is: 

French Food Rule #7 - NO SNACKING!! 

American children are notorious for grazing on snack foods at all hours of the day. Recent studies have found that our kids average three snacks per day accounting for almost one-third of their daily calories. Parents who attempt to discourage constant snacking are seen as depriving their children. We’ve been led to believe that kids must have frequent snacks to help maintain their blood sugar levels and prevent temper tantrums. But is this really necessary or healthy?
One of Henry's favorite snacks is nori (dried seaweed).
By contrast, French children do not snack randomly. They are allowed one scheduled afternoon snack each day. It includes real food, like fruit or yogurt, and is eaten sitting down at the table, not on-the-go. Moderate servings of sweet snacks like cookies or dark chocolate are offered about once per week.

Our family has adopted the French snacking model with Henry. He only eats one snack per day. With the exception of grocery store sampling, he sits at the table to eat. Henry's afternoon snack is typically a few hours after lunch and at least two hours before dinner. 

Henry’s typical eating routine 
7:30 a.m.              Breakfast
11:30 a.m.            Lunch 
3:00 p.m.              Afternoon Snack 
6:00 p.m.              Dinner 
7:00 p.m.              Bedtime serving of milk

Henry snacks on pear, blue cheese and water.
Henry’s afternoon snack generally includes three components:
  • Fruit or vegetable
  • Cheese, yogurt, dried nori or rice cake
  • Milk or water to drink
About once per week, Henry’s snack includes a sweet treat. After he turned one, we decided that Henry should learn to enjoy sweets in moderation, but not as an everyday occurrence. His sweet snack might be a cup of banana pudding or sharing a cookie from the local coffee shop. He even tried a few tastes of ice cream on a recent visit to Grandma’s house.
Henry enjoys a spoonful of banana pudding.
On occasion, we will bend the rules about one snack per day if we are at a morning playdate where the other children are eating too. I do not want Henry to feel left out of the social experience of eating with other children, but because we do not offer a morning snack at home he does not expect or ask for one.
Henry munches on fresh bell pepper, freeze-dried mango and a glass of milk.
By limiting snacking, children learn to eat better at mealtimes. The flip side of this French Food Rule is being sure to offer hearty and balanced meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner so kids don’t run out of energy during the day.

What is your family's snack routine? Do you limit snacking or do you allow free-range grazing for your kids?

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