French Kids Eat Everything's written by a Canadian from Vancouver. Also a non-engineer/non-scientist, the book's full of generalizations unpacked by studies, and an over-emphasis in comparing her/her family's bad American poor eating habits. Given the huge diversity in cultures in American backgrounds, it's poor practice to generalize. In particular, I've encountered a French person in Japan who was having a miserable time because she refused to learn to eat with chopsticks, and couldn't stand rice every day. Clearly, the culinary culture and education of the French does not extend to learning to eat Asian foods, and the French can be just as obnoxious about being unable to adapt as anyone else can be.
Nevertheless, the book has a few tips (she calls them "rules") for parents with kids who will only eat a few foods:
- Parents: You are in charge of your children's food education
- Avoid emotional eating: food is not a pacifier, a distraction, a toy, a bribe, a reward, or a substitute for discipline.
- Parents schedule meals and menus. Kids eat what adults eat: no substitutes and no short-order cooking.
- Food is social. Eat family meals together at the table, with no distractions.
- Eat vegetables of all colors of the rainbow. Don't eat the same main dish more than once per week.
- For picky eaters: You don't have to like it, but you do have to taste it. For fussy eaters: You don't have to like it, but you do have to eat it.
- Limit snacks, ideally one per day (two maximum), and not within one hour of meals. In between meals, it's ok to feel hungry. At meals eat until you're satisfied rather than full.
- Take your time, for both cooking and eating. Slow food is happy food.
- Eat mostly real, home made food, and save treats for special occasions.
- Eating is joyful, not stressful. Treat the food rules as habits or routines rather than strict regulations; it's fine to relax them once in a while.