It’s no secret that children need consistency in order to strive in their development. This consistency goes for their nutrition as well – a well-balanced diet and planned meals make it possible for children to form positive eating habits.
This article compares lunch traditions at a French school and American school, portraying how different styles of eating inform a child’s diet choices and – as a result – their overall health. The difference in the school was that the French school ate planned meals curated by a nutritionist in a family style setting.
So what is the value of serving meals this way, as opposed to parent-packed lunches or a cafeteria where children can choose their meals?
A Balanced Diet
Planned meals help create balance in a child’s diet over the week. These meals are created with the children’s nutritional requirements in mind and children are ensured to have healthy proportions. A prepared nutrition plan ensures children are sampling a variety of different meals, from different cultures. This exposure to a variety of healthy food gives children a chance to experience variety in what they eat, which brings us to our next point – planned meals prevent picky eating.
Not every child will love every meal that is prepared for them. Some children will dislike foods throughout the week, but the opportunity to experience all kinds of meals teaches children to be open-minded about food. When they are exposed to many unique foods, it helps prevent them from being picky eaters, as they will be less averse to unknown foods in the future.
How They Eat
How the children eat is just as important as what the children eat. By eating all our meals family style, children are taught to enter a calm frame of mind before they begin their meals. Eating in a calm environment is important for digestion and a child’s development.