01, March 2017 11:02 AM

Bringing Up Bebe Book

In February, our Silicon Valley District Dietitian Association Book Club reviewed, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman. A journalist by trade, Druckerman shares her American insight on the cultural differences of raising children in Paris, France. 


According to Druckerman, the Parisian parenting style produces children who are gourmet eaters and are good sleepers. Most infants sleep through the night by four months of age and children as young as 3 years can eat a four course gourmet-style meal.

French Culture

Parents, before you begin to feel bad about how well your kids eat and sleep, let me point out some important differences in the French social services. Parents don't have to pay for preschool and have a national day care system that is run by highly-trained, career professionals in which four-course meals are served to all children.

Here is a sample public day care meal:

  • First course: Hearts of palm and tomato salad
  • Second course: Sliced turkey au basilica with rich in Provencal cream sauce
  • Third course: A slice of St. Nectaire cheese with a slice of baguette
  • Fourth course: Kiwi

Hey, if my kids attended Parisian day care, they would likely have bypassed the picky eater phase!

French culture values eating regular, delicious, "sit down" meals. Paris is known for its gourmet food and eating delicious meals is a core part of French culture. Parents and children eat the same food, there's no such thing as a kid’s menu in Paris restaurants.

Parents think it is part of a child’s education to learn to eat a wide variety of foods. They consider it normal to challenge each child to eat new foods on a regular basis. They believe their children can eat almost everything and they do.

French families eat three meals and one afternoon snack. That’s it. No additional snacking between meals. Americans are prolific snackers and value foods that are healthy and convenient.

While most of us do not have access to day care serving amazing gourmet food, there are a few Parisian parenting tips that American parents can consider.

French Parenting Tips


  • Starting at 2 months of age, when your infant cries, “pause” for just a bit to see if they can settle back down on their own.
  • For infants over four to five months of age, do not feed between the hours of midnight and 5 am.
  • First foods to serve infants after breast milk or infant formula: vegetables and fruits rather than cereal.

Older Children:

  • From a very early age, tell your child he or she needs to try new foods (the first tries can be smelling or licking the food).
  • Help your child develop a spirit of adventure about food to acquire a wide and varied palate. Be a good role model and try a wide variety of foods yourself!
  • Everyone in the family eats the same meal. No short- order cooking!
  • Serve less “kid food” and more grownup food. Believe your child can and will eat.
  • Serve children on a regular meal and snack schedule (as defined in the Division of Responsibility).
  • Keep meal times pleasant.
  • Don't permit snacking when it is not a planned eating occasion. Kids can learn to wait. French parents teach their kids that it is good to come to the table hungry.
  • Get children involved in cooking. Here is a fun and easy Yogurt Cake recipe referenced in the book made by children as young as 3 years of age.

Where the Book Falls Short

As dietitians, we would have preferred to see more descriptive menus included in the book to have a better idea of what typical family meals look like. We’re not qualified to confirm or deny that parenting strategies shared in the book are accurate or typical in France (especially outside the city of Paris – the author qualifies her observations are limited to Paris).

We do know from our academic background and experience that the overall patterns for feeding children described in the book are scientifically-based and sound with the exception that French women do not commonly breastfeed their infants (breast feeding infants is highly recommended).

Dietitian Approved

We realize that many ideas in the book are not transferable within the constructs of American culture. And we suggest you don’t get hung up on deciding if French culture is better or worse than ours. We do feel there are some good ideas here to add to your parenting bag of tricks.

Overall, our group recommends the book and suggests pregnant women and mothers of young children put the book on their reading list.

Maureen Bligh, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Tags: division of responsability family meals Healthy eating healthy eating for kids Maureen Bligh registered dietitian book club snacking
Categories: categoryHealthy Eating for Kids

01, March 2017 9:00 AM

March is National Nutrition Month®, time to put yout best fork forward, and spoon, glass and plate for that matter, for healthier eating habits. This month's recipes will help families eat closer to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans while having fun too. March is also time to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day, so corned beef is of course on the menu. March also marks an important day for diabetes awareness, so we've put together some low- carbohydrate, high-nutrient recipes your family will enjoy. Finally, wrap up the month with healthy breakfast ideas that will put some pep into your step this spring. 

March Family Meal Recipes

Best Fork Forward

Lean Curry Chicken with Orange-Scented Rice with Hot and Sour Soup and Caramelized Spiced Pears; plus Rigatoni, Grilled Vegetable and Chicken Salad, Slow Cooker Oatmeal, Creamy Couscous Florentine and Crunchy Baked Tilapia with Mango Salsa.

Tags: family meals Healthy eating healthy eating for kids healthy eating patterns National Nutrition Month recipes
Categories: categoryHealthy Eating

01, February 2017 9:00 AM

February is filled with celebrations of love, health and food. Continue your quest to adopt healthy eating patterns with recipes that embrace these celebrations as well as variety, moderation and balance with food from all five food groups. 

Start your day and the month off with a Hot Breakfast to warm up your engines. Then don't skip a beat before celebrating National Heart Month with recipes that follow the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension eating plan, repeatedly named the top diet in America. Next, brush up on your oral hygene with tooth-benefiting foods like cheese during National Dental Health Month. Finally, get your fill of fiber by celebrating National Potato (and Sweet Potato) Month with hearty, wholesome recipes that feature these functional tubers.

February Family Meal Recipes

Hot Breakfast

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes with Chunky Blueberry Sauce and Vegetable Medley Drink; plus Zucchini Quiche, Toast Danish, Roast Beef Hash + Eggs and Strawberry Vanilla Yogurt Waffles.

Tags: family meals Healthy eating healthy eating for kids healthy eating patterns recipes
Categories: categoryHealthy Eating

12, January 2017 2:22 PM

trade up your breakfast Getting enough sleep during adolescence is a subject gaining attention nationally from the Centers for Disease Control and American Academy of Pediatrics. And Eat Move Win, the new online high school nutrition education program from Dairy Council of California takes the issue head on in an effort to impact teen eating habits, especially at breakfast. 


According to the Centers for Disease Control and American Academy of Pediatrics, nearly 70 percent of students sleeping seven hours or less on a school night. The recommendation is eight to 10 hours per night. Gone are the peaceful days of sleeping like a baby, teenagers today are more likely to hit snooze until the last possible moment, then race out the door with a second thought for breakfast. The phenomenon is so severe, the organizations actually recommend later start times for high school to better match adolescents' biological clocks. 

Lesson 4 of Eat Move Win addresses the inter-related issues of teen sleep and nutrition through lifestyle habits and eating patterns. While observing the lesson in the classroom, our nutrition staff saw teachers greeted by students carrying sodas and other caffeinated drinks to get them through the morning. Clearly lesson 4 has its work cut out for it! 

Sleep poster rechargeStudies have shown that a morning meal leads to better nutrient intake over the day and fewer calories. Since skipping breakfast and staying up late are associated with late night snacking on low nutrient foods, Eat Move Win lesson 4 focuses on getting adequate sleep and trading up to healthier breakfast food choices to stay energized in the morning.  

Help students make a connection between adequate sleep and time for a healthy breakfastContact the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine for a classroom copy of the  #Sleep Recharges You poster

Hang in the classroom, in the hallway or even in the cafeteria as a visual cue to tie a good night's rest to academic and athletic performance while teaching Eat Move Win. The American Academy Sleep Medicine's website also offers additional resources for educators and professionals concerned with the impact of sleep and stress.

Learn more about the connection between nutrition and sleep, as well as other topics, by teaching Eat Move Win today.

Tags: breakfast Eat Move Win healthy eating patterns high school nutrition education sleep
Categories: categoryNutrition Education

09, January 2017 4:37 PM

Paige Metz awarded Community Health Collaborator Awards When Dairy Council of California (CA) sets out to develop or update a nutrition education program, we look to partners within the education environment to help us review and revise our ideas. For her willingness to share her expertise and advice with partners like Dairy Council of CA and others, Paige Metz (wearing black in photo at right) has been awarded a Community Health Collaborator Award.

As the Health and Physical Education Curriculum Coordinator on the Curriculum and Instruction Team that is part of the College and Career Readiness Unit at the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE), Metz has her fingers on the pulse of education trends and what’s working in real classroom environments. Additionally, Metz has a passion about reinventing physical education (PE) classes as interactive and engaging learning experiences.

"It should look like a health and physical education activity lab class," said Metz in a recent SDCOE news release. "There needs to be evidence of cognitive and emotional learning."

Thankfully, Dairy Council of CA Community Nutrition Adviser Heather Troska Berkoben (wearing blue in photo at right) knew Metz’s passion for this kind of change would be important to harness for the development of Eat Move Win, Dairy Council of CA’s first completely online nutrition program for high schools students. 

Go to Fit 2 Learn Website In addition to program development, Metz has been instrumental in promoting Dairy Council of CA programs to her network. She’s included Dairy Council of CA resources and a call for Eat Move Win beta testers in three county-wide emails to physical education (PE) teachers. 

"The reality is, schools just don't have funding to support everything that needs to be funded. That's why having free, good curriculum provided by a community partner, like Dairy Council of CA, is so valuable. Without those resources, students may not get that additional education in important areas like nutrition and physical activity" said Metz. "I appreciate that Dairy Council of CA has been good about updating materials and staying attuned to changes related to nutrition and more globally in education. This keeps the programs robust and engaging for students. I am happy to help collaborate and develop these resources so they are viable and more likely to make a difference in student health and fitness."  

As a leader in promoting best in class education resources, Metz also played a significant role in the development of Fit 2 Learn Fit 4 Life, a website for PE teachers that’s filled with helpful vocabulary resources, classroom lessons, extension activities and other resources to enhance education. 

For her dedication to making nutrition and physical education easier and more accessible to teachers and students alike, Dairy Council of CA is proud to award Paige Metz its Community Collaborator Award.  


Tags: Community Health Collaborator Eat Move Win nutrition education partnerships physical activity
Categories: categoryNutrition Education

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