You might already be familiar with Karen Le Billon’s French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters. In it, she recounts her struggle to change the eating habits of her two young Canadian children that were too picky, loud, and overfed to meet French social standards. The book is a great read in itself. It examines French attitudes towards food and encourages healthier eating through moderation and food variety. From Le Billon’s experience with French culture, we can learn to raise our babies to be less picky eaters by feeding them a variety of fresh foods, exposing them to the tastes and textures of adult food at an early age.
That’s where Bébé Gourmet: 100 French-Inspired Baby Food Recipes For Raising an Adventurous Eater comes in. Bebe Gourmet features french-inspired purees and meals for babies from four months to over twelve months old. Created by mother of two Jenny Carenco, these recipes are easy to follow and most of them can be made within 15-30 minutes. There are beautiful step by step pictures and each recipe indicates prep time, cook time, and number of servings. Some of them even have serving suggestions and recipe options/variations to keep you from getting stuck in a recipe rut. Also includes contributions from pediatric nutritionist and endocrinologist, Dr. Jean Lalau Keraly.
Here’s a recipe from the book but you can also check here for a full index and more samples of her recipes. The book makes a great addition to help expand your baby’s palate with more adventurous meals.
Chicken with carrots and apricots
Recipe sample from Bebe Gourmet
Makes five 3 1/2 ounce servings
10 carrots, about 1 1/2 lbs
10 to 12 apricots, fresh or frozen, about 2/3 lb
1 chicken breast. about 3 1/2 ounces
1 teaspoon sunflower oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped shallots
3/4 cup and 2 tablespoons orange juice
1. Wash and peel the carrots, then cut them into rounds.
2. Wash and pit the apricots.
3. Cut the chicken breast into small pieces.
4. In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the shallots. Brown them for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the chicken breast pieces.
5. Once the chicken pieces are browned on all sides, add the carrots, the apricots, and the orange juice. Add water to cover the mixture halfway.
6. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Check to make sure the carrots are tender before removing from the heat.
7. Blend to a smooth puree.
She recommends serving with parsnip, turnip, of sweet pea puree and provides a recipe variation for using dried apricots instead of fresh or frozen. Great variety of recipes so even the smallest foodie will enjoy!
Also, check out this video of lunch being served at a public school in France. The kitchen staff maintains strict sanitation conditions and all the foods are prepared fresh from local food sources. It’s an amazing process to watch!