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Paleo Kids: What to feed them?

My new friend over at Living Crunchy invited me to write a guest blog post on how to feed real, clean food to kids. Today, I’m going to share with you the post that I wrote and I hope it can help you on your Paleo journey as a family!

As a mother of two Paleo kids  I understand this very common question. Kids love junk. They love candy. They love bread. They love anything that isn’t “healthy”…right?

If I was to tell you (and I’m not bragging here, I just am proving that feeding kids Paleo is possible) that my kids love veggies, boiled eggs, slices of avocado, bone stock, olives, and every kind of meat; would you believe me? They can down a steak faster than a grown-up, and nothing quenches their thirst like water. They don’t even know what cereal is. They thrive on what I eat, and that is meat, eggs, veggies, nuts, fruits, and healthy oils.

Yes, it can be done. When I hear mothers say that they can’t get their kids to eat anything but mac n’ cheese, hot dogs, chips, crackers and cereal, I wanna ask them, “Are they the ones doing the grocery shopping?” Seriously, who is buying it? If you don’t buy it, it won’t be there to tempt them, but mostly, tempt yourself to throw something easy at them that you KNOW that they will eat and won’t fight about.

Here are two ways to start the process of eating healthier:

1) ease into it. Slowly eliminate the junk foods in your house and start by buying healthy alternatives. Let your kids finish the cereal, let your husband finish his stash of chips, but don’t buy anymore. Or…

2) you go cold turkey. This is how I did it. I bagged up all my junk food, grains, cans of soup and fruits, and I donated them. My personality is all-or-nothing. So this just worked for me. I don’t overwhelmed easily some could handle this more intense transition. Some people, can’t do it this way. For example, the working mom may find it really difficult to make so many changes all at once.

Either way, you are making healthier choices for your family. I had to stop looking at food as a means to an end (hungry—> so satiate that hunger) and look at it as a way to heal my body, grow my children’s bodies, and energize my life.

My kids never get a separate dinner. If we are having bone broth soup, so are they. If we are having grilled veggies and grilled chicken legs, so are they. And let me tell you how adorable it is to see a baby tear apart a chicken leg with his little mouth!   Once you break YOUR bad habit of feeding them the easy food, you will see that raising Paleo kids is just as easy as raising non-Paleo kids.

I’ve had many Paleo mothers ask me what to send in their school lunch. For me, packing my daughters lunch for preschool has really made me tap into my creative side. I bought a Planetbox lunchbox, which is a bento-style stainless steel box, to help me be diverse and make the whole “lunch dilemma” more of a fun thing that me and Arianna do together in the mornings.

I try to make her lunches creative, colorful and tasty. She eats some dairy, like cottage cheese and Greek yogurt on occasion because she loves it. I try to always include something in her lunchbox that she loves. This keeps her happy and looking forward to seeing what I included. She loves roll-ups, which is simply deli-meat rolled up.

Sometimes I cut the roll-up in 5 sections and neatly place them in her box. Some other protein-rich foods I put in her box are, boiled eggs, slices of avocado (drenched in lemon juice), beef jerky, pistachios, shredded chicken, and leftover steak. Then I try to add one or two veggie items. This is usually sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, or carrot sticks.

Now, if you have a toddler, then you know that they love to dip. So, I include a little container of almond butter or olive oil/balsamic vinegar that she can dip her veggies in. I always try to add a healthy fat. Sometimes this is the olive oil/vinegar dip but other times it is olives, nuts or avocado. Then I give her a fruit. It’s whatever I have on hand. I throw other things in that she loves like fruit leather, dark chocolate for a treat, Nut Thins, or a Lara Bar. And that’s it! It takes me about 5 minutes to make her lunch in the morning.

I started a group on Pinterest called, “Arianna’s Lunches“. When I remember, I upload a picture of her lunch I made for that day.

The greatest lesson I have learned as a mother is that there are three things that we cannot FORCE upon our children: input (food), output (toilet), and sleep. In trying to “break” our kids and get them to conform to our will, we end up hurting the relationship even more. However, what we can do is give them options. Kids love to feel like they are in control too.

They are, indeed, little humans and have the same strong will that we have. Limit your food options to healthy choices and let them choose. Let them feel like they are choosing for themselves. Let them feel like they are in control of their own bodies. That’s the goal, right? To raise healthy children that will one day grow up and make healthy choices for themselves.

Great recipes from The Paleo Mama:

Fruit Gummy Snacks

Paleo Mac n’ Cheese

Baked Avocado-Coco Fries


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9 Responses to Paleo Kids: What to feed them?

  1. Grief Happens September 14, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    Love this post. What type of deli meat do you use for the roll-ups?

    • The Paleo Mama September 14, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

      Thank you! I either use the Boars Head nitrate free delic meat or the Hormel Natural!

  2. Rachel January 3, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    Hi. My husband and I are currently trying to get pregnant. We’ve been living Paleo for about 6 months and I’m having a blast with all the recipes. I was curious if you started your children on Paleo as infants? I would definitely like to try breast feeding but when incorporating foods, did you go straight to home-made baby foods like sweet potatoes? Do you have some recipes you could share? And what were your experiences.

    Thanks for your blog. Really enjoying it!

    • The Paleo Mama January 6, 2013 at 8:22 am #

      Our oldest is almost 4 and we had to transition her to eating Paleo a little over a year ago. But my son was around 4 months when I started eating Paleo. We did baby led weaning with him and started him eating Paleo from the start. If you do a search on my blog for “Paleo baby” a whole lot of posts I wrote will come up! Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any more questions

  3. Nicole January 18, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    What lunch box do you use? It seems great for organizing all the healthy foods. I followed you on Pinterest and would like to start my daughter (15mo) on paleo with us.

    • Nicole January 18, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

      I meant to ask where you found the lunchbox. I did read what kind it is.

    • The Paleo Mama January 18, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

      I got the lunchbox from Best investment ever!

  4. shalonda July 3, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Please help! My son will be 14 months, and we still puree most of his food. We give him soft carrots, yams, banana, etc. However, because he’s allergic to nuts, wheat, soy, fish and eggs, Im not sure what else to give him to transition him to finger foods. He gags on chicken, and he hates peas. He tries to eat them but he throws it up (TMI). He is pretty much on a paleo based diet. He eats all fruits. However, he’s not ready yet to eat kale and spinach so I puree those. Do you have any suggestions??

    • The Paleo Mama July 4, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

      Gaging is part of learning how to eat solids. We mostly did baby led weaning with my son. He was off any kind of purees by 7 months old. Instead we would give him large (fistful) chunks to gnaw on. Some things you have to cut up into smaller pieces (grapes, olives) but most things you can give them larger pieces to work on. I would mostly try to give him what I am eating and to make sure that it is very flavorful. We use lots of butter and sea salt to flavor foods. Kale chips are great if you want to venture into making those. But, I wouldn’t put too much thought into it. Just give him what you eat…minus what he is allergic too. Smoothies are great for that age too!

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