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 (Arianna, 3 and Frankie, 1), 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: