How do I primalize my kids?
I have 3 kids, 2 girls ages 7 and 5, and a boy who just turned 3. The oldest loves primal fare, she could live on steak, salad and the occasional sweet potato. She begs for salmon and adores eggs. If she could eat bacon at every meal her life would be complete. She's happy that rice and white potatoes haven't touched her plate in over a month. If only the other two were as easy to deal with.
This weekend I followed a bunch of links and discovered just how bad oatmeal is. All of the kids eat oatmeal probably 3 times a week, once or twice a week they have cold cereal and the other days they have bacon/sausage and eggs. Sandwiches are the usual lunch fare, PB&J for the younger two and whatever deli meat the oldest talked her father into buying. None of them will eat leftovers or salads for lunch.
My younger daughter was diagnosed with soy and dairy allergies when she was 18 months, about a year ago she was "downgraded" to sensitivities instead of allergies. During the time she was allergic, I baked everything and cooked from scratch, until we moved to a town and had access to more soy-free, dairy-free foods. Her sensitivity to soy is still pretty high, so we still avoid it, but she can pretty well eat most cheeses and not suffer any ill effects, and she can eat out occasionally. We found that the cheapest milk replacement was rice milk, which she absolutely loves. She liked hazelnut and hemp milks but the cost of those are so high, and we still have to travel a couple of hours to find a store that carries them.
The boy won't eat any fruit or vegetables. Period. We try. Pre-primal, I just hid the veggies in as many dishes as I could--spaghetti, sloppy joes, enchiladas, meatballs, meatloaf, anything that had ground meat had extra veggie fillers and those meals were served every other day. They all wept and wailed so bitterly through the spaghetti squash substitution that I haven't bother to try a substitution for any of the other old favorites. I just stopped serving them. The boy also doesn't care for meat. If he had his choice he'd live on PB&J, oatmeal and bread.
How do I change all of this? What do I change it to? I so badly don't want my children to grow up and become like their father and me. How can I do this?
(And I'm sorry this got long, I wanted to get as much info out as I could now in case I can't get back to the computer until later.)
I'm sorry if my opinion is not the one you are looking for, but being raised in a restrictive setting only made me, and almost every other person from my generation, want to deviate as much as possible. Fortunately my dietary upbringing was cheese enchiladas, mormon potatoes (cheesy, bacon slathered mash potatoes that may cause instant heart attack upon first bite), and nutella. So as you can imagine, healthy eating is where I ended up, not where I started.
I can't imagine the drive to be as different as possible from parental figures would change much in one generation. I would recommend you let your kids be kids while they can, its such a precious beautiful thing. They will eat like you when it peaks their interest, and chances are if you guys eat dinner together they will end up eating more or less like you anyways.
My girl's only 18 months now so we have some advantages in transitioning her. I wish I had good suggestions for you -- we have a tough time getting ours to eat veggies, too -- but instead I'll be watching this thread eagerly for other responses!
Speaking as the grown-up version of a child starchaholic with a very picky/limited palate, I wish you the best of luck in this effort. It will help them immensely later if you can find success.
Regarding the oatmeal thing, I've been collecting suggestions over here: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...dler-breakfast
I don't know that it will help you considering the dairy sensitivities in your family, but here's what we've been doing: slowly transitioning her over to almond meal in milk rather than oatmeal. (She's still so young, I'm OK with giving her milk.) I figure it'll cause less of a blood sugar spike, if nothing else, than straight-up oatmeal. We're also experimenting with the recipes that include egg so it'll have more going on than straight-up almond meal.
It is hard and I have to say I was pretty brutal about it. My daughters hormonal chaos and sons ADD weren't something I was willing to mess with. They ate pretty healthy already but ditching bread and treats was brutal. I choose a summer so my sweet starved kids wouldn't have CPS on my door step and just refused anything else. They did try to mutiny but I explained why we're eating the way we eat and they get what they get and don't through a fit. No other food was available and they couldn't trade anything because school was out. Eventually they gave up and now tell friends they can't have bread, pasta etc at their house even though the rule is at other peoples houses what they eat is up to them. But it was really hard to keep my foot down. We had a couple liver melt downs. They chose to go to bed without eating (I tried to ignore it telling myself, kids won't starve themselves) and the dinner showed up in the morning scramble. After two weeks they were all good and loved primal eating. BTW: getting my son off fake sugar was like managing heroin withdrawal. Complete emotional meltdown cause I through away the Splenda
Last edited by quotidianlight; 10-04-2010 at 10:44 AM.
I just model the behaviors I want to encourage. In our home, the kids probably eat 50% primal, and 50% SAD. They have heard my husband and I talking about not eating sugars and starches and why. They know we encourage them to only eat one sugary thing a day (if they have toast, they need to have some eggs or bacon with it; if they have spaghetti, don't also eat bread). It is impossible to control and if you clamp down too restrictively, they will rebel.
My mom watched my eating like a hawk and turned me into a closet binger. All I can do is explain why I eat the way I do, and leave the nutrition books I like laying around the house. They will have to make their own diet decisions.
I have an almost 6 year old, a 4 year old and an almost 3 year old and we have been transitioning to more primal fare around here as well. It is not easy, but they are adjusting. Right now I give them rice cakes with cream cheese instead of bread, quinoa pasta instead of wheat pasta and lots of veggies and fruit. My kids eat fruit as a dessert in the evenings as well and love it.
We still give them burgers and pizza on occasion because I feel I cannot cut it all out at once (am worried it will cause issues down the line with food) and they will have the occasional piece of candy (they never ate a lot of that, so it's not really a big deal regardless).
Just take it slowly, try gluten free substitutes to start with and slowly add in more veggies. With veggies, my kids have to eat them before they get more of any kind of starch, so they are used to eating the veggies.
One thing that was hard for me, was not giving them a starch/protein/veggie at every meal. Now they will have cottage cheese with fruit for dinner and I am fine with it.
Everyone has different parenting approaches but my mother's (and mine) is simply this: You are the parent. You choose what food your child has available to eat, end of story. Every night at dinner we had the option to eat what was provided, or make PBJ yourself (clearly, my family has misperceptions of what was healthy). Maybe you could make a similar rule in your house, but change PBJ to something primal that they enjoy.
When we switched over to primal in my house, we didn't announce it to our daughter we just changed what we had and what we served and she's never really noticed! A couple times she's requested pasta dishes and we've just found a way to avoid that. We still eat pancakes, they're just made from coconut flour now. We have lettuce wraps instead of sandwiches and it's been no big deal to her.
Your kids might complain more than mine did, but I still feel like you're the adult and parent so they don't really have a choice in the matter. You're making a decision to help build them healthy lives that will help them succeed in school and their extra curriculars.
All that being said--don't think I'm a food nazi :P We believe in the 80% rule, even for our kids. After her first cheerleading game, we celebrated with ice cream. When she's given a bag of candy at kids events, we let her have some but not the whole bag.
When it gets tough, remember that you're doing what is best for them and remember to to enjoy that 20% of fun with them every now and then when it's worth it
I’m at work so I admit I didn’t read all the replies but this is something you can try with maybe your youngest.
Apparently, I was a picky eater as a kid, I’ll eat anything in sight now, but I was fuzzy as shit growing up. I was frail and I used to think that eating would cause nausea and I would vomit, and I was deathly afraid of vomit growing up, I guess I’m no more a fan of it now though!
Anyway, my poor mother couldn’t get me to have soup ever, vegetables, boiled chicken or meat, all that stuff irked me. I was fine with grilled meats and such, but never soup.
What she did was blend the soup and sit there with me to make sure I ate it. I wasn’t a fan of that either, but it was easier for me to eat it, despite it looking like a green runny paste, I would add some salt to it and chug it down. It also helped having my mom threaten me with physical violence if I didn’t do it! She never laid a hand on me, but I still got my nutrition in. I could ask her, but I don’t think she blended the meat, I think she would only blend the broth and veggies. I think this happened for about a year or so when I was 5 or 6 (yeah…) but then I grew out of it and started eating like a normal person.
It may not work, but it’s worth a shot I suppose.
I'm pretty easy-going on the eat or don't eat front, they have to take a "no thank-you" bite of everything I offer, but past that, I'm not going to fight too much. The boy has now passed into the age of reason where he can go to bed hungry and I won't worry about it.
Do people not really worry about giving their kids things like oatmeal or cold cereal in the mornings, and sandwiches for lunch? I feel like I've started to worry so much about how grains affect teeth, childhood obesity (or adult obesity stemming from poor choices and lessons as kids), mood fluctuations and general health that I want to eliminate this dependance before it gets firmly rooted and destroys their health. As a parent, its my job to make sure I send them into adulthood with the best health possible.
They don't know that I worry about these things. I don't want them to. In case anyone thinks I'm stressing my kids out along with myself.
Sorry if my posts aren't caught up with your comments yet. We homeschool, and all of the sudden the house exploded over the missing pink ruler. The world nearly came to an end because the purple ruler and the brown ruler weren't good enough.