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Thread: Having a VERY difficult time with the kids - help!

  1. #1

    Having a VERY difficult time with the kids - help!

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    I've been eating primal for almost 2 years now. However, I'm now just trying to get serious with my kids going the same route. I've literally emptied all the junk out of our house that they formally survived upon with the exception of a loaf of bread and jar of peanut butter that belong to my dear, dear hubby (gotta do some more work on him too!)

    Needless to say there are tons of complaints from my kids (3 yo, 6 yo, and 8 yo) about there being "nothing to eat here." My concern is that they absolutely refuse to step outside of their boxes and try anything new. I'm not kidding when I say the only vegetable they'll eat is a carrot. Fruit is a little more varied but not by much - the standard apples, bananas, and grapes. Meat/protein = deli turkey, Neese's sausage, bacon, steak on occassion, pepperoni slices sometimes, burgers sometimes, chicken rarely, nuts, eggs for the olders - the 3 yo refuses eggs.........

    I'm getting a bit frustrated honestly. I want them to eat better because I know the benefits. I refuse to buy the junk. But their food choices are so limited right now. Their typical dinner is apple slices, carrots, other fruit I have on hand but they always refuse, and a protein that I "hope" they'll eat. They refuse any nut butters. The 3 yo is the absolute hardest to deal with as he refuses most all foods except Honey Nut Cheerios but I'm trying not to cave there. All of them are true sugar and carb addicts that don't want to budge. Is there hope? What else can I do to encourage them to eat other vegetables and meats?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Chicago Suburbs
    Honest question... what were they eating before?

    They are young enough to adapt, so serve what you want them to eat. They will not go hungry but might refuse to eat for a little while. Have you tried loading things (cooked veggies/potatoes) with butter? As they expand their palate, reward them by being sure to serve something they like once a day.

    I have a 2yo boy and 4yo girl. We had salad with raw carrots, diced tomatoes, celery, and baked chicken tonight; olive oil, salt and garlic powder as dressing. You could add some cheese in small cubes to that too.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Orem, UT
    Here comes the sucky part. You're the parent. They will eat what you provide them. When they're hungry enough, they'll try something new. Part 2: teaching them what is food and what is not. They need to recognize the new foods and what they can do with them.
    Try investing in a copy of Eat Like A Dinosaur. The 6 & 8 y/o will probably get into it if they like cooking. My 4yo really enjoys helping me cook.
    Oh, yeah, by the way, let them help you cook.
    --Trish (Bork)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    If there are no special needs issues, then I would just keep moving forward and redirect the complaints in something like: write down what you'd like here and if it's is good for our bodies, then I'll pick it up at the store.

    Also maybe consider watching some youtube cooking videos together, if they're into that stuff, and pick out something that looks cool to make and make it. I suggest avoiding anything that is "paleo pizza" or any substitute type item because that stuff ain't the same, so why bother pretending it is (for now). But making some awesome dishes that stand on their own, I'm thinking shrimp or chicken or good pulled pork or something, and letting that be the meal.

    My kids also love growing food in the garden and eat radishes like "ice cream cones" because they grew them themselves -- they're strange sometimes. Disclosure: my kids pretty much have always just loved food and we have never done much junk, so there are no habits being broken and primal transition was just a redirection to better choices and I do still leave in some of grains but no where what it was at before.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    It's hard. I fought that battle and I lost- with five kids. Every meal I was catering to each individual kid. It was CRAZY. If you can do it now, do it. And don't be afraid to serve them the same thing all the time. Give them a good multi and go for the carrots and apples! Just increase things incrementally. And it's not going to kill them to have a little cereal- just make it boring, like straight Cheerios.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Appalachian Ohio
    I have four, all still at home. I have two special diets in the house, luckily they align with Primal. I have a lot of thoughts, mostly they mirror those here, but still..

    - you are the parent. good for you that you don't buy the junk!!

    - try reading about French parenting and the art of getting kids to eat good food. I am not a "parenting" guru, but the French have been getting their kids on board with truly good food for many generations, and some articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal about this. it will give you hope

    - is your husband on board with this?? if kids don't see a unified front, they get ideas... the two of you will have to decide what will give and what won't for the time being

    - take it slow. those ages are bull-headed. food should never be about power struggles.

    - go to the library and check out the children's cookbooks. they are getting better and better. you will still find the crap books about Betty Crocker devil's food-fudge lava brownies with gummy worm and icing and cereal decorations, but there are many, many more on fresh, real food for and by kids out there today. just let them peruse - don't make it an assignment.

    - start growing potted vegetables. you can pull carrots young - the farm-to-table thing cannot begin early enough. again, just have fun here

    - in my prePrimal days, I actually did let my oldest go hungry. she got crap snacks from the old ladies at my husband's church during coffee hour (we attended different churches and usually the kids went with me, but they visited) - you know, all those ladies whose grown, married kids hadn't reproduced yet and they all had the WHEN ARE YOU GONNA GIVE ME A GRANDKID blues. I had four cutesies in quick succession, and the old biddies just loved to watch their faces light up at a spoon full of coffee cake icing. Once I found out, I put the foot down with hubby, and he did a much better job of policing this. Anyway, DD got the idea once as a young child that food wasn't worth eating unless it was coffee cake. So I put a nice, square meal on the table, and if she didn't eat it, it got cleared, no argument on my part, and there was NOTHING but fresh water until the next meal. She chose to do this for 36 hours once. Next meal after that - she ate a ton of food and it never happened again.

    - turn off the tv. not as a punishment - just because all those ads are not helpful. then go outside and wear them out. they will be healthier and hungrier.

    - visit pick-ur-own farms, orchards, the works. I don't know a kid alive who won't bite into an apple he/she just picked...

    - you just keep on trying different preparations of stuff. my youngest is a picky eater, but we now have an agreement that if she doesn't like a food, I (me, the chief cook) just need to keep on trying different recipes, and she will keep trying bites, until we get to one that is a hit. For example, there must be 10,000 different recipes using a fish fillet. she now loves pan-fried fish fillets. and i discovered that she likes her chicken really, really well roasted so it gets a really crispy skin. crispy skin = daughter eats. flubbery skin = daughter doesn't eat the chicken. I can live with that - she got to the point where we found a chicken preparation she DOES like.

    Hope you find something of use to you in this post...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Agree totally with Crabbcakes. Love the suggestions about visiting farms, I think we'll try that too.

    I keep having to say it to myself: I AM THE MOM. Did I get catered to for every dang meal like my kid? No. If I didn't like those insipid stuffed peppers my mom made, I could damn well go hungry that night and no one felt bad. I lived.

    Just keep it up. Honestly, how many details of that period of your life do you remember? They won't remember the solid week of whining "there's nothing to eeeeeaaaattt mommmm". What they'll come out with are healthy eating habits, respect for their bodies and what they put in them, respect for you, and the knowledge you loved them enough to do the best thing no matter what. Just be matter-of-fact about the whole thing; this is the brave new world around here, the less you make of it, they less they'll make of it in the end too. They'll adapt eventually, don't give up!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Northern Utah
    Kids usually need to "taste" something about 21 times before they decide they like it. Don't force them to eat new or hated foods, but they HAVE to take a real taste--one bite that they actually chew and swallow.

    I stuck with the "you have to take a real taste" and didn't force my three kids to eat any more than that of a new or "hated" food, but just because they didn't like it last time didn't mean that they didn't have to taste it again. And the line "...well, when you get older and are more mature, you'll like more things" also seemed to encourage them!

    Picky eaters also seem to like foods better if they can eat them with their fingers. Cut veg, cooked cold meats, cheese, into finger-sized pieces and they'll often eat a whole meal without realizing that they are!

    That said, I never forced my kids to eat something that they genuinely hated. I remember gagging over peas as a child, and I still hate them. Middle kid will never like lamb (from when she was a baby). Oldest will only eat fish if it's mixed with mayo a la tuna salad (or catfish salad or cod salad...) Youngest is deathly allergic to tree nuts, so that's a no-brainer, but she'll eat anything else.

    I don't think primal/paleo existed when my kids were little (they're now 33, 31, and 29), but we never ate very carb-y meals. Meat and vegetables were 80% of any meal made at home. Now all three kids are semi- or totally primal just because that's what they like best! You're the parent; don't be afraid to be a mean mom. My kids always told me I was a mean mom. When my son finished Navy SEAL training, he thanked me for being a mean mom! It pays in the end!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Round Rock, Texas
    Glad to see someone post this. My husband and I are seperating in about 2 weeks. I have decided that our new home (me and the kids) will be a non-processed food home. They can still have raw milk and I may sometimes make homemade bread...but no more dinonuggets or store bought crap. I am dreading the battle. My son will be ok...but my 4 year old daughter will probably live on milk with cocoa in it. and bananas.

    Thanks for all of the good ideas! I will definitely check out Eat Like a Dinosaur. We go to a farm already to get milk and eggs. Even though they see the chickens running around, neither will touch an egg.
    It's just another day in paradise
    As you stumble to your bed
    You'd give anything to silence
    Those voices ringing in your head
    You thought you could find happiness
    Just over that green hill
    You thought you would be satisfied
    But you never will-
    Learn to be still
    -The Eagles

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    New Zealand
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    We had a rebellion in our household too, but it was mainly about breakfasts.

    So we relented. Now the kids alternate between porridge and ricies as their breakfast (although the eldest who is 8 has started eating with us on the days when we have bacon and eggs for breatfast.....).

    We have a big bench of fruit that the kids can graze on (bananas and apples mainly, but mandarins, oranges, pears etc too). Lunch for them is usually some fruit, some nuts, and sultanas.

    They don't get an option at dinner, the rules have always been that they have to try a piece of everything on their plate (20 yucks to 1 yum!) and can then reject that type of food for the rest of the meal.
    Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

    Griff's cholesterol primer
    5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
    Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
    TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
    bloodorchid is always right

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