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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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September 21, 2011

How to Go Primal: For Parents

By Mark Sisson
183 Comments

Whether we’re parents or not, we all identify on some level with the problematic influence other people can have on our lifestyle choices. Whether it’s an inflexible partner, “concerned” friends and family members, or iron-willed children, they all prove that none of us lives in a vacuum. Taking on the Primal Blueprint, particularly the diet, in these cases isn’t just revamping one’s own eating. It involves a whole negotiation with the set patterns and expectations within one’s entire household. (Deep, cleansing breath…) With the Primal Challenge this month, many readers, particularly parents, are finding that aspect the hardest element of their commitment – particularly when it comes to the food. I’ve covered some seedling suggestions in the past, but I thought I’d offer a special, Challenge-focused triage post for the well-intentioned but struggling parents out there. I hope you’ll join me in offering up your best tips, strategies, recipes, and serenity mantras.

First off, let me offer kudos to the parents taking up the Challenge this month. It’s true that all of us here, parents or not, could offer a hundred excuses for not doing it. Nonetheless, here we are. We’re on the path. We’re recommitting each day. We’re all showing up, and that’s 90% of it. For parents, the overall lifestyle negotiation takes on it’s own set of obstacles though. Home life and everything it entails ends up largely influenced if not dictated by the needs (and sometimes whims) of the kiddos. It’s easy to fall into what initially feels like a middle ground deal but gradually devolves into a wholly unreasonable and unhealthy arrangement – for everybody. We surrender our standards in the name of convenience or cost savings. We postpone healthy changes because they don’t mesh with family demands at the time. Let’s stop the car for a moment.

Secure your diet before helping others. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating letting your children gorge in a pool of Cocoa Krispies while you prepare that Thai steak salad for dinner. Nonetheless, many a a mother and father have undoubtedly driven themselves to the edge of sanity trying to wholly transition little Sally and Joey just as they initiate their own Primal challenge. It’s a perfectly honorable, understandable inclination, but it’s often (not always) doomed to failure. Let me explain.

There’s the good intention of wanting to improve your children’s diet as you improve your own. I love this one. By all means, go for it. You couldn’t give your kids a better gift (besides your love of course). Some folks can do it all in one sweep, and more power to them. If you have any doubts, however, work on yourself first. I know that “indulging” in healthier food while you leave your children behind in what suddenly seems a culinary wasteland can impose a tremendous amount of guilt. (Reader letters confirm as much.)

Let me say this. Improving your kids’ diet is an infinitely worthy goal, but it’s a different project. It’s a separate intention. Give each goal its individual due, and you’ll be more likely to be successful on both fronts. Remember the oxygen mask metaphor? If you secure your own source of oxygen, you’re in better shape to help the person next to you. Likewise, if you’re established in a healthy Primal Blueprint diet – meaning, you’ve created a genuine routine and you have a respectful repertoire of recipes – you will be in a better position to stay the course with your kids.

Anyone who’s transitioned children to a different diet can tell you it’s not the easiest thing in the world. They will likely resist. They will complain. The older ones will hold out waiting for you to change your mind and go back to the old ways. Will you? If you’re a newbie just charting the course, the prospect is much more likely than if you’ve had the time and practice to make the Blueprint your own. You’ll have developed a creativity and flexibility conducive to creating a workable version of the PB for your family – without compromising the basic premise or your personal commitment.

As you forge your own Primal path, set an important but more manageable goal for the kids. Cut out the gluten in their diet or those last processed foods you’ve been meaning to dump. Get rid of the sugar or work on increasing their veggie intake. Choose whatever feels reasonable, but opt for a change that isn’t going to undermine your own efforts now. If that means doing the same old, same old for a couple of weeks, than so be it. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Then there’s the practical aspects of juggling different menus. For one, parents new to the PB imagine the prospect of making multiple meals and decide the extra time, effort, and expense will be a deal breaker. It’s gotta be everybody or nobody if this is gonna work, they think. I understand this perspective. I sympathize with it. As a parent, I remember what it’s like to be on a budget, to have no time for yourself, to throw dinner together as quickly as humanly possible because you know a hunger meltdown is exactly nine minutes away and counting.

Nonetheless, the fact remains. When you allow your success to depend on the cooperation of others, you’ve surrendered control of – and full responsibility for – your intention. It’s a hard truth when you’re already stressed and sleepless. Let me offer a few suggestions along these lines. I know, too, there will be a whole host of fellow Grokkers who will offer the benefit of their own experience in these matters. That’s one of the greatest parts about this community. Don’t be afraid to lean on it.

  • Eat separate meals at separate times. Yes, making different meals does take longer. There’s no way around it. You can, however, get the kids fed on time and still work in a Primal dinner for yourself if you’re not married to the idea that it has to be the exact way and time that it was before. Spare yourself the meltdowns and eye rolls about having to get to soccer practice and establish your own mealtime. Break it up. Eat half your dinner with the family and half later. Bring it to go on certain days if need be. Embrace the strategically scheduled IF when necessary. Throw out your old schedule entirely and start from scratch. As disorienting as setting a new schedule sounds, it can be easier for some people than trying to force new priorities into the old one.
  • Plan, plan, plan. With a little time, things will fall into place and become more automatic, but these transitions take some effort in the beginning. Be patient with the process, and see the possibilities. Create a list of your favorite Primal recipes and snacks. List a meal plan for your kids. Figure out what can be integrated into a week’s cooking and shopping budget. Both you and the little ones might have to forgo or switch off getting one or more of your favorite foods. You might trade some expenses by leaning a little more on frozen veggies or shopping a road side farm stand this week. Nonetheless, if you plan it out, you can be sure that you’ve covered everyone’s needs for the week.
  • Coordinate meals to use the same basic ingredients. Instead of buying all separate ingredients for your food and theirs, make the respective meals as complementary as you can. A pound of ground beef, some chicken tenders, or some scrambled eggs can easily become the cornerstone for a tasty kid dinner and a fully Primal one for you. I have no doubt good readers will have tips here.
  • Integrate family meals one at a time. Do a Primal dinner once a week – something everyone can agree upon. Add a Primal breakfast or snack the week after. Let go of expectations about the food itself and make it an event. Get the kids involved in planning or cooking. Make it a fancy meal with printed menus and fine china or eat it outside together on the ground with your hands. Make a family event out of it. Let it simply be a good time – one meal at a time.
  • Always have a contingency plan. You expend massive amounts of time and brain energy packing the diaper back or day pack taking into account every kids’ conceivable need. How about your needs? Take the time to make some Primal energy bars each week, or bring along some protein shake mix when you’re on a family outing. Life with kids is less than neat, less than predictable. Always come prepared, Primal style.

Thanks for reading today, everybody. Have kids? How have you meshed (or not) your Primal choices with the family picture? What are your fallback recipes for busy times or the Primal meals that no kid can refuse? I hope you’ll add your suggestions and advice for all the Primal parents out there. Happy hump day!

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183 Comments on "How to Go Primal: For Parents"

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Issabeau
Issabeau
5 years 9 days ago

I can’t imagine being a stay at home mother and having to cook for a SAD husband, a baby, an older child and myself…all seperate meals.
I would quit!

So darn glad I don’t have kids…well, yet.

Linda
5 years 8 days ago
I couldn`t imagine it either, but here I am. I have 1 small boy, a fiance who in the past year underwent 8 rounds of chemo,(now cancer free) while I was pregnant,and shortly after baby was born and I have to try to make meals and deal with all the emotions, chores, plus trying to reno and sell our house as well as the needs of a small child, my own, and my fiance`s. You just learn as you go. There are no quick answers, but the point is to learn and try not to bite off more than you… Read more »
Peggy The Primal Parent
5 years 8 days ago
When I was married and I went Primal I just quit cooking non-paleo stuff. Kind of bitch of me I guess but oh well. My kid was just a baby so I didn’t have her attitude to worry about. I threw out all the non-paleo food and my husband just ended up going primal with me – at least while he was at home. I definitely was NOT going to make multiple meals. Real people who have to prepare their own food and go to work and take care of the fam probably aren’t going to be so careful of… Read more »
ioelus
ioelus
5 years 7 days ago
I’m the cook in my house, and the one who works. My wife stays home our (now) two boys. I make multiple meals almost every night, because a lot of our foods are a bit mature for my 3 year old, and I haven’t been able to transition him yet. My wife wants to get healthier, but hasn’t been able to make the switch yet. She eats what I make, obviously, but when I make a meal I know she loves/misses (like chicken parm), I make a primal version for me. Hard? Yup. Make for late nights? Yup. I’m careful… Read more »
Jack
Jack
5 years 5 days ago

My story is nearly identical to the above. Wife stays home, 5 y/o and 5 month old boys and I usually make compromises on my oldest boy’s lunches… until last week. He started Kindergarten and we noticed some symptoms of ADHD (Although I’m on the fence about whether it exists) and I’m thinking a more Primal life may help him too. My wife is nearly on board with me and I do NOT cook seperate meals for the family. We all eat Primal when its dinner or family breakfast time.

LXV
LXV
5 years 9 days ago

I thought this would be a post about getting your parents to eat primal, lol. I’m pretty proud of myself (and my folks) right now because they’ve been eating primal for two weeks now. Mom even bought herself a pair of vibrams.

Matthew
Matthew
5 years 8 days ago

I’m having a problem getting my parents to go Primal, and since I live at home and don’t buy the food it’s pretty difficult.

LisaS
LisaS
5 years 9 days ago
As one who has tried to influence both parents and children, children are much easier. My kids don’t remember my low-fat diet, or the slim fast months, or the Zone, etc. Whatever I tell my parents or in-laws just gets lumped into the “there she goes again” pile, complete with the eye rolling, despite the fact I’m looking better and am much healthier. Oh well… As far as kids go, I think it basically comes down to a balance of respecting yourself as the parent and therefore in charge with respecting them as individuals with likes/dislikes and a desire to… Read more »
Andy
5 years 9 days ago

I experience the same thing with my parents… They will be complaining of this or that health problem and I’ll try to give them some advice based on my success and they just zone out and nod their head once in a while. Oh well… maybe next time they’ll make a change.

ruben
5 years 9 days ago

Andy, i totally agree with you, i often times relate information to friends and family. The listen while they are in pain or just desperate to make changes, but it usually does not last!
Like any major endeavor it takes time and diligence, which unfortunately is something that society at large does not posses.

Anne
5 years 9 days ago
A triage post? Fitting terminology! I am definitely a “well-intentioned but struggling” parent. As long as I plan like crazy, my kids do pretty well on 90% paleo (that’s paleo, plus nutella. And the occasional ricecake.) My oldest is 8, and once or twice a week I’ll get the “why can’t we ever have BREAD??” complaint. The underlying assumption being that bread is the best thing ever! If we have lots of food in the house that the kids like, then we’re golden. Dinners are easy, I just think of it as “meat and three” and we’re good. But snacks… Read more »
Katie (Wellness Mama)
5 years 9 days ago

for snacks, we do a lot of homemade beef jerky from ground beef, coconut clusters, homemade primal trail mix, fruit, veggies with almond butter, leftover meat from the night before or coconut based smoothies (with raw eggs). Their favorite is pre-cooked cold nitrite free bacon, but I have to limit that or we’d be spending $10/day just on snacks!

Kris
Kris
5 years 9 days ago
I’m always trying to find good snacks too! My main issue is that has to pretty much be stuff I can just buy – I expend the effort to cook a wide variety of meals, but I just don’t have time to include stuff like making jerky as well. I don’t know how well any of this works for kids, but here are my staples: – Nuts (almonds or macadamia, usually) – Sunflower seeds in shell (perfect for watching movies or games, when you want an activity more than the food) – Almond flax butter from Trader Joe’s (crack stuff)… Read more »
Nicky
Nicky
5 years 9 days ago

http://www.colestrout.com/products/

I found this at Wegman’s last week and it was great! I tried the mackerel in piripiri sauce.

James
James
4 years 10 months ago

Wow, I can’t wait to try some of these. Thanks for posting.

Alison Golden
5 years 9 days ago

Dates, tangerines, tablespoon of nut butter, hard boiled egg, avocado, cold good quality sausages cut up.

peggy
peggy
5 years 9 days ago
ditto on the HB eggs!! don’t forget you can make the tamari ones in the 1st PB cookbook, or peel & drop in with pickled beets for a day to make them pretty. What about apples? I don’t see here… apple slices with cinnamon. Greek yoghurt mixed with cinnamon as a “dip” for apple slices. I also mix cinnamon with almond butter. “ants on a log” – celery sticks filled with almond butter & topped with a trail of raisins or dried cherries. (celery filled with tuna or egg salad?) slices of cucumber or raw zucchini used as “crackers &… Read more »
Andislimreaper
Andislimreaper
5 years 9 days ago

Zucchini chips – thank you.
Just put some in the bottom oven now.

Krista
5 years 8 days ago

Another way to make hard boiled eggs pretty is to soak them in sauerkraut juice from red cabbage. They’ll be purple at first but then they’ll turn blue, very pretty! It’s also a fun experiment for kids.

Nichole
5 years 9 days ago

Dates, dried figs, pepitas, organic full fat pastured Greek yogurt, fruit, deli turkey rolled avocados, raisins, string cheese, certain Larabars, sunbutter, and my daughter loves energy chunks, many of which are primal or close to it.

Tanya
Tanya
5 years 4 days ago

I always give kids “cold apple pie” – slice up an apple into a bag/dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and a little nutmeg.

Tim
Tim
5 years 9 days ago

The other day, my daughter brought in handsful of grass seed from the backyard so that we could grind it and make some bread, since she missed it so much!

Michelle
Michelle
5 years 9 days ago

For a while I made almond bread or almond/coconut flour bread for my daughter because she was a bread addict. She likes it and has given up the regular breads (though she gets gluten-free rice breads once in a while). After not eating it for a bit, she did a couple of times and realized her body didn’t like it AT ALL. 🙂

Anyway my point being, that there are ways of substituting a bit here and there while in transition, or so that there’s a bit better quality to your 20%. 🙂

Andislimreaper
Andislimreaper
5 years 9 days ago

“Paleo, plus Nutella” – I like that! LOL

Michael C
Michael C
5 years 9 days ago

Kinda like vegetarian plus bacon. Which seems to happen rather frequently.

primalpal
primalpal
5 years 9 days ago
Hi Anne, I don’t have kids, but I can understand the BREAD complaint…I have made 3 different primal “Bread” recipes that I make once in a while, whenever I get the craving…it’s fall now, so here’s the recipe for my favorite autumn one: Cinnamon Apple Crisp Bread Preheat oven to 325 F Grease 2 bread pans with coconut oil (I use these Pyrex dishes…http://www.pyrexware.com/index.asp?pageId=14&CatID=380&SubCatID=398&upc=71160034693).. Peel and dice a large apple…shake in a bowl with about 2 tsp of cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg and ground cloves if you have it…set aside. In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup of coconut… Read more »
Janine
Janine
5 years 8 days ago

OMG..that sounds awesome! I have a bunch of apples from my tree and I am soooo going to make that. My cranky teenage son will thank me for that one. Today he went off to school with a bag of almonds, a pop up can of tuna, some fruits and veggies, a container or no-sugar fruit yogurt and a two gluton-free ginger snaps (my concession). if he would just take leftovers life would be much easier..but no easy access to microwave at his school!

primalpal
primalpal
5 years 7 days ago

just made some last night…easy breakfast for the morning too! The Pyrex dishes are the best…you just bake the bread, let it cool, and then put the top on…keeps everything nice and fresh!

primalpal
primalpal
5 years 7 days ago

If you want to make the bread even tastier, pour 3 tbsp (total…1.5 per loaf) over the batter once you have put it in the Pyrex dish…bake like this…

primalpal
primalpal
5 years 9 days ago

I must have hit the wrong reply button…Anne, I left an apple crisp “bread” recipe at the bottom of the page

kate
5 years 8 days ago

Homemade applesauce. It tastes even better if you make it after you take the kiddies to pick their own apples at the orchard. (Autumn is one of the best things about living in New England!)

Erin
Erin
5 years 8 days ago

Snacks! Where to start.. if you don’t have a dehydrator, GET ONE! Make all kinds of jerky (beef, turkey, even chicken is great). Make your own trail mix with dried fruit (in small amounts) with nuts and coconut, plantain chips with guac, sliced bell peppers with various dips – or without, baked sweet potato fries with ghee and a LITTLE maple syrup (make them yourself, not the packaged ones), baked apples with ghee and cinnamon, kabob leftovers (my favorite)… pretty much any kind of leftovers can be turned into snack food if you modify it a bit!

Milliann
5 years 7 days ago

heh I made some banana icecream I read about so simple.Just slice banana, put them in freezer take out & blend until smooth.U will not believe how good this is. I added strawberries, frozen & a little cocoa powder awesome no additional sweetness needed. KIDS would love it:)

Ashley
Ashley
5 years 4 days ago

That sounds similar to my household. I’ve managed to get a lot of grains out of our household, the removal of cereal was a big one (thankfully they never ask for it anymore) and bread is a VERY rare buy. Hamburger buns and flour tortillas are another story though. They just don’t want to give them up.

Most dinners my 7 year old just eats a plate of meat because he refuses to eat veggies.

Leslie
Leslie
5 years 9 days ago
I cook a lot of stuff on the weekend and we mix & match those things through out the week. Lots of meat (to be eaten alone or thrown on salad), a couple of casserole-type dishes, and some veggies that can stand the reheating. Thankfully our 2 year old LOVES bacon and fresh veggies so she usually has some form of crudite plate for super. The hardest part for us has been getting the daycare on board with not feeding her bread and sugary snacks. Now we just take her organic milk and healthy snacks. Not easy on the budget,… Read more »
Ingvildr
Ingvildr
5 years 9 days ago
I haven’t had too much problem with changing the big peoples(dad, big sister, and myself)diet, it’s my four year old son. To call him food neophobic is an understatement. I am unable to get him to eat meat and most veggies. He will eat most fruits, anything breadish, but not noodles or potatoes(I know real primal), peanut butter, cheese, and milk if I add flavor(as little as I can get away with). He is the first kid I have run into who will not eat a strange food if he gets hungry enough. He will simply not eat or drink… Read more »
Katie (Wellness Mama)
5 years 9 days ago
In the short term, maybe try making some coconut based “bread” products just to cut out the grains and get more protein in him. Would he eat homemade trail mix, or coconut based smoothies? For my kids, I’ve made banana muffins (with coconut flour), apple cinnamon muffins/bread (coconut flour) and even pancakes, and their non-primal friends seem to like these options too… maybe they would work with your son. We also did the one-bite rule with our kids when we were adjusting. They got one bite of each part of the food we we serving, and they had to try… Read more »
spincycle
spincycle
5 years 9 days ago

Ooohh, could I get the recipe for your banana muffins and apple cinnamon muffins please? I’d like to try them on my kids.

Charissa
Charissa
4 years 8 months ago
My daughter has autism and has been gluten free for years but still eats lots of grain products because her taste for meat is very limited and she refuses eggs. I’m really trying to get her to accept coconut flour replacements but she doesn’t care for them much because they taste “eggy” alot of the time. I’m about to go the route of just removing the grain products and pushing more protien regardless of meltdowns and tantrums. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. By the way she is 7 and is about the size of a typical 10 year old…she… Read more »
Mike
Mike
5 years 9 days ago
I have 2 boys, ages 4 and 5 1/2. The younger one will eat anything, and the older one is exactly as you describe your 4 year old (which is reassuring to think that it’s just who he is and it’s not something we screwed up as parents). He will skip meals entirely rather than eat something new, and if “forced” he will gag and regurgitate (and he’s been that way from so young that I’m sure he’s not just faking it; plus the Pediatricians say “forcing” them may result in worse long-term habits). For us we just try to… Read more »
Alison Golden
5 years 8 days ago
One thing I did with my kids when they were little was to have a smorgasbord similar to above. I would use a lazy susan and put on lots of little dishes (all of them healthy) and they could choose as many or as little of the food items as they wanted. The novelty of the lazy susan and the feeling of being grown-up and learning a fancy word seemed to make all the difference. They still talk about it and it’s been years. And ditto on the muffins. You can make all sorts of different combos of fruit with… Read more »
thinkingmom
thinkingmom
5 years 8 days ago

I kinda understand where your son is coming from (except for the blackberry thing – too many seeds!) I have never been able to eat many fruits (outside of them being in a smoothie). An involuntary gag reflex kicks in and I just can’t get it down. It is weird and annoying and I have tried many times to no avail to overcome it. I am able, now, to eat a few, consistant textured fruits but if I am feeling like I need fruit, I just whip up a green smootie and it’s all good!

Tanya
Tanya
5 years 4 days ago
I’m having trouble with my four year old too. He hates nuts(except almonds when he’s in a good mood), hates coconut, even hates primal chocolate chip cookies, hates lettuce, doesn’t really like eggs. However he loves carrots, broccoli, peppers (only the orange ones 🙂 ) cauliflower, beef jerky, sunflower seeds….. ahhhhhh he’s a bread man errgg. The other 3 (age 9, 7 and 2) are slowly coming over to primal. My 9 year old has always hated sandwiches, so she’s been eating salad for lunch for a year already, but the 7 year old loves sandwiches. Patience, patience, patience. Keep… Read more »
Sasha
Sasha
5 years 9 days ago
I have been primal for almost a year, the rest of the family not so much, but we are slowly working on it. To be fair, Hubby is slowly but surely coming around – he is not someone who likes to be told what to do, but he is seeing the changes in me and cannot deny that they have been positive. I’ve got a 6.5 year old who is picky and a 4 year old who is less picky, but still neither of them like meat or avocados, or coconut. I have just been taking it slow with them… Read more »
Melie
Melie
5 years 9 days ago
I have 12 and 7 year-old girls. The younger one has been going with it since she likes salad and meat really well. Plus, I’m making paleo treats from Elana’s Pantry so she doesn’t miss her ‘sweets’. My oldest, though, was a bit more of a challenge. She sees pizza and cookies at every house she goes to and every extra curricular event she attends. However, she came around when I told her about candy cigarettes. I told her when I was a girl my mother would buy me candy cigarettes. I asked her what she would think if I… Read more »
Alison Golden
5 years 9 days ago

Thank you for that re. the candy cigarette. I have the same problem re. the pizza with my 11yo and I’m going to use that idea.

LP
LP
5 years 8 days ago

That is a great analogy!

Chris
Chris
5 years 7 days ago

I miss candy cigarettes 🙁 They were great!

Michael C
Michael C
5 years 9 days ago
My kid (who is 6) is mostly OK with what we are eating these days. He gripes about the veggies some days, but since every kid in existence probably gripes about veggies it’s no big deal. He loves fruit of all sorts and I’m OK with that. He’s not all the way primal/paleo since he has granola for breakfast once in a while, and I stock corn tortillas for him occasionally. No gluten or sugar though, there just isn’t any in the house. That’s the easiest solution really – don’t allow anything in the house that you don’t want your… Read more »
Amanda
Amanda
5 years 9 days ago
We do lots of smoothies – for ourselves and our 1 and 2 year olds. Love the magic bullet mini blender! A handful of frozen berries to any combination of… banana, pumpkin puree, fresh spinach/kale/chard, steamed broccoli, plain greek yogurt, almond flour, apple, cooked sweet potato… etc! It’s really amazing how tasty these can be – and feels great getting that good nutrition in the kids. They also love avocado. The tricky thing with kids this age is non-messy snacks for on the go. Any suggestions? The most frustrating part about caring about what our kids eat is not the… Read more »
stephanie
stephanie
5 years 9 days ago

how do you deal with the adults offering the inappropriate snacks? I’m still pregnant and yet my sister and mother have both said they plan to stuff my twins with junk every chance they get. I know I am a long way from having to worry about this and will have SO VERY many challenges before we get to it but I’d love to hear some strategies. It makes me want to scream and also not let them watch the kids alone once they are getting solids.

Cin
Cin
5 years 9 days ago

The word NO is how you deal with it, plain and simple.

I have 4 kids, and my MIL is always trying to pull stuff. I’ve just learned to say NO — and to back it up with a consequence for Grandma. Break my reasonable rules, get less unsupervised time with the kids.

If I can’t trust you to follow the basic family rules, I can’t trust my little ones with you.

I also let them know what I am confortable with when it comes to bending rules — need to give the grandparents some leeway, after all.

Happycyclegirl
Happycyclegirl
5 years 8 days ago

That was our situation exactly! When my eldest tattled on her grandma (grandma had given them cotton candy!), my husband and I decided right there to cut all unsupervised visits with her. Of course, she was also going behind our wishes on other things too.

It was painful for all of us, but she is slowly starting to see that if she doesn’t go along with our wishes that she just won’t see her grandkids as often.

Shannon
Shannon
5 years 9 days ago
Just my two cents on the family dynamic, but I think any time you have relatives bragging about how they plan to go against your expressed wishes when they are alone with your kids, you need to strongly re-think letting that happen. This likely won’t be just about food. Does she disagree with other modern parenting strategies as well? We have the same issue with an in-law, and it got to the point where I just didn’t trust her not to do things like give my allergic kid an allergen, spank or let my sons cry-it-out when I wasn’t there.… Read more »
Alison Golden
5 years 8 days ago

Frankly if this is as it sounds it is, I would not let them come close.

I have twins and believe me you don’t want to be dealing with 2 junk-filled crazy, bouncing off the wall 2 year olds. And your family members won’t make the connection, they’ll just say you’re being a bad mother.

Your kids, your rules. If you can’t trust them to respect that, they don’t get them. You may have to be the bad guy but so be it.

Janine
Janine
5 years 8 days ago

I can so relate to this. My mother-in-law and I had a huge fight once in front of most of the family because she mocked me for not letting my son have sugar in his cup of tea (he’s a teenager) I told her that I didn’t want him to get used to sweet tea, that a bit of milk only was just fine. She treated me like I was an abusive parent…I held my ground! It’s ridiculous!! I didn’t relent though…

Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple

My friend’s mom is really into sugar. She’s obese and diabetic. She kept wanting to give my friend’s son (her grandson), sugary treats before he was even one. So…my friend just never let her be alone with him.

Erin
Erin
5 years 8 days ago
Absolutely. My grandmother wonders why she never gets to have our daughter (only five months old!) to herself. So does my aunt. They both do exactly what you’re saying, tell me all about how they’re going to slip her a lollipop or tell me, “You have to buy her a Happy Meal when she gets older! All kids get to go to McDonalds!” The aunt also tells us that when she cries she’s “just exercising her lungs” and that we shouldn’t pick her up. I found a chocolate smear on the baby’s face — grandmother doesn’t watch her alone. She… Read more »
NicholeK
5 years 8 days ago

It’s so frustrating! My family members frequently bring over boxes of animal crackers, chips, pretzels (gluten free if we’re lucky), cookies, store bought pies, and other crap into our house. This, of course, is difficult because once the kids see them, it’s a big thing. Then then want them, and I look like the bad guy.

Kate
5 years 9 days ago

My daughter loves dried fruit, including cranberries and raisins.

There are some sulfite-free dried fruit packets that come in resealable bags, and I keep at least one in the car at all times! They are a little sticky in the hand, but not too bad, and they certainly don’t ruin upholstery.

I’ve made my own sweet potato chips in the past, fried in coconut oil and sprinkled with sea salt, and my daughter loves them. Here’s the recipe: http://getfitkatie.blogspot.com/2011/08/recipe-sweet-potato-chips-serve-with.html

Once they are completely cooled, they stay pretty crisp for a couple of days inside a paper bag.

misterworms
misterworms
5 years 9 days ago

I agree that adults offering junk is the biggest problem. It seems like the only things that people think of offering a kid is some variation on flour and/or sugar. Crackers, cereal, juice, cookies, ice cream, etc. And then they complain when kids’ behavior is crummy.

Nichole
5 years 9 days ago

My two year old loves Larabars, energy chunks, and fruit, all of which travel really well.

With my one year old, about the only thing I’ll give him that’s processed are the Happy Bellies organic puffs. Granted they have mostly rice, but they’re all dairy, corn, and soy free, and the sweet potato and strawberry varieties are gluten free.

I hear you about the adults. All of the adults in our kids’ lives are OBSESSED with giving them junk food, which is so frustrating. Why do people think a “happy childhood” hinges on eating crap?

Katie (Wellness Mama)
5 years 9 days ago
I agree that it is easier for parents to make the transition themselves so they have the energy to keep up with their kids once they are eating primal, but the actual adjustment seems much easier on kids than adults… at least from what I’ve seen. I’d recommend transitioning dinner first, since that is most often the family meal and isn’t typically as carb based as breakfast and lunch. Personally, we all just transitioned cold turkey when we switched, and the kids adjusted faster and easier than my husband and I did. Two days of complaining, and now they devour… Read more »
rachael
5 years 9 days ago
I agree, Katie, I think it’s much easier for the kids. We didn’t really discuss it, we just did it. I remember when I said “that’s the last of the pb&j” after tapering off from a three sandwich a week habit, to one, to we’re out and not buying more. We’ve never asked our kids what they wanted for dinner – of course we observe and make an effort to incorporate things we know they like, but my husband was a fussy eater and he knew what a pain he’d been, so we didn’t do the multi-option thing. We prepare… Read more »
Ham-bone
Ham-bone
5 years 9 days ago

Hmmm…I thought this was gonna be on how to get parents to go Primal….oh well

Tim "Renegade Dad" Murphy
5 years 9 days ago
I started eating Primal about 6 months ago and it was tough convincing my wife at first. But I explained how important it was to me, I’ve done a lot of research and I trust in Mark Sisson’s wisdom. Showing photos of Mark helped me seal the deal 🙂 So it started with my own decision, then my wife saw how shredded my abs were and said…what are you doing? I told her….eating Primal baby! She was very intrigued and asked how she can eat a little primal. Now we are doing a Primal meal at Dinner time about 4… Read more »
ahopewell
ahopewell
5 years 9 days ago

LOL@getting parents primal! My dad will never be a convert, but I fully believe it will be the root of what eventually will take my mom’s life. Here’s to hoping she has an ephipany that her issues are due to a very obvious gluten intolerance in the family. Get on board momma!

Jenny
Jenny
5 years 9 days ago

Luckily we went primal right after having our son, so I’ve only had other people argue about what we feed him, he doesn’t know any different.

Although I did think it was pretty funny that the first solid food he got his hands on that he actually really liked was BACON (grabbed it off my plate and wouldn’t let it go). Most of the veggies he’s just been indifferent.

Donna C
5 years 9 days ago
Love this. I have been going Primal for the last 5 weeks, and have lost 6 pounds – I’m hooked. My husband has been Primal for almost a year. We have 2 little kids under 5, so it is challenging. What I have been doing lately, so I don’t have to prepare separate meals, is preparing Primal fare (a meat or other protein, and fruit/veggie), then giving them some noodles or rice with it to make it more palatable. Eventually I think we will be able to wean them off the starchy carbs, but this is a good start! They… Read more »
Cin
Cin
5 years 9 days ago
Yes, this is what we do too — a primal meal with a carb side for the kids, such as rice. We will also make things like spaghetti and homemeade sauce and meatballs, and eat ours on veggies while the kids can choose noodles if they wish. We have 4 kids, and one of them has a serious issue with being underweight. I am very reluctant to take grains away due to that — any parent dealing with an underweightn child can relate to my fear he will start losing weight. However, something I have noticed since my hubby and… Read more »
LP
LP
5 years 8 days ago

This is what I have been doing for the last couple of months since I was the only one eating Primal. I just make rice or noodles for everyone else and I stick with the meat and veggies. I’m not tempted to eat them either!

Liz Dean
5 years 9 days ago
I don’t comment here much, but I must comment today since I have a 20 month old toddler that has basically been eating like us (we’re mostly primal) since he started eating solid foods. His favorite food by far is meat and eggs. He’ll basically eat any kind we prepare. From the get go, we made the goal of him eating what we eat the majority of the time. The best thing is, he doesn’t know any different unless he’s at his cousins house or friends who eat more sugary, carby snacks. He’s tried them, but when we’re home and… Read more »
Donna C
5 years 9 days ago

When your toddler learns the word “no” – and also when he starts being exposed to all those tasty carbs at preschool, birthday parties, playdates – you will find it is more of a challenge.

Good that you gave him a healthy start.

Liz Dean
5 years 9 days ago

He knows the word “no” very, very well (amongst hundreds of other words)…but thankfully he likes what we eat. He’s had lots of treats other places and I knew that would happen, but we can stay consistent in our home! Another good thing is that he asks for dark chocolate, and likes it!

Mike
Mike
5 years 9 days ago

If you start them young enough, it can really influence them. My 4 year old has been Primal with us for at least a year now. At his preschool they had chocolate milk one day. He tried it, thought it was gross, and had water instead! A slice of bread or snack at school, he can weather that fine. Lots of it, though, and he will get a stomach ache [just like my wife and I]. He is starting to learn some of his limits with certain foods.

Jennifer
Jennifer
5 years 8 days ago

Hey Liz, I’ve never reached out on the website before so this is a little weird for me. However, I have an 18 month old who’s been eating primal with us for most of his life. Recently we discovered that he liked eating all kinds of nuts. Great yes! But it’s messing with his bowel movements (we’ll say NOT solid). Have you experienced this ever with the 20 month? And no he’s definitely not allergic. Sorry for the weird question but since he’s in diapers it’s a problem. Thanks, Jen

Alison Golden
5 years 9 days ago
I have done this slowly. I removed the carbs with dinner first and changed the snacks. Now we are experimenting with primal school lunches. Breakfast is about 50/50. My husband is not paleo so there is bread in the house, and peanut butter plus a few other things so I am explaining my reasoning and then letting my kids make up their own mind. They are 11. It is a lot of energy to work on primalizing the family. It requires some dedication to look up new recipes, try them out, get the kids to eat them. But I agree,… Read more »
Tara
5 years 9 days ago
You missed the biggest tip…get the kids in the kitchen!! A kid isn’t likely to eat something they’ve never seen before but if they help buy it and prepare it, it’s a huge advantage! We’ve got our 5 kids helping make meals in our house. I was primal first (because of stomach issues) and I recruited my husband soon after. We started transitioning the kids by doing primal suppers and by the time school started up again, they were completely primal. My way of helping the kids, post transition, is to make things they like…primal’ed up. I make coconut flour… Read more »
Jane
Jane
5 years 9 days ago

Totally agree with this. Kids that help make something are more likely to help eat it, too. Compliment them on their culinary skills. 🙂

hbs
hbs
5 years 9 days ago

My family is primal at home, and I make my own baby food for my daughter, which I bring to her day care everyday. The only issue is, when she is at her day care, they insist that I am doing something wrong sticking with primal foods and instead give her graham crackers and puffs. Any ideas on how to combat non primal care givers?

Nannsi
Nannsi
5 years 9 days ago
Sometimes I think we say too much when we trumpet the benefits of a “diet.” People think we’re crackpots, just another pair of diet faddists, no real reason to be different and no scientific reason to buck conventional wisdom. Pity the poor suffering baby! Try the diabetes tack. (Fat baby tack won’t work…everybody LOVES them.) Find the supervisor. Just say, “Look. We’re trying to avoid having to deal with diabetes with this child. (Completely true.) These foods are bad for her, even a little bit. (True.) She can’t have them. Period. (The 80/20 rule could be invoked here by those… Read more »
Tara
5 years 9 days ago

I might be a little hardcore in this department but I would simply say “I’m paying you…feed my child what I’ve sent.”.

Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple

My dcp asked me to bring formula “just in case”. I said “nope, I’ll make sure you have plenty of breastmilk in the freezer, but thanks for your concern!”

Angie
5 years 9 days ago
I feel fortunate. Very fortunate… In May, after researching and reading about the paleo lifestyle for almost a year, I decided it was time to put all my newly gained knowledge into practice. When I shared with my spouse that I would be challenging myself to 30 days free from wheat, sugar, and all the other paleo no-no’s, my 8 year old daughter overheard our conversation and said, “Heah mom, I’ll do it with you!” What? My daughter, who LOVES her occasional (I’ve always been anti-processed sugar and anti-HFCS) sugary treats more than anything else in the world? I laughed… Read more »
Josh Frey
5 years 9 days ago

That’s awesome.

It’s funny how kids will resist things like the plague, but occasionally just decide they want to do something you thought you’d never get them to do.

Josh

Trelow
Trelow
5 years 9 days ago

If they don’t like what I’m eating they do without. They gorge on crap over at their mom’s house enough.

Cin
Cin
5 years 9 days ago

MARK, question — what do I send in my kid’s lunch boxes???? The school has a nut-free policy, and my kids hate salad and soup (I have no idea how this happened, hubby and I love both!!)

Michelle
Michelle
5 years 9 days ago

My stepkids eat:
-applesauce (no sugar added)
-some sort of lunch meat (salami, roasted turkey breast, beef jerky, etc; all good quality)
-cheese strings
-carrot sticks
-apples, bananas, strawberries, oranges
-yogourt (I’m okay with eating flavored as long as it’s full-fat)
-hard-boiled eggs
-black olives
-little bit of chocolate as a treat

Honeybuns
Honeybuns
5 years 8 days ago

Try using plain yogurt as a base and adding to it. I have done the following to great success.

yogurt, applesauce, cinnamon with a touch of maple syrup.
yogurt, blackberry jam, diced peaches
yogurt, huckleberry jelly, basil

I used low sugar jam and jelly. Still less sugar than the typical grocery store yogurt. My cousin’s picky 5 year old scarfed them down!
There are so many different combinations you can come up with

Shannon
Shannon
5 years 9 days ago

Sunbutter! Call the school and ask first, and I always send a note when I pack it, since it looks like peanut butter. I also do lunchmeat rollups with veggies, cream cheese, mustards, you name it. You can even buy a compartment tupperware container and do a home-made “Lunchable.” My son loves them.

DesertTomte
DesertTomte
5 years 9 days ago

I second the lunch meat rollups. the kids gobble them down seemingly without missing the bread: Lettuce, turkey, ham, cheese, avocado, olive tapenade. paired with MDA’s awesome almond crackers http://www.marksdailyapple.com/top-10-ways-to-go-nuts/ and a cucumber.
also tuna with almond crackers.

Tara
5 years 9 days ago

Our nut-free lunches are leftovers from the night before, a piece of fruit, a vegetable, yogourt (plain and then we add our own pureed fruit), and a coconut flour muffin. The line at Tropical Traditions is a dedicated one so it’s nut-free. (I’ve asked)

Missy
Missy
5 years 8 days ago

I have no kids but have a similar question. My boyfriend is pretty much on board with the diet, but we have problems planning for a picnic at a park with friends. He misses sandwiches. Does anyone have a good sandwich substitute (occassional treat or staple) that would hold up for a picnic or lunchbox?

NicholeK
5 years 8 days ago

The crepes recipe, which is in second Primal Blueprint cookbook, is amazing. They’re perfect for sandwiches, and my husband (who’s not fully on board either and misses sandwiches) loves them. They’re super easy to make, so you can just whip up a big batch for the week for lunches.

Missy
Missy
5 years 8 days ago

Thanks NicholeK! I had seen the crepes recipe, but have never made them and never thought of using them that way. I guess I have something new to try soon! (Mini challenge to complete?)

Licia
Licia
5 years 9 days ago
My husband and I have been fully Primal since Jan 1 of this year, and eased the kids (13 and 7) into it slowly over the remainder of the school year – only made them eat the same dinner as we had, but treated them to mac & cheese once a week. When school let out for the summer, we told them they’d have to eat everything primally from then on. The two hardest parts of the transition have been going to friend’s houses and the constant complaints about not having anything but meat and veggies for dinner. They miss… Read more »
Dave Pryor
Dave Pryor
5 years 9 days ago
My strategy with the kids, and wife, has been keep the apparent changes minimal. We pack my 11-year-old twins lunch every day. Usually meat (good quality deli meat rolls, chicken salad, or grass-fed meatballs), veggies, and some fruit. Really all the foods they used to eat in sandsiches, just no bread. They remark that their friends have sandwiches, a granola bar, and dessert – “everything is so bready.” one told me just this week. They really like their paleo lunches even if they do stand out to the other kids as freakishly healthy! Dinners, too, are mostly adaptations of our… Read more »
PrimalGrandma
PrimalGrandma
5 years 9 days ago

Re; your breakfast dilemma — My 4 year old granddaughter loves pancakes, so I make the coconut flour pancakes (I add blueberries) from cheeseslave.com. They are just a tad more dense than regular pancakes, but if you don’t tell anyone they are made with coconut flour, nobody seems to know the difference especially with butter on them.

Dave Pryor
Dave Pryor
5 years 9 days ago

Oh, I reached what I think is an important milestone. My wife is a little slower than I to commit to Paleo / Primal, and has insisted on keeping bread in the house. We threw away a moldy half-loaf recently, and have not bought another one! Yay, the tide is turning…….

MIDI GRRL
MIDI GRRL
5 years 9 days ago

Great Tips! I especially like eat at different times from your kids. I find that taking it one meal at a time, if I can get two of three meals a day primal then I have accomplished a lot. as far as snacks go, my daughter asked for popcorn and I gave her nuts instead. my son asked for cereal and i gave him his favorite veggies. take the plunge, have them try different things than you would “expect” them to like. my kids love kale and even radicchio artichokes and all kinds of grown up food.

Donna
Donna
5 years 8 days ago
Fantastic post…yet I must say I find the “eating at different times” tip a bit bothersome. Here in France, mealtimes are a near-sacred connecting, social “moment” that can last up to one hour (or longer)..A better solution, for me, would be to focus on what you can share and perhaps provide a non-primal starch until they can “convert” on their own terms..I find that when the atmosphere is relaxed..non-charged with what is “right or wrong” the family tends to swing in the same, primal direction. Often, mealtimes are the only time older teens with their myriad activities can get together… Read more »
Susan M.
Susan M.
5 years 9 days ago
I had read somewhere that when it’s time to switch your child to table food to start with veggies instead of fruit and it will get them used to eating veggies and not develop the fruit “sweet tooth” as fast. That’s what I did. I also didn’t follow any of the other rules about how to introduce foods to my baby. I just gave him a wide variety of veggies and meats and then later introduced fruits. He’s almost 4 now and he loves all veggies except okra and beets. Waitresses in restaurants are amazed when he eats a plate… Read more »
Jenn
Jenn
4 years 6 months ago

Great habits your little man has picked up! My son is difficult to say the least, but my daughter who is just turning two hasn’t shunned too many foods yet. I love that your son prefers your menu over anyone else’s.

DesertTomte
DesertTomte
5 years 9 days ago
We’re taking it pretty slowly. Starting with no longer serving carbs with diner, restricting juice and soda, and having better snacks. The kids both love seaweed snacks so that’s good. For the most part it hasn’t been an issue. We all enjoy a couple of squares of 85% cacao chocolate for desert and everyone is satisfied. The real challenge is going to be getting my daughter, who inherited my stubborness and defensiveness as well as my propensity to being heavy. I can’t force her to do anything so I’m just trying to teach by example. Hopefully as I lose more… Read more »
Shannon
Shannon
5 years 9 days ago
Mark and the comments are spot-on with so much of this. Two things that weren’t mentioned that helped us: If your kids are pretty young, my oldest is six, I’d gradually make changes and not really comment on it. Offer certain things for snacks and meals, and they likely won’t even know what they’re missing. “Want meatballs for lunch or lunchmeat roll-ups? What do you want for a side? A banana or grapes or carrots?” I’d say 7 out of 10 times grains never even come up. When they do, I don’t stress too much. Also, when you transition yourself,… Read more »
LisaS
LisaS
5 years 9 days ago

When my kids were very little I would make them go to bed without brushing their teeth whenever we had an especially difficult evening. It happened rarely enough their teeth weren’t harmed in the process but once they were older I never had a problem getting them to brush their teeth. They’re 18 and 20 now and neither one has a cavity. At least half of parenting is in the presentation. =)

Natalie
5 years 9 days ago
I’m right in the middle of this struggle at the moment. Blogging about my successes and failures seems to help keep me sane as well as put me in touch with other like-minded parents who are trying to make the switch to Paleo. I find that my kids will eat some things one day and then the next will turn their nose up at them. We have had successes with gluten free/casein free ‘muesli’ bars whenever the kids get too restless. We’ve played games of being monsters and eating the forests, putting sultanas on our boiled eggs to make faces,… Read more »
trackback
5 years 9 days ago

[…] WOD parents guide to going primal Posted in […]

Joanne - The Real Food Mama
5 years 9 days ago

Our kids made the change to Primal a ton easier than we ever thought they would!! Its been great!!

The Paleo Parents have a great website for kid friendly Primal/Paleo living!!

Christie
Christie
5 years 9 days ago
Great post. I’m slowly trying to transition myself and my 20-month-old to primal eating (Project Hubby is on hold – he refuses to give up his Coke). My biggest problem is snack foods, especially when we’re out and about. He’s too little for nuts, and doesn’t like crunchy vegetables (he’s only just getting the teeth to be able to deal with them) or hard-boiled eggs. I feed him a lot of fruit, but I’m afraid I also rely on carby foods (sandwiches, fruit bars, even donuts) to satisfy him when we’re on-the-go. Any suggestions in this regard would be very… Read more »
Erin
Erin
5 years 9 days ago

I made my own “infant cereal”. Mashed up sweet potato mixed with any veggie is really yummy. I added bone broth or sauerkraut juice to thin it out. If they need more sweetness at first, you can add fruit purees!

thinkingmom
thinkingmom
5 years 8 days ago

Try giving him avocado mashed up with cottage cheese or hard boiled eggs (I know he doesn’t like them by themselves but he might eat it if the smell is camoflaged a litte). My kids loved it (and so did my husband!. Also, don’t forget a small amount of seasonings to make things more interesting, just remember little tastebuds are more sensitive than ours are. Mashed pumpkin with a little pumpkin pie spice, coconut oil and a little applesauce or other puree to sweeten it up a little might be a tasty option.

Shannon
Shannon
5 years 8 days ago
I loved the pouch baby food for that age–you take the cap off and just give it to them. I even gave my younger son them in the car on long car rides since they were pretty mess-free. I use them for myself, too. 🙂 If you do cheese, that’s an easy one, too. You can either put it in a little lunchbox (I loved the little breastmilk storage coolers I got from the hospital,)or put it in the freezer for a bit before you leave so it stays cold until you eat it. The same works for little bites… Read more »
Lauren
Lauren
5 years 9 days ago
I think the approach certainly depends on the kids’ personalities and developmental levels. At our house, we did an “add first, subtract later” approach. That is, we figured out some primal meals and snacks that our daughter enjoys and served them for dinner and had them available for snacks, while still allowing her to bake cookies (she is 12 and bakes her own cookies if she wants a sweet treat!), drink hot cocoa, and have other non-primal snacks or her favorite meals for lunch when everyone was eating different things, etc. For meals, a primal meal for everyone (meat/veggies/salad) plus… Read more »
Shannon
Shannon
5 years 8 days ago

Can she do sunflower seeds? Mark has a great recipe for pancakes with bananas, eggs and almond butter, and I bet you could sub sunbutter for the almond butter. They’re really good!

APRYL
5 years 9 days ago
I been mostly primal since spring, when my teen and I did a 30 day gluten free month. I loved the changes I felt, but he really didn’t like it (he’s a carbaholic). Since learning more, and cutting more grains from my diet, I’ve decided to bring the kids in. I’ve been making mostly all primal dinners over the summer, but with more cheating (mac and cheese type) stuff that they wanted. So teen and I decided to let what we have run out, and that’s it. I explained the science (he’s going to read Mark’s book soon), he understands,… Read more »
APRYL
5 years 9 days ago

Forgot to mention that my husband isn’t completely on board yet. He’s understanding it makes sense, but not ready to give up soda and oreos, so I’m having to work around his influence a bit

Tam
Tam
5 years 9 days ago
The good news is that you don’t need to keep snacking it up when your kids are finally (at last!) primal. Forget packing snacks for food intake every two hours, now DS can wait until we get home, as he can now go for 4 or 5 hours between meals without whining for food. Primal snacks are harder, but so less needed. And it’s fantastic to go out with DS and play without being weighed down with a bag full of snacks to carry around, and less ‘getting ready’ time, cause I don’t need to bother with food, he just… Read more »
PrimalPotter
PrimalPotter
5 years 9 days ago
My mom had a very sensible (I think) approach to feeding us. Eliminating those things we simply couldn’t gag down…I still I can’t eat liver…she had just two rules about food. Well three. 1. If you’ve never had it before, you must try one bite before declaring, “I don’t like that.” 2. If you don’t like what we’re having for dinner tonight, you don’t have to eat it. But… 3. …you don’t get anything else. You eat what’s put before you, or you don’t eat anything at all. There was no yelling, no threatening, no “Children are starving in…”. I’ve… Read more »
Tara
5 years 8 days ago

This is the same type of approach we take with our kids. At some point, they’ve all ‘hated’ the foods they love today. If someone seriously dislikes one food, I try different methods of preparing it to see if they will eat it. If that’s still no-go, we let them swap out for another healthy item (which is easy to do when you’re having 2-3 types of veggies).

jumbe
jumbe
5 years 9 days ago

I found setting their plate with one known “liked food” heads off complaints. The rule is if you want seconds of anything you have to have eaten your firsts. So breakfast when we started was frozen blueberries (liked) sausage and eggs (not so much) now if I serve sausage and eggs they are happy, time to add another (not so much) until they get used to it.

Tara
5 years 8 days ago

Yes, this approach is great here too! We have one that won’t eat eggs any way except hard boiled. We’ve negotiated a hard boiled egg if he eats 1 egg the way we’re serving.

Kristin Smith
5 years 9 days ago
I have been primal since January of this year, and my husband is on board, although with his tall and lean build he can handle more carbs than I can. I have been trying to transition my boys to paleo, but it is a challenge. My biggest problem areas are breakfast, lunch and snacks. We usually eat meat and veggies for dinner, and they are fine with that. They are all school age, so they need a snack that does not need to be refrigerated. What is recommended other than fruit? For lunch – i love the ideas posted in… Read more »
Alison Golden
5 years 8 days ago
I use a Thermos brand thermos. If food is hot, I fill it with boiling water, let it stand for a few minutes, empty and dry it and put the hot food in. If it will be a cold food, I put the thermos in the fridge overnight. I will also put an icepack in the lunch bag which is also insulated. They eat meatballs, chicken nuggets (homemade,) soup, leftovers, meat sauce and veggies, almond flour muffins, hard boiled eggs, etc. Breakfast is usually eggs, bacon, yogurt, coconut pancakes, nut butter, the aforementioned muffins. I second what a commenter said… Read more »
Happycyclegirl
Happycyclegirl
5 years 7 days ago
My daughter just started kindergarten this week. They have 2 “nutrition breaks” which poses a bit of a problem in terms of packing food. They have great insulated lunch bags here in Ontario, Canada which are separated in the middle to provide space for both breaks. Works well! We also have a nut-free, peanut-free school so no almond-flour muffins. The homemade larabars are great. I will try next time with sunflower seeds instead of walnuts and almonds. Thanks for the tip! She also gets her orange yogurt everyday. It’s plain yogurt to which I add her multivitamin. She loves it!… Read more »
Shannon
Shannon
5 years 8 days ago
Seeds, if the snacks need to be nut-free, jerky, I also have a couple of the better brands of fruit snack type-stuff to help with the everyone else has it complaints. (Annie’s bunnies, Archer Farm’s brand from Target. Read the labels to make sure, but they’re usually dye and sugar-free.) You can make your own Larabar type snack with seeds instead of the nuts. (I’d include a note telling the teacher what is in it, and also for sunbutter with veggies.)I also put veggies, organic yogurt tubes or cheese in the freezer overnight to keep them cold for the am… Read more »
JenCat
JenCat
5 years 8 days ago

My daughter has a Planet Lunch Box. It’s metal and sort of flat, like a laptop. It has an insulated carrying case. I got little plastic ice cubes to tuck in the corners. Also, there are two small containers that fit inside. One I use for dips. I put it in the freezer for ten minutes. If I use the other for something warm, I fill it with boiling water for a few minutes; it not going to keep something hot, but it won’t be cold, either.

Chris
Chris
5 years 9 days ago

My kids will eat their healthy primal dinner if I tell them they can have “dessert” if they eat an acceptable amount of their dinner. They help make it by slicing the bananas and putting them in the freezer. Once frozen, drop them in the food proceesor for 5 minutes or so and the frozen bananas turns into soft serve ice cream. we sometimes add bluberries or peaches to vary the taste. Then we top it with walnuts. They are all very lean active boys (3, 6, 7) and they can handle the extra carbs from the bananas.

Barb Crocker
Barb Crocker
5 years 8 days ago
My son is currently 5 years old and, so far, eats many veggies with ease. I partially attribute this to having a vegetable and herb garden. When he was younger, I purposely put items in the garden that were toddler-sized like cherry tomatoes and alpine strawberries. He enjoyed picking them and eating them. Later, I would notice him picking and eating spinach, mint, basil, and rosemary. The day I found myself smiling to myself was when he walked up to me with arugula on his breath! Arugula, imagine! When I’m making a salad for dinner, I often give him a… Read more »
Ann
Ann
5 years 8 days ago

I made primal pizza (with a cauliflour crust) tonight for dinner and my kids gobbled in down 🙂

Bevie
Bevie
5 years 8 days ago

When we transitioned I did not tell my daughter that she would have to do without certain foods, and I just served dinner and everyone ate what I served as usual. The few times she asked if she could have pizza or some other goodie I consider unwise, I just said “not tonight” and served what I had planned. Kids make a big deal out of things they are told they are not allowed to have, but if you let it fall by the wayside without comment they are less likely to comment on it also.

Michelle
Michelle
5 years 8 days ago
My kids are little (6 and 7). About a year ago I started taking away snacks that I realized were full of crap. I kept others and have slowly pulled them without saying a word. They didn’t really notice. On the rare occasion they come to the grocery with me they say, “hey we never buy these anymore” and I just explain why. Same goes for dinner. I make pb stuff for my husband and I and add some grains to theirs while increasing the veggies. One day the grains will disappear and they won’t know it happened. Slow and… Read more »
JaneR
JaneR
5 years 8 days ago
Great post Mark, have been giving this a lot of thought lately. I’ve been primal for about 6 weeks now and have been giving a lot of thought to my 3yo’s diet and how to get him paleo. It is a bit difficult as he is in care 2 days/wk (they do the cooking and it is very good quality just too much wheat/grain and occ. sweet snacks for mine)but I figure if I can give him primal all the other days it is at least a good start. Funnily enough, he has shown from a young age that he… Read more »
Man Bicep
5 years 8 days ago

Sometimes it can be just as hard to get your parents to accept your diet. My mom is definitely a believer in the low-fat diet and no matter what materials I show her, she can’t be convinced that I’m not killing myself with all the fat. So when I visit her, I either have to make my own food, pick places that I can eat Primal or just figure the meal with her will fit under the 80/20 rule.

Derek
Derek
5 years 8 days ago

I have a four month old child, so he is being raised in a “primal” house. I feel lucky that I don’t need to try to change his diet if he were say, 14 years old. Kudos to those families that are successful in changing an entire family to a healthier lifestyle.

Mie
Mie
5 years 8 days ago
My husband and I are both Paleo. My husband has a son from a previous relationship, whom we share 50/50 with his mom. We have great difficulty getting him used to eating Paleo. I understand it must be very difficult for him to adjust, since every other week he eats completely different (sweets, cereal, pasta, bread ect.) when he is at his moms place. He is 7 and has a hard time understanding why we eat so differently from his mom, since she believes what they eat at her place is healthy. Does anyone have experience with children you share… Read more »
Jenn
Jenn
5 years 8 days ago

Peggy did a blog post about this sort of thing recently that you might want to check out.

http://theprimalparent.com/2011/09/09/shared-custody-family-battles/

Adeline
Adeline
5 years 8 days ago
I have transitionned from a low fat vegetarian diet to a hight fat primal diet, what a shift !! my kids, especially my son (10) is so happy to have meat in the house, and butter ! he has switched himself from his classic breakfast (milk, bread and nutella) to bacon and eggs when he have seen me eaten those. My son has never liked veggies, but now that i cook them with bacon or butter, he loves them !! my daughter would eat whatever i propose so it ‘s easy with her. they still have some chocolate or crackers… Read more »
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