Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
21 Sep

How to Go Primal: For Parents

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!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. 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 mini-sized plate of whatever I’m putting in the salad. Spinach, carrots, nuts and red bell peppers are all things he will snack on if he gets hungry before dinner is ready.

    Barb Crocker wrote on September 21st, 2011
  2. I made primal pizza (with a cauliflour crust) tonight for dinner and my kids gobbled in down :)

    Ann wrote on September 21st, 2011
  3. 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.

    Bevie wrote on September 21st, 2011
  4. 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 steady. Increase the good, decrease the not so good and one day it will be all good.

    Michelle wrote on September 21st, 2011
  5. 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 likes his fats and proteins above other food groups (he doesn’t have sugar from me either), the first time I took him out for coffee and fruit toast about 18mo ago, he ate the two large slices of butter like cheese and has relished eating butter ever since. I now give him a slice of pastured butter (unsalted) for breakfast each morning along with his eggs and bacon. It seems to really pique his appetite.
    I AM having trouble getting veg into him. The only green thing he eats is avocado and we go through about 1 per day (just as well they are only $1 each!).
    Thankyou to all the comments with snack suggestions – i will definately pursue them in the intrests of my primal diet and my son’s.

    JaneR wrote on September 21st, 2011
  6. 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.

    Man Bicep wrote on September 22nd, 2011
  7. 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.

    Derek wrote on September 22nd, 2011
  8. 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 custody over and getting them adjusted to Paleo/Primal?

    Mie wrote on September 22nd, 2011
  9. 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 occasionnaly, but i try to keep primal snack on hands so they have the choice.
    my son has noticed by himself that he was not hungry anymore in the morning as he used to be with his former breackfast.

    Adeline wrote on September 22nd, 2011
  10. I have recently gone mostly primal in a slow process that took several months. I am now in the process of converting my three daughters, 12 year old twins and a 9 year old. I explained to the twins that this will help with their constant tummy aches, clear up their skin, and will hopefully eliminate the need for kidney stone medication that one of them is taking (indefinitely according to her doc). I told my nine year old that we needed to do this to help get her sister healthy. My strategy is to go one meal per week. This week is breakfast without grains or sugar. Next week will be lunch, which I think will be the hardest. Then afternoon snacks, then dinner. So far so good but I think the worst is yet to come!

    LP wrote on September 22nd, 2011
  11. I find snacks to not be a problem, but three healthy, compliant meals a day was doing me in. To address this, I take 6 hours on the weekend (try to get the kids out of the house with dad or playdates etc.) and crank out some staples like meatballs (rotate kinds of ground meat), salmon or other fish cakes, almond four pancakes (Elana’s pantry recipe), chicken tenders (again, Elana’s recipe), egg “cupcakes” (Everday Paleo recipe), homemade mayo, and hard boil eggs, or deviled eggs. I quadruple most recipes and keep a bunch in fridge and freeze what can be frozen. Huge, huge time savings and ease in the end. (And no whining, hungrily-waiting-for-food kids!)

    bluewaters wrote on September 22nd, 2011
  12. I remember when I was a child in the 70s my Mom transitioned us from white Rainbow bread to wheat bread and we kicked and screamed in resistance!:) She was a great influence in my interest in healthy eating.
    I know she would have loved to try this Primal way of eating. And I know it would have helped her with her health issues later in life. I wish we had known about it 10-20 years ago

    Gayle wrote on September 22nd, 2011
  13. Here are a few tips the have helped me with my 6 year old and 3 year old:

    1. I transitioned myself first – took about a year before I worked on them. That way I had time to learn, to test out recipes, to feel better (recovered from MS).

    2. I transitioned them in phases. First we changed dinner, then lunch, then snack, then breakfast. Spent a week or two on each meal transition to get them used to it before we moved on.

    3. A lot of our dinners are spicy – too spicy for my kiddoes. It’s easy to make them some hamburger patties out of the ground beef I am using for our more flavorful main dish. I can pick veggies out from our meal, or just serve them some fresh raw veggies from teh crisper. One extra pan to wash, but other than that it doesn’t cause me extra time. I also always have hamburger patties in the fridge already made, so I can just reheat one for them if we’re having spicy foods.

    4. Definitely echo what others have said that you can use coconut breads etc to transition. I used that for a while until my kids realized they were actually happier with some turkey and bacon or cheese for lunch than they were with their coconut bread nut butter and jelly sandwiches.

    5. I figure my growing, highly active kids are like athletes…they need more carb than I do. So I make sure they get some in the form of sweet potato and rice. I do make them banana muffins made from rice flour with very litte sugar, and I let them have rice based cerealat breakfast a few times a week after they eat their protein and fat.

    5. Pumpkin Coconut Flour pancakes save the day for me at breakfast time! Here is a link to the recipe, which I adapted from Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations (he’s got great recipes). http://www.fit4godonline.com/www.fit4godonline.com/recipes/pumpkincoconutpancakes

    6. Remember the 80/20 rule!

    7. Talk abotu real food vs fake food. Make nasty faces at the Cocoa Puffs in the story, act all goofy and say “Yuck, blech, that is NOT food! I wouldn’t eat that!”

    7. I put a photo of each of my kids on the wall with poster putty. Underneath in one column they had a card for each of their daily food group requirements: so there were 5 protein cards, 4 vegetable cards, 2 fruit cards, and 7 fat cards. I also allowed (at first) one grain card. I put photos on each card to show examples of what constituted a fat or a protien etc. Whenever they ate one of those foods, they moved a card over into another column. That way by dinner time, they could see how many servings of each food they needed. They were excited abotu this and loved moving their cards around and it motivated them to eat more of the thing I wanted them to eat (protein, fat, veg) and less of other things (fruit, grain). I instituted it for about 2 weeks when I was transitioning them, then they got bored wiht it. I bring it back every now and then to make sure we stay on track and make sure they stay cognizant of their food choices.

    Kathy wrote on September 22nd, 2011
  14. I too struggle with lunches for my kids. We are a nut free/fish free school. I always have fruit and veggies cut and washed in the fridge for a quick snack. As well as hard boiled eggs in the fridge. Does anyone have a recipe for muffins or power bars that would satisfy the “bread” cravings the kids have?

    Melanie wrote on September 22nd, 2011
    • Both Everyday Paleo and Wellness Mama have recipes for homemade Larabars.

      Kathy wrote on September 22nd, 2011
      • Google paleo muffins and you’ll find a lot of recipes. This is my favorite so far:

        http://www.multiplydelicious.com/thefood/2011/08/gluten-free-carrot-muffins/

        Ditto on the larabars.

        When my kids transitioned to paleo school lunches I found the ‘breadiness’ of the muffins and a sweet treat like Grok rocks from the PB cookbook to be very helpful. But what was essential was a thermos.

        My kids are sooooo glad to be rid of sandwiches and a thermos either warmed with hot water or cooled in the fridge before putting in the food and sent in an insulated bag means you can give them whatever you like including leftovers – soup, meatballs, meat sauce, chicken salad etc, etc.

        Alison Golden wrote on September 22nd, 2011
  15. The transition was pretty easy for us… and they were VERY picky… They ate NO meat or veggies before primal (they were 5 and 3)…. We cut grains cold turkey… They fussed and didn’t really eat for 3 days… Now… they eat everything…. It’s made meal times SO much easier!

    Nicole wrote on September 22nd, 2011
  16. Breakfast cereal used to be one of my major addictions. I’d have several giant bowls of it every day. So here’s a more primal version:
    Take on of those manual choppers and chop us some almonds. Not too small… Granola sized.
    Get some milk. I only do this when I can get raw goat milk (I almost always have some). I don’t recommend store bought milk… ever. Nasty stuff.
    Pour a half a cup of the almonds in a bowl and cover with milk. drizzle a small amount of raw unfiltered honey over it. Just a little, less than a teaspoon. Don’t go “nuts” with the honey. Sprinkle with some cinnamon.
    Tastes just like a breakfast cereal!
    I only do this rarely as a treat. It’s quite addictive.
    I’m fortunate that my 2 kids were never sweet eaters. They’d go trick or treating and bring back the booty, and most of it would sit and still be in the pantry next Halloween.

    Dave, RN wrote on September 22nd, 2011
  17. A few things I think kids would generally like a lot are melted cheese on something (such as omelettes or maybe primal bread – I haven’t tried that yet but I’m sure it would be good), fruit (grapes for one, berries as well, and I think dried dates are delicious – maybe you could trick your kids into believing they’re candy), vegetables and dip, bacon of course, and maybe trail mix. As a treat yogurt with melted/shredded dark chocolate and maybe a bit of raw honey might appease their sweet teeth. My mom gave me orange pekoe tea to try when I was young and I thought it tasted disgusting (though in the last four years or so I can’t drink enough) and I’m not sure how others would react to it but I think herbal teas, especially mixtures, would probably be a good substitute for juice. I have some iced tea in my backpack beside me now that contains four cranberry bags and some bags of black tea and chamomile – it’s delicious. Impossible to sip. I can only chug it.
    That’s all speaking from personal experience and preferences.
    Of course this one’s a no-brainer but as a reminder it’s also a good idea to try to get your kids as active as possible. I think gymnastics, martial arts, sports, nature excursions, trips to the park, calisthenics, bike rides, rollerblading, and skating are some good activities for kids. I’ve heard and read that it’s unhealthy for kids/teens to regularly do heavy lifting because it causes their bones to become unnaturally dense and stop growing properly. I wonder how much this actually happens because I’m sure Grok had his kids collecting firewood and doing lots of other hard work but I’m not about to dispute science, at least on this matter.
    As an aside I used to love trail mix (still do) and one time when my brother left a bowl of it sitting on the coffee table one of the cats started eating it. That cat was an interesting creature. His brother also went to eat a piece of fried potato that I accidentally dropped and when I tried to take it from him he growled at me so I let him eat it.
    I wish I could get my parents to turn primal. They like a lot of primal foods but they cling to conventional wisdom. My mom is very adamant about doing what is “normal” and fitting in with “society.” She’s seen me get in better shape and look generally healthier (less like a junkie.. I looked pretty messed up before, still recovering since I’m going through detox) by becoming primal and I’ve told her about intermittent fasting and demonstrated that I can go a while without food and still function, whereas before I didn’t feel comfortable unless I grazed practically all day. Then there’s my dad, who usually backs my mom up no matter what.
    I see them get so angry and upset for no reason at all and I’m sure that they could be more level-headed if they just corrected their diets and maybe took some vitamins and other natural supplements or extracts. My dad has recently started exercising more often and my brother is encouraging him to take up weight lifting so that’s good.
    I’ve tried to educate my mom on the benefits of ginseng and bee pollen and she still calls it “shit” and claims that it’s unhealthy – without doing any research into it at all.. well, it’s better than the junk food aisle (sort of) that is my parents’ food stash. She scoffed when I told her I ran out of money because I bought expensive healthy stuff like those two things and a litre bottle of olive oil. She brought me some groceries the other day and there were a few good primal/primalish foods in the bag (though laced with preservatives – apparently I’m paranoid for wanting to eat natural and she seems to be on a mission to make me “normal” by making junk my only option for sustenance) but also an empty-calorie loaf of bread and some menacing-looking wafers that I don’t think I’ll even eat if I run out of everything else.. there’s no nutrition so there’s no point. I’d just be leaching nutrients from my system. If we’re going to make the best changes we can then we have to be at the top of our games. If that’s a possibility then there’s really no excuse to do otherwise.
    I’ve come to see that people who eat lots of non-primal foods, sugar, artificial ingredients etc. seem to be a little crazy. My friend for example does way too much smoking, drugging and drinking and basically lives off milk for the most part. I’m sorry to say but he’s changed for the worse in the two years or so that we had little contact because of our personal circumstances. He used to be generally cheerful or at least level-headed and reasonable but now regularly has unpredictable mood swings and often contradicts himself or says things that don’t make sense. He even quit his job when apparently it was boring but going well for him.
    I’m not a very emotional person but that saddens me.
    The car isn’t going to run efficiently when it’s getting the wrong type of fuel or tainted fuel.
    If I run out of food again I’ll do what I did last time – eat a whole bunch of wild apples and go to the hospital for some sandwiches – at least they use bread that I’m pretty sure is “enriched.”

    Animanarchy wrote on September 22nd, 2011
    • P.S. My friend is also on an antidepressant (an SSRI) and says he’s physically addicted to them and I think that’s also part of the cause for his changes in behaviour.
      My mom takes an SSRI too and that might explain some of the things she does and says.. for example she claims that she’s really worried about me because I’m homeless and going through a bit of a struggle to get my life together properly and eat well and that she wants to help me.. yet she kicked me out because my “attitude sucks” and I “need help” and won’t let me live at home again, which would be all I need to accomplish some good changes. A good word for that type of thought, in my opinion, is neurosis.

      Animanarchy wrote on September 22nd, 2011
    • I thought food was in short supply but today someone gave me enough food to help with a couple meals and then I decided to try to catch crayfish from where I saw a bunch of babies a few weeks ago and while catching some (I got one good one and a few little ones that add up to another good one) I saw lots of clams so I took a bunch of those as well. It looks like I’ll be able to eat clams pretty much any time.. I don’t know if they hibernate under the mud in the winter or something.

      Animanarchy wrote on September 22nd, 2011
  18. I wanted to mention one breakfast item we just added which the kids (and I) love–

    banana bread eggs.

    I take 6 eggs, whisk them. Mash up 2 very ripe bananas and add them to the egg. I throw in a dash of nutmeg, a tsp or so of vanilla extract and a tablespoon of cinnamon (we like a lot). I put a small bit of whipping cream–around 2 tablespoons and mix everything together.

    I melt butter in a pan and scramble the egg mixture. Tastes exactly like banana bread but without the flour. Yummy!

    We also eat “toppings-only pizza”. I put the cheese on the bottom of a parchment paper-lined pan. Put sauce on top of the cheese and the other toppings on top of the sauce. I bake as usual.

    Again, the kids just love it. Plus, as it is so dense, they eat smaller portions of it.

    Happycyclegirl wrote on September 23rd, 2011
  19. My son, who is 13, is a competitive tennis player and all-around athlete. It helped when there was a lot of press about Novak Djokovic going gluten-free and how the dietary change really helped him break through to become No. 1. The photos of Mark, in all his buff glory, are a motivator too, and we recently found out that a chiropractor we see, who is a triathlete, also eats paleo, and he looks amazing. Having these examples of athletes who are maximizing their potential through diet has helped quell his doubts that this is a weird tangent of mine. Oh, and the fact that his bronchial asthma has all but disappeared hasn’t hurt either!

    Penny wrote on September 23rd, 2011
  20. I was just thinking the other day how glad I was to have found the PB before having kids. This amazing community will be such a huge benefit when we finally get to take that plunge.

    Until then I just have to deal with overcoming my CW syndrome… +10 Internets to whoever can guess what that is, haha!

    Willliam L wrote on September 23rd, 2011
  21. My kids (5 and 2) have not had that hard of a time adjusting to primal eating. I don’t keep non-primal food in the house and when we go out (which isn’t very often) they are allowed to eat non-primal foods. For meals, the kids are expected to eat what I make – and it is always primal. I will often make a small serving of potatoes or rice to go with the meal for DH and the kids and just skip those – the kids both prefer sweet potatoes over white potatoes though.

    I keep primal *treats* in the house. There are usually primal chocolate ship cookies in the freezer and some sort of muffins made with almond butter/meal. I also keep popsicles in the freezer (mix a can of coconut milk with fruit or some melted chocolate chips and blend well then pour in popsicle molds – quick and easy and the kids love them). I generally have a bar of 85% chocolate in the pantry and they get a piece from time to time (if my oldest comes home from school or a b’day party with candy I’ll usually trade her a piece of dark chocolate for the junk she has). They like apples or veggie sticks dipped in almond butter, ants on a log (almond butter on a celery stick topped with dried cranberries). We do pancakes for b’fast frequently (spoonful of almond butter, 1 egg and a ripe banana) but they are sweet enough to eat without syrup so that is a bonus. We do nuts, fruit or raw veggies for on the go snacking. Another thing that gets them eating is adding diced or dried fruit and toasted nuts to salads. A green salad is a much bigger hit when it has strawberries, pieces of peach, nectarine, or apple, or dried cranberries and some toasted pecans or walnuts. My oldest goes nuts for salmon salad when I add pieces of apple, dried cranberries and pecans to it and serve it stuffed in bell peppers.

    My biggest piece of advice with younger children is to not have non-primal foods in the house and have plenty of primal *treats* on hand so that they can have something special once in a while.

    Heather wrote on September 24th, 2011
  22. Oh – I just thought of another *treat* that they get daily – fish oil! I buy Barleans for kids and it tastes like candy. They think it’s a treat/dessert and are always excited when it is fish oil time – lol.

    Heather wrote on September 24th, 2011
  23. USDA vs Primal/Paleo

    I posted recently on my article in the upcoming Paleo Magazine comparing a Paleo (Primal) diet to what the USDA recommends. For those facing issues around wondering what kids might be missing eating “this way,” the article dispels the myths and clarifies the reality. The preview of the article includes two days worth of meal comparisons that anyone can see with or without the magazine in-hand.

    Enjoy! http://balancedbites.com/2011/09/feeding-kids-usda-recommends-vs-paleo-diet.html

    Diane wrote on September 24th, 2011
  24. Anyone else have a little one who seems to prefer certain textures? My 3 year old will eat almost any veggie raw or cooked crispy (like kale chips or brussel sprout chips) but refuses to eator gags when eating cooked veggies. I don’t make a big deal out of it as long as he’s eating veggies and I pull out his portion before cooking ours so it’s not like I make two meals. He does eat fruits like baba as and berries that have a mushy texture – but will try to avoided cooked veggies. I have noticed though that he won’t eat things like soup (not even non-primal), but will eat things like yogurt or applesauce.

    I do continue to offer cooked veggies in addition to the raw and also offer soup when we are having as a portion of our meal. He does eat a great diet of lots of meats, raw veggies, eggs, seeds, nuts, full fat dairy, etc so I don’t stress about what he’s eating….I just find the texture thing to be a little odd. Should I chalk this up to him being 3 and assume he’ll outgrow it?

    Kimberlie wrote on September 24th, 2011
  25. We’re not forcing our 6 year-old son to eat like us and he doesn’t enjoy meat much but here is what I have noticed:

    in the past, he refused any form of meat and we didn’t force him. He ate one teaspoon of vegetables and most of his diet consisted of pasta and rice. He used to eat sweets and lots of cakes.

    Now when we switched, he complained but we didn’t force him to eat like us. Cakes somehow magically disappeared from our cupboards, probably following the sweets… ;)

    today, he eats a little meat, which is fine. He also eats lots of different vegetables and no sweets. We can see a major difference. He is far more active in a positive way than he used to be.

    Whenever we go to friends or family and he is basically fed with sweets and crackers along the other kids, then for a few days he becomes aggressive, hyperactive (active but not in a positive way), he has bouts of fatigue and he is grumpy and usually with a runny nose. I had a doubt the first time, but now we know it happens all the time.

    He is getting used to our new way of eating and finds it fine. So I guess the secret is not to push, just to make the right things available and nothing else and kids will end up eating them… after a while, they get used to it. My husband is currently trying to switch his breakfast to a primal breakfast and we heard no complaints, he enjoys it more than his old breakfast routine.

    Nossar wrote on September 26th, 2011
  26. My kids (3 years old, boys, twins) were breastfed for 14 months and wanted very little other food. They would not eat anything mashed, whatever it was. And I tried mostly home made food, but also some glasses, and they hated both. So I breastfed until they refused the breast at 14 months. Around that time, they started eating from the table (I cut everything to little pieces). One of my sons ate (and eats) mostly meat and fruits, whereas the other son loves veggies. I let them eat what they want. They hardly ever got sweets. They never had cow milk because my husband and I are senstitive to it, and we ate very little grains, hardly any at all. Now we’re 100% Paleo (dairy free), but I think my vegetable-loving-son does not appreciate it very much. I don’t know why, but it seems to me hze doesn’t get what he needs. We’ll see!
    Anyway, its interesting to see that they’re so different.
    PS: I could not see any difference in behaviour between pre-paleo times and afterwards. They still don’t sleep much and are very wild, one of my sons (the veggie-(and carbs-)lover) sometimes in a hyperactive way.

    Christa Meier wrote on September 26th, 2011
  27. So funny. My dad flipped out the other day because my one year old daughter preferred broccoli over sizzlers garlic cheese toast (my wife and I had steak and salad bar). Her favorite food? Butter poached asparagus.
    Don’t do formula (it’s terrible) unless you have to. Skip out on the’ baby cereal’. Give them breast milk and real food and laugh at the parents who claim their child only eats mac and cheese whilst yours munches down on pure primal fare

    Gino wrote on October 9th, 2011
  28. Loving reading these comments. Is there an article about getting your spouse on board? My husband is not totally on board. about 50%….problem is he won’t give up pop, chips or sweets. Yes, he will eat coconut flour based sweets or almond flour. He prefers coconut flour. He will not take buns off when we go out.

    His sugar readings has been very high the last few days. I told him its the pop and the other junk he is holding on to.

    Could you direct me if there are any articles about spouse getting on board 100%?
    Holly

    Holly T wrote on October 16th, 2011
  29. I simply could not depart your website before suggesting that I extremely loved the standard info an individual provide for your visitors? Is going to be again frequently to check up on new posts

    Alcachofa wrote on November 7th, 2011
  30. This is so interesting. I am an extreme newbie, having only discovered this primal concept last week when looking for natural ways to lower cholesterol. I have been easing into primal eating for less than a week, and reading Mark’s book and a few others. I am now SO aware of the junk my 10 y/o daughter is eating. I am appalled at myself for what I have been feeding her. I haven’t said much to her about my “new diet”, but have been thinking about how I will transition her, and focusing on the primal foods she likes, especially eggs and meat. So, she comes home today, fresh from a nutrition lesson at school, grabs the Frosted Flakes box and while dumping some into a bowl, says, “Hey, did you know that this stuff is good for you? It’s grains. and grains are good for you.” Egads.

    jonashville wrote on February 7th, 2012
  31. I am going to prepare some foods that I know my kids like – like primal burgers – to keep in the freezer for instances when they don’t like the dinner I made. Sure, eating burgers every day probably isn’t great for them, but it beats hot dogs.

    Jenn wrote on March 9th, 2012
  32. I just started the primal life this past week with the challenge. I make one dinner for all of us but since breakfast and lunch are after I go to work and while my husband and kids are at school I get what they like. My husband isn’t really into the idea of going primal but he’s supportive of me and will eat whatever I cook for dinner even if it means getting rid of the rice/bread/pasta/etc.

    Crystal wrote on September 16th, 2012
  33. I am the main cook, and make almost all of the meals. Tonight the kids wanted chicken parm, so my husband and I made some noodles for them. For us, we fried (in the chicken fat) some lovely eggplants and put the sauce on that. Oh so tasty, that I don’t miss the noodles at all. The hardest for us is still lunch and breakfast. The kids like burritos and cereal. In moderation, I will let them have both, but for breakfast they must have egg or sausage before the cereal.

    CrazyCatLady wrote on September 16th, 2012
  34. One other thing that helped with my family when I started our transition to Primal about a month ago, is that when I brought home “The Primal Blueprint” book from the library, my daughter read it too (her choice.) She is very logical, and the science made lots of sense to her (and me.) As she is the oldest, siblings are slowly following as well.

    We homeschool, and at some point my kids will need to do “health”. “The Primal Blueprint” seems like a great text book to start with! I would suggest with families with teens who are doing “health class” at school to leave the book laying around, the teens may find it interesting to challenge the CW of their teachers!

    CrazyCatLady wrote on September 16th, 2012
  35. I have learned to pretty much do my own thing, and let the others follow suit or not! However, I’m pushing primal a lot more on my 14 year old, as he’s overweight and really needs to change something.

    I suppose, in a sense, it’s easier for me because I was vegetarian before going primal, and thus was used to making my own meals :D. Primal, is thus somewhat easier as most of the time I just make us all the same thing, and on the odd occasion when the kids have something different (or beg for something like lasagne), I just make myself something primal. (I have really, really cut back on feeding the kids pasta, but once a fortnight or so I’ll let them have it).

    I don’t want to be a “food Nazi”, because I know that ultimately that often backfires (the kids who were brought up to eat very strictly, that I know, often rebel once they’re old enough and go all out with the junk… I’d rather be more lenient now and not give them anything to rebel against!!).

    If my kids were a lot younger, I think it’d be easier. I don’t see much difficult about transitioning a 2 or 3 year old…but once they’re over a certain age they’ve got very strong views about what they like and what they don’t!

    I do hope that my example eventually leads to the kids adopting this lifestyle on their own. I would certainly prefer it if I could make my youngest son a primal cake for his birthday today instead of a horrid flour based one, but I’m pretty sure he’d protest!! (I did make a primal sorta cake for the oldest, who enjoyed it, but the others…not so much).

    All that said, there’s certain things I never have in the house now. No biscuits/cookies, no sodas, no fruit juice, no white bread (mostly). The youngest take wraps to school, though, as it’s sort of the best I can persuade them to have ;). Dinner at least 5/7 nights is just meat plus veg.

    Fiona wrote on September 17th, 2012
  36. I am going to e-mail Mark directly but thought I’d try this forum first, even though it’s a bit old. I was wondering if anyone has tried to start in his or her school and/or school district a grassroots movement to apply the Paleo Blueprint to the kids’ lunch program and physical education program. I’ve been on the Paleo BP for about five months and am fairly passionate about it as I can see the obvious benefits. I would imagine it would be difficult to bring about a paradigm shift in our society’s eating habits but what better age to start with than elementary-aged school kids. Big things start with small things and it would be really something if more communities could bring about a change in the way we teach our kids to eat and exercise.

    Jeff F. wrote on March 26th, 2013
  37. I am in love with this blog! I feel totally ready to go primal; it’s a lifestyle that completely resonates with me. My only issue is that my 20-month-old son has multiple allergies. He has life-threatening food allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and dairy. That makes going Primal very difficult, as you can imagine. While we allow eggs and dairy products in the house for my husband and older son, absolutely no nut products are allowed in our house. Most of the trail mixes and protein bars have nuts, and everybody’s go-to for healthy snacks in between meals is almonds, cashews, etc. We’ve adopted a lot of seeds into our diet as a replacement: Sunbutter (peanut butter alternative made from sunflower seeds), chia seeds, and flaxseed – is that an adequate substitute? And since everybody seems to eat eggs in the morning, what else would you suggest?

    Krissandra wrote on July 7th, 2013

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2014 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!