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Does anyone have a good idiot-proof list of what a paleo person can eat to give my daughter's daycare provider?

by (1115)
Updated about 13 hours ago
Created October 19, 2012 at 10:35 PM

I'm not talking about the lithographs that are out there or the massive "paleo solution"-esque lists of what is and isn't ok. I just need a super simplistic and semi-dumbed down list of what they can and can't feed my daughter. I tried to explain it but it didnt go too well. During the interview I explained that we avoid all grains to which she was quick to show me the GF sticky buns, pancakes and brownies they make special for the one Celiac kid because the cook didn't think it was right for him to miss out when all the other kids were eating those treats... And the director is a nurse so she tried to rub her medical career in my face when i started talking about why we eat this way. Face-palm.

I went on to explain sugar free only to be looked at like I'm depriving my daughter. All the while we were standing in their kitchen stocked with cheese poofs and other non-food crap.

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460 · October 21, 2012 at 3:28 PM

When I say "I wish I had a solution," what I really mean is, "I wish I had an immediate solution to Susan's problem." We all know, of course, that if daycares were to just focus on child health and development and ignore most of the other ridiculous regulations that come from licensing and accreditation agencies, many of the problems and distractions in the classroom would disappear. I spend 90 percent of my day wiping noses, washing hands, dealing with behavioral problems, etc. all the while feeding kids wheat thins and cheerios. If you like dark comedies, you'd love my job. ;)

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2328 · October 20, 2012 at 2:24 AM

lol +1 for "piece of bacon"

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460 · October 20, 2012 at 1:29 AM

LOL, JayJay. As a daycare worker I can attest to the stress this warning might induce. ;)

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460 · October 20, 2012 at 1:26 AM

Susan, I feel your pain. I hope I can be a stay-at-home mom when I have kids, but I'm not sure I will have the financial means. You could try, as JayJay suggested, to just go ahead and bring your child's food. It sounds like the director wasn't opposed to the idea. I know we require a doctor's note at our center, but it is certainly worth trying without one!

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460 · October 20, 2012 at 1:21 AM

Luckie, It would be great if daycare workers could be trained and educated in these things. However, I'm willing to bet most parents don't want to pay for this training (through an increase in tuition). The business will do whatever the parents are willing to pay for. That's how capitalism works. Plus, I consider myself much more educated in these matters than I would ever expect a daycare worker to be, and I have still made many more allergy/food intolerance mistakes than I would make were I taking care of my own child. It is a very high-pressure, chaotic environment. I wish I had a solution.

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18635 · October 20, 2012 at 12:32 AM

I just told my childrens teachers that they "can not" have these items. Never had any of em come back with a "prove it".

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1115 · October 20, 2012 at 12:09 AM

Oh and two more thoughts, 1 I wish I could be a stay at home mom and 2 I haven't found a doctor to diagnose a fake gluten intolerance. :(

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1115 · October 20, 2012 at 12:05 AM

I actually offered to do that and he looked at me like I had a third eye. She eventually said that she guessed it wouldnt be too much of a problem to reheat the food in the microwave in the baby room... But she stressed, "guessed." Reading through the lines she definitely assumed I was going to be, "one of those," parents...

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1115 · October 20, 2012 at 12:02 AM

Right. Because that's realistic... I appreciate the thought but... uh. Yeah.

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10490 · October 19, 2012 at 11:34 PM

I know you said that they are nice people and all, but they should not be feeding people if they don't know these things, much less children! They need to be trained and educated if they are going to be working with food. There is really no excuse.

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10490 · October 19, 2012 at 10:47 PM

... parents may view that as an acceptable substitute, but I don't feel that way. Please do not feed MY CHILD the things I have asked you not to feed her." If they do not comply, it isn't because they don't understand. It's because they don't want to.

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10490 · October 19, 2012 at 10:46 PM

Not to sound harsh on you, but it sounds like you don't need an idiot-proof list, you need a jerk-proof list! It sounds like they do understand what you are saying by no sugar and no grains, they just don't *agree*. If they aren't, they have no business looking after children. I realize this may seem bitchy, but I would probably just give them the simple no sugar, no grains, no legumes, no soy, no artificial sweeteners, and maybe be a little more specific with the oils. When they say "but what about our brown rice flour with splenda cupcakes?!" perhaps say, "I understand that a lot of..."

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8 Answers

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460 · October 19, 2012 at 11:31 PM

As a paleo diet follower who has worked at two different corporate daycare centers for a total of five years, I would highly suggest that you pack your child's own meals and snacks each day. I know this is a big hassle and is not fair given that you probably won't get a tuition discount for your extra efforts, but it is likely the only way to make sure that your child has a healthy, balanced diet and that you stay on good terms with the director and staff. You will probably need a doctor's note for this (especially if the nurse/director thinks she knows better), so hopefully you have a physician who would be willing to write a note.

If you tell the daycare workers that your child has some food intolerances and you think it would be easier to bring her meals/snacks from home, they likely won't be judgmental or irritated. If, however, you try to educate them on the paleo diet while requiring that they make huge dietary accommodations, they will likely think you're weird and annoying.

I have a couple reasons for this suggestion:

  1. Their knowledge of food ingredients and food intolerances is likely to be EXTREMELY limited. My co-workers know I'm knowledgeable in this area, so they frequently ask me questions such as "It should be okay if I just scrape the cheese off the pizza, right?" in reference to the lunch of a child with a severe allergy to dairy and "What?! I didn't know croissants have wheat in them!" in reference to me politely declining the aforementioned croissants. Both of these comments, by the way, came from the cooks. They're not bad people. Some are even quite likeable, just clueless in this area.

  2. A daycare employee's day can be extremely stressful, loud, fast-paced, and frustrating. In few places are the negative effects of population pressure more apparent than in a daycare. ;) I'm not saying other jobs aren't stressful or that this somehow excuses daycare workers from their mistakes, but I will say that I personally, even with my own dietary intolerances and deep understanding of these issues, have on SEVERAL occasions fed children foods they were allergic to. I work with toddlers (you didn't mention your child's age), so sometimes this means while I'm comforting a child who fell out of his chair and hit his head, behind my back a child who is not allowed to have dairy is grabbing milk from another child. Daycare directors/companies will swear up and down that they can make dietary accommodations, but this is not a guarantee. And the workers are frequently short on time and very distracted by all that is going on in the room.

That said, I'm sure there are daycares somewhere out there that would be able to accommodate your requests. Hopefully you have found one! I suspect they're in a very tiny minority. The two daycare centers I've worked at have been considered high-quality centers, and I still wouldn't trust them with a paleo diet. Good luck, hopefully others will have helpful suggestions! This is just how I would handle it with my future child given my experiences in the wonderful world of childcare.

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460 · October 20, 2012 at 1:26 AM

Susan, I feel your pain. I hope I can be a stay-at-home mom when I have kids, but I'm not sure I will have the financial means. You could try, as JayJay suggested, to just go ahead and bring your child's food. It sounds like the director wasn't opposed to the idea. I know we require a doctor's note at our center, but it is certainly worth trying without one!

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1115 · October 20, 2012 at 12:05 AM

I actually offered to do that and he looked at me like I had a third eye. She eventually said that she guessed it wouldnt be too much of a problem to reheat the food in the microwave in the baby room... But she stressed, "guessed." Reading through the lines she definitely assumed I was going to be, "one of those," parents...

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d
10490 · October 19, 2012 at 11:34 PM

I know you said that they are nice people and all, but they should not be feeding people if they don't know these things, much less children! They need to be trained and educated if they are going to be working with food. There is really no excuse.

Ff5307d657eb7bbcc526dc7cf1ddd7fd
460 · October 21, 2012 at 3:28 PM

When I say "I wish I had a solution," what I really mean is, "I wish I had an immediate solution to Susan's problem." We all know, of course, that if daycares were to just focus on child health and development and ignore most of the other ridiculous regulations that come from licensing and accreditation agencies, many of the problems and distractions in the classroom would disappear. I spend 90 percent of my day wiping noses, washing hands, dealing with behavioral problems, etc. all the while feeding kids wheat thins and cheerios. If you like dark comedies, you'd love my job. ;)

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980
1115 · October 20, 2012 at 12:09 AM

Oh and two more thoughts, 1 I wish I could be a stay at home mom and 2 I haven't found a doctor to diagnose a fake gluten intolerance. :(

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 20, 2012 at 12:32 AM

I just told my childrens teachers that they "can not" have these items. Never had any of em come back with a "prove it".

Ff5307d657eb7bbcc526dc7cf1ddd7fd
460 · October 20, 2012 at 1:21 AM

Luckie, It would be great if daycare workers could be trained and educated in these things. However, I'm willing to bet most parents don't want to pay for this training (through an increase in tuition). The business will do whatever the parents are willing to pay for. That's how capitalism works. Plus, I consider myself much more educated in these matters than I would ever expect a daycare worker to be, and I have still made many more allergy/food intolerance mistakes than I would make were I taking care of my own child. It is a very high-pressure, chaotic environment. I wish I had a solution.

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18635 · October 20, 2012 at 12:05 AM

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-succeed-with-the-primal-blueprint/#axzz29b7iOR2K

Go to the second triangle and print it.....piece of bacon.

Sorry I just read the whole post and thread and now realize this is more complicated than just giving someone else some info. I pack my kids lunches....so they really would have no excuse. I did get a phone call one day from one of his teachers. She seemed very distressed. Turned out my three year old "snagged" one of the other kids food. They were kinda freaking out (I kinda didn't claim nor deny that he was highly allergic to certain foods when we discussed his lunches prior to this). I settled her down by telling her that he would not go into anaphylactic shock, but he was going to have explosive diarrhea now! She didn't seem completely relieved by that ;)

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460 · October 20, 2012 at 1:29 AM

LOL, JayJay. As a daycare worker I can attest to the stress this warning might induce. ;)

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2328 · October 20, 2012 at 2:24 AM

lol +1 for "piece of bacon"

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380 · October 19, 2012 at 11:20 PM

if it were me, I would say vegetables, fruits, eggs, nitrate-free meats, and nuts. Then I would leave a list of my child's favorite paleo foods ie. avocados, boiled egg, carrots, almond butter on apples, pickles, whatever. She might be exposed to unnatural oil once in a while as a fluke, but I wouldn't stress on that. You can't control everything.

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78422 · October 20, 2012 at 12:02 AM

if the worst comes to absolute worst, you can always say just "meat and vegetables only", hard to get that wrong.

i don't see how they can mess up simple recipe ideas like "plain chicken breast with lettuce" "scrambled eggs with apple"

things like that.

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2353 · October 19, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Sounds like you need to get together with other like-minded parents and start your own day-care center.

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1115 · October 20, 2012 at 12:02 AM

Right. Because that's realistic... I appreciate the thought but... uh. Yeah.

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0 · October 20, 2012 at 12:13 AM

you can create an infography here http://www.easel.ly/

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78422 · October 19, 2012 at 11:44 PM

you might try ordering pre-made paleo meals.

i ordered from two websites that ship ready to cook paleo meals (can be eaten raw, although this would not taste very pleasant)

the first, if you live in california: http://petespremadepaleo.com

the 2nd anywhere in the use: http://www.paleoonthego.com/

theres another that i didn't order: http://www.premadepaleo.com/collections/four-weekly-monthly-plan/products/whole30-approved-meals-for-30day-challenge#oid=1013_3

personally i don't think these meals are 100% ideal, although they are pure paleo (a few too many carbs and not enough fats/greens for me) but still they're great options for when you need a ready-to-go paleo meal you can carry in your pocket

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1173 · October 19, 2012 at 11:13 PM

Animal protein; cooked in animal fat. No added preservatives, not processed. Vegetables; raw or cooked in animal fat. Fruit. Nuts, seeds. Raw or roasted. No added preservatives, salt and not processed.


Going into too much detail about the specifics just gets too messy. If they need examples of the above, you can divulge some detail, but the simpler the better.

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