I'm a single mom with two teenagers, both boys, at home. I've turned our kitchen into a paleo-only space: no grains, no sweets, no junk. There was some serious resistance at first, but now they love eating this way and can really put away the meat and veggies. When I made the Big Change, I let them know that when they are at school or at friends' homes, they are free to indulge as they please.
My oldest, 15, had serious acne that couldn't be tamed prior to Paleo. Now his skin is 90% improved. When he eats pizza or candy outside the home, the next few days he has acne eruptions and grouches around the house complaining about what he ate to cause it! That one factor alone is self-correcting, ha ha! My youngest, 13, has always loved meat as his primary food source and never been much of a sweets and junk eater, so he hasn't even really noticed the changes at home.
My boys love hanging out outdoors. Once I chucked the junk in the house, they seemed to naturally spend more time outside (probably looking for junk elsewhere at first, ha ha). One thing I did to get them into a more playful physical mode was to create a big Backyard Olympics tournament for the neighborhood kids. I built an obstacle course, and created some funny "sports" - fort building with hay bales, hula hooping, speed tree climbing, and now that it's winter, snow fort building, speed snowman building etc. I can't tell you how many neighborhood kids come over every afternoon, begging me to sit outside with the stopwatch so that I can time the trials. Especially right now, during the Olympics. I think this one thing alone has had a positive physical impact in the whole neighborhood.
Do you have your children on a paleo diet? Are there things that I should be doing for my boys that I might not have considered? Care to share any fun, kid-friendly recipes? Fun playful sports activities? Let's talk about kids and paleo!
My son has been changing his families diet to a more paleo, lower carb diet and has run across some opposition. Both kids thought spahetti squash 'noodles' were fun at first, but then asked for real spahetti a few weeks later. They are fine with pastured beef and chicken but still want some of the things they are familiar with, like small flavoured yogurts.
It would be best to start kids off right from square one on a paleo diet so it is all they know, but the minute they start to interact with their friends and discover other ways of eating, difficulties will begin. All you could hope for is that they like the paleo foods so much they won't deviate too far.
While we weren't paleo by any means when I raised my four kids, we did have a huge organic garden, chickens, eggs, home grown beef, and a milk cow. I made my own butter and occasionally cheese and ricotta.
I have a two-year-old. My wife is not exactly on board with my eating habits (about 85% paleo at the moment) but she tolerates them, and is starting to drift that way herself. My daughter eats rice, bread and cheerios, but probably less than most other kids her age, and she eats a hell of a lot more meat and full fat dairy than most of our friends' kids. If I had to describe her diet, I would call it "1920 Rural", which is fine with me. Developmentally she's doing great - above average size, and very bright by every indicator. I am not going to force her into anything, even as a two-year-old, and I know how far my wife can be pushed. I'm fine with her eating some grain and some sugar - hopefully she'll eventually follow dad's example and grow out of it!
We eat try to eat mainly paleo at home and I pack the same for school lunches. I've moved away from sandwiches and pack "hot" lunches that can be eaten cold. I don't police what my kids eat away from home, but I do encourage better paleo choices over standard American food crap when we eat out and I try not to do that as often anymore. I no longer have regular flour in the house, we use almond or coconut and occasionally brown rice. Once we're out of oats, grits and malt-o-meal, I won't be buying anymore. We'll do pasta and rice occasionally, but it's not a staple in the pantry anymore. My girls like to cook and they're learning to bake without wheat flour. Once the vegetable oils are gone, it's only coconut oil,lard/tallow or EVOO.
My 17yo can pretty much make her own choices and for the most part healthy, although IMO she still eats too many carbs. My12yo is the hold-out and won't eat the lunches I pack at school, so she waits to eat until after school. She is also the one that will sneak any sugar she can. Although I hate the idea of her not eating from 7am until 3pm, she hasn't seemed to suffer and breakfasts always include a good amount of fat and protein. My 10yo happily brings her "weird" lunches to school and has 2 besties that bring similar lunches. Our 10yo is also our vitamin police - fish oil, vitD and vitK. Her older sister sometimes get annoyed. :-)
Of course the nature of this is purely anecdotal but I have a friend who has always eaten very paleo, basically nothing processed, lots of vegetables and fruit and lean meats. When teaching her about paleo basically the only alterations she needed to make was to cut the small amount of gluten-grains she was consuming, and to up her fat intake (she had never really bought into low-fat but was still worried about sat fat which you couldnt blame her for it was directly form her doctor!), and to cut out fruit juices.
Anyway she has a few kids and these are really incredible specimens of young homo sapiens! Very fit, energetic, healthy, no teeth problems or seemingly "any of the problems I constantly hear mums complaining about" to quote her, and probably most importantly close to the top in nearly all of their school classes. Also very good looking young kids! Now of course these are correlations that would typically go with being raised in a health-conscious environment anyway (socio-economic factors, etc) but I have absolutely no doubt much of it can also be attributed to the head start these guys got in the womb, and their very healthy paleoish upbringing.
Our kids aren't paleo as they eat bread with sandwiches at lunch, pot-pie for dinner, and spaghetti from time to time, and barley in our soups.
But like Alex said, we are 1920's Rural. The aforementioned bread, pot-pie, and soup are homemade. We drink whole milk and buy plain yogurt into which we stir in a pinch of homemade jam. They get eggs for almost every breakfast and bacon, sausage, or ham on the side. We cook with bacon grease, coconut oil, and olive oil. We make our own stocks as much as we can and supplement with boullon from a jar when we must. We do buy jar spaghetti sauce and dried pasta. We do eat beans, rice, and as I mentioned flour.
We stay away from juice, candy, anything that comes in a box, and the industrial vegetable oils. These are the biggies. With those taken care of, I don't feel I need to worry about the rest all that much. Except maybe reduce our wheat... is 6-8lbs of flour a month for 4 a lot?
My 11 yr old son was raised vegan as I was, then as years passed - veggie, then onto fish and recently poultry and red meat. Made almond bread as alternative to whole wheat bread, was good but don't think its convinced him. Haven't dropped dairy as don't appear to have any allergies to it. Happy for him to make up his own mind.
Should we "pre-chew" our children's food? 13 Answers