What would you do? Parent's or inlaws come for an extended visit. They want to spoil the grandkids with treats. They eat a very sad, SAD diet. You want to be a gracious host and serve them what they're accustomed to but at the same time you are trying very hard to stick to a paleo lifestyle for you and your children. Hubby and I can hold our own, but the kids are still easily swayed. How do you handle this situation and not build a barrier between you and grams and gramps?
Never make a big deal about the way you eat. You eat regular food, and your guests do too. Or, if you are a guest, you eat only what you eat, and be polite about it. "No thank you," is your best option. "I'm not hungry" is also an excellent and polite tool (you can always stand to miss a meal, your paleolithic ancestors had to put up with irregular opportunities to eat).
When it comes to preparing food for your Mom and Dad or family, just make a nice savory meat, slow cooked. Everybody loves a pot roast / roast chicken or turkey / pork loin / leg of lamb / etc. Along with the meat, make a normal veggie that everybody can eat, like broccoli. Make 2-3x as much as you normally eat. Your meal: broccoli and meat. For the folks, cook up a simple pasta like penne, and put olive oil, salt, and herbs on it.
When eating at the folks' house you have two choices: (1) if it's been a month or more since your last lapse or cheat, consider just eating whatever is served, if you like it. (2) just eat the meat and veggies, scraping off breading, sauce, etc.
The secret to getting along in the world of normal eaters is to be willing to go hungry, occasionally being flexible, and always being polite and patient!
I think that for non paleo parents (or visitors) it is rather easy for them to adjust: who doesn't like a delicious paleo meal. I don't think they will miss the potatoes or the pasta. Breakfast can be a bit more tricky, but an nice omelet, some bacon, some fruits and, if you like maybe some yoghurt or so. They won't miss the bread.
One thing that works all the time: make delicious meals. It'll work for sure.
Let them spoil the kids with attention and play time! The kids will like it!
And let your partner do the talking with the inlaws ;-)
I don't get why this is so hard for our family members who truly love our kids so much! I have had honest talks with folks on both sides of our families. From their birth, I have been adament about our kids not being fed crap. I have really spoken with my family, though, about why. Childhood obesity being in the news the way it is, it doesn't really take that much convincing. As parents, we are shaping the way our children view "normal" food. Sure they will grow up and make their own choices, but at least I know my kids will have a solid foundation. A specific thing that really helped us has been having ideas and recipes for snacks/treats that we approve of and sharing them with family members who want to do something special. Dried fruit is one idea; not something we regularly have, but pretty low on the evil spectrum. I hink it's really more about them wanting to do somehing special, to form a connection with the kids, so let them know how special (and healthy!) these treats are for your kids. Good luck! Stay strong!
Veronica, how embarrassing for us grandparents :-) It would never occur to me to feed my grandkids garbage, and I wish more grandparents felt that way.
I think maybe you are just going to have to be a little stronger and explain to your parents that the effects of the sweets and candies lasts a long time (maybe even a lifetime), and while the grandparents may not think of it as harmful, you definitely do, and as the parent, YOU GET TO CHOOSE what your kids eat. You may even have to say it loudly and firmly!
I am hosting my parents this weekend. They will be eating paleo food that the wife and I cook. When we go out I am sure they we return to their SAD habits. I don't feel bad about not changing the foods I serve since I know it is good for them and I don't ask them to change meals when they host us. But each family is different. I imagine your folks won't let a few meals change how much they love you.