Hi hackers. Having recently discovered Paleo/Primal, I'm working to transition my family away from our SAD ways towards a healthier way of eating. We're not too far off actually, just have to get rid of some crackers, bagels and cereal.
One of our big challenges are going to be my 3-year old daughter's affinity for Oatmeal with Flax Granola for breakfast. Rather than forcing her cold turkey to at 7am one random morning (and dealing with the ensuing meltdown), my plan is to focus on taking her Paleo during the rest of the day (lunch/dinner/snacks), while slowly transitioning her off the Oatmeal/Flax in the morning.
There seems to be a real emotional attachment to her morning ritual that I'd like to find a way to transition her gently, rather than just sticking an egg in front of her and saying "no more oatmeal". So I'm wondering if anyone has any recipes or thoughts on substitutes for her favorite breakfast meal. The oatmeal is basic Quaker instant, we pour whole milk in it and she then puts a several handfuls of this stuff into the bowl:
I think she digs the taste and the crunchiness of the granola. (She actually refers to them as "crunchies"). I'm assuming that the seeds in this cereal are fine, but I'm wondering if there's some "less-evil" versions of the grains that she's eating that might make for a more peaceful transition. If so I'll happily put in the time making our own version of this concoction.
I used to live with my friend who had a 3-year-old, and she was also very attached to a morning ritual she picked up at her Dad's over christmas, which was, unfortunately, Raison Bran cereal. She wouldn't eat breakfast if she couldn't have it. Once we broke her of the habit, we could feed her pretty much anything, even if it was radically different from cereal.
For such a little one, it was important to make a different breakfast seem like a special treat, so she would get excited to try something different. We would start hyping up the next days breakfast the night before, by saying she was so lucky to have such a yummy breakfast the next day. We started off doing a grainless granola, which she was happy to eat if she was convinced it was special. We also made her to-go smoothies that we called "monster juice" which was coconut milk with a banana, plenty of frozen strawberries, a whole bunch of kale, some baby spinach, and some cinnamon. We would put a halved frozen grape in it and call those "monster eyes" and have it in a special travel cup with a fun straw. She loved it, and it was really filling for her, the daycare lady said she would eat barely any of her snack on the days she had her "monster juice". On the weekends it was easier for her to eat out of her routine, and we could make a eggs-and-bacon type breakfast that she would get excited about. Once we broke the routine with her, it was such a relief, we could feed her anything and didn't have to worry about trying to mimic raison bran because she would just point out how much it wasn't like raison bran. If anything, it was easier to get her to eat things that were very different from cereal, because she wouldn't think about her old habit and compare them.
Hopefully that helps! I know that kids have a wide variety of funny food things, and what works for some may not work for others, haha.
I have a breakfast "cereal" almost every day which I make as follows:
The occassional decadent variation is that sometimes I add a little grated dark chocolate or some of my homemade chocolate bark - that might work for kiddies? I also add some vanilla sometimes or cinnamon.
Like Josh mentioned, warm winter squash will take all the favorite toppings that used to go on cereal. Pumpkin custard cooked with milk, eggs and spices is also a fun choice.
I like Banded Girl's answer but I also have a different thought.
Kids respond best to change when, from their viewpoint, it's an improvement. So, what are her favorite ancestral foods/meals? Once clear favorites emerge, I'd start offering some as options for breakfast. After all, I eat leftovers from evening in the morning and frequently eat eggs at night.
Anyhow, as she builds a list of favored whole foods just keep encouraging her to include them in her breakfast or eat them exclusively. In some cases, it may go faster than you think and in others maybe not but over time she'll be more and more comfortable with the future "usual" foods.
EDIT: this stuff looks VERY good.
Paleo pancakes (using coconut/almond flours) and Mark Sisson's "no-oatmeal" come to mind. There's a ton of recipes out there, here are two:
http://www.paleoplan.com/2011/06-01/no-oat-oatmeal/ Some people sub in pumpkin puree for the banana.
Make her some "No-Oatmeal Oatmeal"!
2 eggs, whisked with some coconut milk over low heat in a sauce pan. You don't want this to scramble. Add cinnamon, nutmeg.
Add either one mashed, ripe banana, OR about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of pureed pumpkin. Whisk this in to egg/coconut milk mixture. Turn the heat up a bit to thicken.
At the last minute, I like adding some almond nut butter, or some freshly ground up nuts, almonds, pecans are tasty too, macadamias would be awesome. Maybe some blueberries on top.
OH MY GOD that stuff is so awesome. I wish I could eat eggs, but I can't no moar :(
You could try a grainless granola like this one: http://www.rawguru.com/store/raw-food/lydias-grainless-apple-cereal-1-lb.html
Also, Primal Blueprint's hot non-cereal is great. My toddler loves it: http://paleoperiodical.com/2011/04/15/recipe-shout-out-primal-blueprints-primal-hot-cereal/
I would start with making a big deal of sunday bacon and eggs - or special omelette - talk about all wk and even invite someone over for Breakfast ! then once she gets that start to introduce it in day by day. It could take some time but you said you were happy to do it slowly!
I made my own version of a 'breakfast cereal' to help my son switch over. I roasted a butternut squash, mashed it with butter and cinnamon & a little honey, mixed in enough groundd flax seed to give it some texture and he ate it with heavy cream - he never complained or turned his nose up at it once. Now he eats bacon or sausage and some carrots or sweet potatoes with butter for breakfast.
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