Monday, September 20, 2010

My Kids and Paleo

A couple facts:
  • I've been doing Paleo for the last 6 months or so. 
  • I have 2 kids (3 and 5 years old).
  • No, these do not mix well...but I try!

When I started this way of eating, I was never under the assumption that my kids were going to be 100% Paleo too.  That sort of expectation adds stress to any family, never mind a single-mother-working-from-home sort of chaos our house can be sometimes.  I allowed them their cereal every morning, a sandwich at lunch, wheat crackers and milk products (milk, yogurt and cheese) for snacks.  They were allowed some treats but they were rare - usually homemade and gluten-free so I could enjoy them too.

But, as time passed, things changed.  My knowledge of Paleo grew as our food budget shrunk.  I had to be more selective about where our limited food moneys went.  The cereal was the first to go, replaced by more blood-sugar-stabilizing eggs and fruit in the morning.  Then crackers and cookies were slashed out.  Thankfully, neither of these were missed at all.  And just recently, I cut most dairy out, except for string cheese - easy snack.

That's when I discovered something - as I dropped gluten and dairy from their diet, my daughter's "tummy issues" began to disappear.  With some experimentation, I was able to verify that yes, her system doesn't like gluten either.  The moment she was held to a low-dairy, low-gluten diet, her system settled down and all was happy again.

So, you may be asking, "Well, what do your kids eat then?"

My answer: 
  • protein (eggs, beef, chicken, etc), 
  • fruits, 
  • vegetables (yes, my kids eat vegetables!),
  • fats.  
  • Snacks include air-popped popcorn, string cheese, nuts, all-natural gluten-free granola bars, fruit and vegetables.

They do still get a bit of gluten every day in the form of one sandwich - my son is a HUGE Peanut Butter and Jelly fan and I just can't take that away from him.  Yes, I know there's gluten-free breads out there but really, have seen the price tag on those lately?  Oy! 

A typical kids' menu is this:

  • Breakfast (8 AM) - eggs and fruit
  • Lunch (11 AM) - sandwich, fruit, vegetables.
  • Snack (between 2 and 3 PM) - they usually get a choice between popcorn, cheese, nuts, or fruit.
  • Dinner (between 5 and 6 PM) - whatever I'm eating (meat and veggie) along with a piece of fruit
  • Bedtime Snack (7:30-ish) - optional - depends on how they ate that day.  If they acted hungry and ate everything, or we had a really early dinner, I let them have a snack.  If they didn't eat much dinner, then no bedtime snack.
I'm still playing with this a bit to see where I can improve on nutrition.  The good news is I've been seeing some good results.  Not only has her "tummy issues" calmed down but my once "failure to thrive" daughter is getting some meat, in the form of muscle, on her skinny bones, which is nice to see.  Both kids are growing like weeds and are quite happy...what more can I ask for?  ;-)

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