Paleo And Kids – Some Advice

A lot of what we find on the internet and in books about Paleo fails to mention the challenges that we might find in following a particular dietary regime when we have a young family. This could be in the context of health or convenience.

In this post I deal with some questions that are often posed for those wishing to pursue a lifestyle that accommodates Paleo and kids in their busy life.

Can You Do Paleo With Kids?

So at first sight when you consider the basic premise of Paleo this looks fairly straight forward. After all this is a dietary regime that:

  • Advises against additives.
  • Steers us away from heavily over processed products often heavy in added salt.
  • Promotes ethical butcher, or home kill sourced, free-range, pasture fed, protein sources.
  • Encourages consumption of copious amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables,
  • Advertises the benefits of organically produced nuts and seeds.

All of this looks pretty good when you consider the sugary drink, fast food, packaged TV dinner alternatives that many families find themselves consuming because of the sheer business of life.

However, the jury is out, on full immersion of children in a paleo lifestyle.

While many hundreds of thousands of adults will point to better weight control, lower blood pressure and cholesterol control as a result of following this lifestyle, out, children’s physiology is still developing.

Some Things to Think About

Our children hour for hour are likely to be burning more energy than we are and that needs to be satisfied by a good high energy balanced meal plan. Children usually want to graze as they burn up this energy in frenetic patterns throughout the day.

By implication, they have faster more efficient metabolisms than older people and the tendency to get into a poor insulin cycle is far less likely if they are being treated to a good balanced diet.

I would recommend that unlike mainstream Paleo, as long as they don’t suffer lactose intolerance (my 3 older children did) that some dairy is included but this should be as controlled as anything which has high contents of processed sugars.

Children can tolerate sensible portions of rice past and potatoes but the key here is to make those reasonable accompaniments to the proteins and fresh vegetable components of the meals you make. The tendency these days is to add ingredients to rice or pasta, we really should think of this the other way around.

Child obesity and early onset diabetes in an increasing problem. This is because we are not doing what we need to in order to limit sugary confections, fizzy drinks (aggressively advertised and targeted at our children) and at the same time ensure sensible balance in their diets.

Kids Snack Ideas

Just by way of a wee bonus I thought that these 2 snack ideas might help in aiding us to think about the alternatives to the supermarket box of muesli bars that we have all put into the school lunch box. The sad news is that these bars are full of additives such as emulsifiers and colourings and usually pretty over-represented with processed sugars.

Coconut Nibblets

These are delicious hunger busters great for on the go kids:

  • Raw coconut chips or shavings
  • Teaspoon solid (room temperature) coconut oil
  • Roast unsalted nut and sees mix

Combine the ingredients in a bowl making sure that the oil is blended and coats the nuts. This mix can be stored in an airtight container for two weeks. For school pack it in small storage containers that fit in the lunchbox.

Crudités & Dip

Most kids like fresh veg if they are prepared in a fun way; try this:

  • Baton cut carrots, cucumber, mushrooms, radishes, celery or other favourites throw in some cherry tomatoes
  • Cauliflower humous (ingredients)
    • 1 small cooked chopped cauliflower
      6 Tbsp almond butter
      1/4 cup olive oil
      2 cloves minced garlic
      1/2 Tsp mustard powder
      3 Tbsp lemon juice
      1 Tsp ground cumin
      1/2 Tsp paprika
      1 pinch cayenne pepper
      1 Tsp salt
      Black pepper to taste

Throw all the houmus ingredients into a blender and pulse until puréed. Store in a tight jar in the fridge for 1 week. For school put the batons and tomatoes into a small lidded container with another small lidded container for the houmus, delicious.

Common Sense and Balance

In all of my Paleo posts I am consistent in talking about balance. As a reminder; the key things that we all need in order to have a balanced lifestyle I would suggest are:

  • Good quality, where possible organic, fresh foods which have suffered minimum processing.
  • Good Sleep hygiene; sleep is where we get our batteries recharged for the onslaught of the day.
  • Regular appropriate exercise to suit the individual 3 x 20 minute HIIT sessions per week is all that is needed.
  • Family time, social interaction and attention to mind health – we need both healthy body and healthy mind to be fit.

This advice holds true for all members of our family. The family visit to McDonalds should be once a month, if ever, not once a day or even once a week ☺️ It takes planning but the health benefits and a good start in life far outweigh the inconvenience of planning and preparation.

Let’s just take the time to make sure we are looking after ourselves and our families.

Want To Learn More About Paleo

I do hope that you find this information helpful in your pursuit of a Paleo Lifestyle, particularly if you have a young family. The snack recipes are very adaptable and I am sure that you can exercise some imagination in adding to or improving upon them.

Here for the first time?

If you are reading this Paleo article for the first time it might help to see what food items make up the Paleo Lifestyle please go and have a look at my Paleo Food List for Beginners. This will give you a very good idea of the healthy and fulfilling options that are available to you in moving away from the processed, salt heavy diets that many of us suffer today

Need a good guide to hand?

I have written a review on the Paleo Beginners Guide a book available through Amazon.com if you wished to have something to hand to get you started as a ready and available reference. If you click through and buy it via my review it will cost you no more than if you go to Amazon direct. I can highly recommendation it

Feedback and Comments

 

I would be delighted if you found the time to leave questions or comments below. I guarantee to answer every comment registered within 1 working day.

Be healthy and have fun.

Hamish ????

P.S. If this post has inspired you to become a Blogger yourself, you can find out, how to do just that by taking a look at my other Blog which I encourage you to visit.

This includes an easy FREE method to get started and FREE hosting of a website upon which to base your Blog.

10 Comments

  1. Hi Hamish,

    I love your very sensible approach to paleo dieting. I agree with your answers to common questions from mums and dads who have very busy schedules and want their paleo diet and their kids to fit in their lifestyles. 

    Your specific point that children are burning more energy than adults is very vital. Thus the need for good high energy balanced meal plan for their developing physiology. The inclusion of some controlled portions of dairy is understandable even if it diverges from mainstream paleo dieting arrangements. 

    Thanks for this lovely blog worth sharing.

    • Hey John thanks for the interest.  Yes there is something to offer for kids in Paleo from a natural and unprocessed perspective we just have to be cognisant of where they are developmentally 

  2. I have read a good deal about the Paleo diet and have often wondered how it would go over with my kids. I do worry about cutting out grains from their diets. My family really only uses whole grains because we realize that they are so much more beneficial than the refined ones. We really try to avoid those. What advice would you have for someone who isn’t starting their kids out with Paleo, but would need to transition to it?

    • Great question Steve. I personally would revert to my classic, go to position, and preach balance for your situation.  Often the reason that it is a good idea for adults to go to Paleo is because of hypertension, diabetes or other conditions.  Though these are not exclusively the reasons some are just content that it is a better lifestyle generally.

      I would feed you kids a balanced natural diet and keep them as much as possible away from heavily processed foods.  If they show intolerance then seek medical advice and reintroduce those items in a controlled way. I am no medical expert and I will always defer.

      As I said my kids all went through lactose intolerance.

      Yup balance!

      Hamish🧐

  3. Hiya Hamish

    Thank you for your user experience based article about Paleo for kids. I have 7 children so this was very interesting to me. I have pals who follow a Paleo diet but I’m not sure if their children follow it too. My son is overweight and has been to the doctor with health issues caused by too much fizzy drinks in his diet. 

    We are about to embark on a change in lifestyle and I definitely think Paleo will be a good starting point. Do you have any recommendations for my also overweight 5 year old who is a very fussy eater and not keen on veg? I really struggle to find healthy foods she will eat. 

    I appreciate the research that you have put in and I will be looking at your other articles about Paleo for beginners, krs PurpleLioness 

    • Thanks PL these are great comments and great questions. I have been through the fussy eater phase as well to some degree or another with all 5 of our children!

      Sadly it’s perseverance and trial and error to find things they will eat. The really important thing though is not to think you are doing them favours by giving in to junk food instead of fresh natural produce. This is just building a time bomb for ill health.

      There is an excellent article here https://www.webmd.com/children… that discusses and will help with some of your concerns.

      My approach to Paleo is a guided healthy lifestyle not slavish adherence so use what works for you as a family and adapt to suit.

      I hope that his is helpful.

      Hamish🧐

  4. Hello Hamish,
    Thank you for your most interesting and informative piece on whether children are able to be introduced to a Paleo Diet. Since the jury as you point out is still literally out I find your authoritative effects of current diets on our children are only too painfully evident with your excellent offering both balanced and logical given the overall picture to stay within norms but not be afraid to introduce a healthy mixture of both can only do good. I have bookmarked your good site contemplating the added expertise you provide in offering as The paleo food List and and Paleo Beginners Guide are a very useful addition indeed. The only issue I see is for exercise, the HILT method for exercise is not as suitable as its new version HILLIT which is less harmful as HILT which is high impact causes more wear and tear while HILLIT is low impact which provides for less wear and tear on our bodies. Thank you for this excellent research as I had not even heard of Paleo prior but will certainly be visiting your site frequently to find out more with a view to taking it on board for me. Thank you again,
    Rami.

    • Thanks Rami good points. On HIIT, I do no impact HIIT due to quite a bit of lower limb atrophy caused by years of ‘in the line of work’ abuse. The last of these ‘in the line of work’ abuses was in November 2018 I abseiled on a single rope 180m to the bottoms of Howard’s Hole in the Tasman National Park and then spent 12 hours navigating through a subterranean cave system (starlight caves) including some tight squeezes my body was not designed for and then another 4 hours scaling a near 1:2 scree strewn slope in the dark to the recovery point. This has left me with one or two wee issues that prevent me from doing impact training. Why did I do it? Well of course, because it was there! I can’t content myself in the knowledge that considerably fewer people have accomplished this task than have climbed to the top of Everest!

      Thanks for visiting 🧐

  5. Hi Hamish

    My wife and I have been using the paleo diet for just over a month now and we are really enjoying the health benefits such as greater energy and small but regular weight loss each week when we weigh in.

    We didn’t involve our children yet because with them both being at school we thought it would be difficult to prepare packed lunches and snacks for them during the school day. We really like the coconut nibblets and crudités you suggested (for ourselves as well). Can you recommend any other resources for children’s options on the paleo diet?

    Thanks 

    Dave

    • Thanks for this Dave, I am working on a post specifically to do with more detailed information on incorporating children’s needs into a Paleo family lifestyle. Stay tuned! 🧐

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