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.
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
- 1 small cooked chopped cauliflower
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
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Be healthy and have fun.
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