Friday, March 15, 2013

Paleo Progeny

I watched Food Inc yesterday with Trey, and it deepened in my own mind my desire to get our kids completely off of processed foods and eating the fruits, vegetables, clean meats, and healthy fats that Trey and I are now eating. But if I'm very honest, I'm afraid to take the cold-turkey plunge to full-on Paleo with them. So for now, we're taking a more gradual approach. This article on the Whole30 website, called Let Us Change Your Kids, talks about the different approaches and their pros and cons. And while I've been researching the subject, I've been pinning lunch ideas for when we fully make the transition.

So here's where we are in the journey with our kids.

My kids don't like vegetables
They will eat some occasionally, occasionally being the operative word. Addison and Genevie will eat carrots. Davis likes asparagus. And that's about it. In the past I didn't want to make meal time an issue. I figured that, like me when I was a kid, eventually as their taste buds matured, they would eat vegetables. But now we're taking a different approach.

Solution: Variety and Persistence
We are introducing new varieties of veggies in their diet and making them try them -- at least one bite. Last night Genevie and Addison completely polished off the garlic sautĂ©ed spinach that I served, and Genevie has taken quite a shine to the pumpkin soufflĂ© that I've started making. Baby steps, folks. I'll take it.

My kids would eat candy, cake, and sweets all day every day if I let them.
The Holloway children have a collective sweet tooth that would give the Easter bunny a sugar high, and in the past I would reward clean plates with little treats. A couple of Hershey kisses or a peanut butter cup. Nothing outrageous or seemingly too much.

Solution: Fruit
However, now, "treats" are fruit. Period. I am not buying candy for the house anymore. In fact, I've already started thinking about how we'll handle the Easter basket this year, and I think it may just be a small chocolate bunny. No bags of jelly beans and Cadbury eggs. Not good for them and too much temptation for me.

2/3 of my kids hardly ever eat dinner
We have waffled between serving the kids their own meal, since Davis and Genevie hardly ever ate what I made, and taking a tough-love approach. But the kids are smart and quickly learned if they whined and complained enough, we'd eventually cave.

Solution: Consistency and Inclusion
As with most things in parenting, consistency wins every time. Now, since I'm not buying alternatives like chicken nuggets (plus, I can't ever buy Tyson again after watching Food Inc.) or mini frozen pizzas, they have no choice but to eat what I've made. The Whole30 takes such incredible meal and shopping planning, that I have no additional bandwidth for separate meals. You either eat what I serve, or you don't eat. And there's no option to cave because there literally are no alternatives. The other trick I'm learning about is getting the kids to help you in the kitchen to make the meal. Last night I made Proscuitto Egg Cups and had the kids help me. Genevie was very willing to eat her own handiwork. Davis was less thrilled, but I want to keep trying this approach. I think involvement may cultivate an appreciation for the meal.

They're wary of new foods and kind of picky.
So far they have turned their noses up at avocado, cooked egg yokes, and nuts of any kind -- foods I'd love to get them eating for their nutritional benefits. I particularly want to broaden their repertoire so I have food choices to pack them in their lunch boxes.

Solution: Keep offering
I'm not deterred however. This week I'm going to try coconut yogurt, black olives, guacamole, and coconut chips to see if I can get them to latch onto something new. They did try the kale chips last week and were not completely repulsed, so I'm making them again for a healthy snack this week.

Baby steps
Each week Trey and I are trying to take progressive baby steps with the kids towards promoting a more healthful diet. This week we're eliminating the juice boxes from their lunches and just going to pack water. Will we ultimately end up at completely Paleo? I hope so, but I'm willing to be patient and give it the time it needs, educating the kids along the way about how what we put in our bodies matters to how we feel and behave.

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