drtracyb

Trying to eat better with kids - this is HARD

72 posts in this topic

I figured I'd start my own thread to talk about my attempt to put my kids on a Paleo lifestyle.  My first answer: 

 

THIS IS REALLY HARD!

 

I have two kids adopted from Russia almost 5 years ago.  My 5 yr son has fetal alcohol syndrome, which causes severe hyperactivity and profound sensitivities to ingested toxins (i.e., food dyes, caffeine, aspartame, chocolate, the like).  My 6 yr daughter does not have a fetal alcohol diagnosis but shows severe hyperactivity which we are labeling as ADHD.  Our home life is out of control. [Edit - DD was diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome, too, within the past month.  DON'T ADOPT FROM RUSSIA!]

 

I started my first Whole30 in September and completed it successfully.  I tried to go straight into a second Whole30 but kept falling off the wagon during the month of October, specifically because of Halloween and my attempts to find appropriate treats for the kids.  I finally gave up and participated in eating candy on Halloween, with the plan that my kids and I would complete a 21-day sugar detox, paleo style, starting November 1.

 

Well, here we are, November 4.  I have made Nom Nom Paleo's Damn Fine Chicken legs for the kids to eat.  We have had eggs and various vegetables for breakfast.  Asparagus soup.  Would offer sweet potatoes but my kids hate them.  Just made kale chips.

 

Day 3, my kids are begging, I mean, BEGGING, for cheese and crackers, goldfish, graham crackers.  My husband is complaining that there is nothing to eat, despite a freezer chock full of premade Paleo meals.  Yesterday he demanded that we go to a British Pub because he had a craving for bangers and mash.  The kids ate sausage rolls (i.e., british sausages wrapped in pastry dough).  Foiled by day 2.  Restart today.  The lunch boxes so lovingly filled with chicken legs, blanched carrots and hard boiled eggs, came back uneaten.  My children's faces are looking gaunt.

 

My daughter's face and tongue is stained blue with the artificial dye-laden candy that she found somewhere and stuffed in her face in secret.

 

So, anyway, that's where I am on Day 4. 

 

And then, of course, there is the amount of time I am spending trying to make all of these meals.  Time NOT spent with my children, while they are wandering the house, finding candy hidden in places in the house.

 

This is hard.

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First of all toss all the junk you can find. I know it sucks and is hard but you have to do it.

Second, they WILL survive and eventually give in. We did GAPS the summer before last for my then 9 yr old. Brutal. W30 is like a vacation compared to GAPS. I think my child refused to eat for three days....then gave in. It sucked.

Hang tough. If they are dying for junk like crackers make a little snack platter with all good things, carrots and assorted veggies with guacamole, grapes or other fruit, a little dried fruit or raisins, nuts, sliced bananas with almond butter drizzled on top etc. whatever you can think of to give them some variety. Then they get to choose what they put into their mouths. Kids like control :-/

Also a get a white board or poster board. Make 4 sections veggies/fruit/ proteins/ fats. Help them to fill in the categories with the foods that they like....then when it is time to plan the menu, or pack their lunches get them to help. Tell them to choose a fruit, a veg( or two), a protein and a fat. Hopefully meals and lunches will begin to get eaten.

Good luck and hang in there. I have a 17 yr old who is the pickiest kid on the planet. I wish like crazy that I would have done a better job getting him to eat veggies when he was little enough that I still had some control!

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Excellent suggestions above!!

 

It sounds like you're doing great - doing this with kiddos is HARD. Kids with behavior issues? Even harder.  I'd suggest maybe loosening the reins and allowing 1-2 servings of fruit per day. This might help the kids realize that not all good things in life are restricted, and might guarantee them some calories while they adjust.

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Chris has some great suggestions - I love the idea of getting the kids involved with meal choices as well as preparation. They might love making zucchini noodles, for example, and be excited to eat them! That would also give you more time to spend with them, rather than feeling you're prep time is time away from them.

Please don't give in - I know how hard it might seem, and them not eating would be so hard to cope with, but I think it will be better in the long run.

Do they understand why it's a good idea for them to eat this way? Don't make the food "bad" or "good", but try and make it about health, and doing well at sport or in school.

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To add on to amberinos last statement, my 11 yr old DD and I talk about food a lot.

She is a typical kid who would prefer to snack on chips, popcorn, sweets etc....and she is allowed to have a little bit of crap food here and there because she is a kid and very active and very slender and I think it is ok in moderation....but we always talk about nutritional values. She wants chips as an after school snack, I say "ok but that has absolutely no nutritional value, what else will you have? Pick a fruit/veg, a protein and a fat"...she ends up with a small 'sampler plate' with all the good things and a few token chips in the mix. We are both getting what we want and she is learning the importance of feeding your body what it needs. Pretty valuable stuff :-)

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Thanks.  My daughter is a meat-lover and has done wonderfully so far.  My son doesn't really like any meat or vegetables and is desperate for some chips.  I'm not restricting them from fruit and will continue to encourage them to eat vegetables.

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That moderation sucks Tracy. Surely we should all be here to help each other get the best we can from turning our diets around. Whole30 has nothing to fear from the competition. Another forum I use which is specific to a plan with books for sale never moderates other diets and plans and we all get along well and discuss our successes and failures.

 

If I get banned for saying that so be it. I wish you all the best in your journey with your kids.

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Tracy, I'm sorry you felt/feel constrained.  There is nothing at all wrong with discussing the whole30 here or doing it with kids (other people have done so, and it might help you to seach for them on the board). I think perhaps it seemed like you were not doing the whole30 but instead doing the 21-day Sugar Detox (a similar, but different program, written by Diane Sanfilippo). I'm sure they were just thinking that writing about and discussing Diane's program would be confusing for others trying to follow the whole30, since some of the guidelines are different. 

 

Either way, you are doing a great thing for your kids!! If you ARE doing the 21-day sugar detox, you should know that Balanced Bites (Diane's blog) has a forum now for questions. If you are doing the whole30, then stay right here! 

 

Sorry again for the confusion.

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Thanks.  I'm winging it at this point - the subtleties between all of the different diets are beyond me.  I just need husband and kids not whining for the next month, or for the rest of our lives.

 

Today my daughter got sent to school with steak, deviled eggs and an orange.  I'm typing this realizing I sent no vegetables.  Not that she'd eat them.

 

Yesterday my son absolutely chowed down on sun butter and a sliced apple for his afternoon snack.  I sent turkey/mayo roll-ups with him because he really doesn't like beef.  I tried to blenderize the beef stew I made last night to send him with a beef/carrot soup.  It came out more like mash and it will probably come home with him.  He got an apple. 

 

Slipped and let both kids have dry rice Chex for breakfast.

 

I think to succeed with children I will have to look into the paleoified treats - pancakes and the like.  (Does that sentence get me kicked off this whole30 board?)

 

My husband is whining that I am cooking all the time.  And yet, you see that I really wasn't prepared to do school lunches this morning.  Tomorrow is another day.

Xandra and praxisproject like this

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Why are you spending so much more time in the kitchen? Was it ready meals before? My husband has always sat and talked to me as I prepared supper - but we don't have children. Does your husband feel as though he is doing more than his fair share of childcare? So many things to resolve :( 

 

Maybe you could get a production line going one day over the weekend with the kids and husband helping to fill the fridge and freezer with the makings of good meals and snacks for everyone. Just an idea. 

 

And as a Brit I can understand his love of sausage and mash! Try making your own sausages and serving them with cauli mash - it's fab. 

momof2kids likes this

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I suggest doing a big cook up of things over the weekend. On Saturdays I prepare a loose menu and shop then on Sunday I hard boil eggs, roast up some meats(usually cook ground beef, roast pork and chicken), par boil some veggies etc. it really helps to manage the week days which are super busy.

I also make lunches the afternoon/evening before. Actually I package up a weeks worth of nuts/dried fruit, chips (yes, a small snack sized bag with chips does go to scholol...so shoot me) any pantry type foods. Makes it easy to just grab the packets from the pantry and cold prepped food from the frig. Usually all I have to do is slice aplples and lunches are done.

Of course breakfast is trickier. You can whip up a frittata or paleo pancakes, or make paleo waffles on the weekend and freeze, or muffins, or crust less quiche.....lots of options but planning and prepping ahead is a HUGE help.

ddcat and drtracyb like this

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My children are 13, 9, and 18 months.  My 13 yo and 18 mo old are relatively easy.  My 13 year old is a great eater and I don't sweat it when she deviates from Paleo eating (school lunch once a week or when out with friends).  She eats what I serve and rarely complains... she likes white potatoes, so when our whole30 is up I will likely be reintroducing those :)  My baby is easy because he eats what we eat and is still nursing, so I don't worry about his nutrition.  

 

My biggest challenge is my 9 year old... his is such a picky eater!  He also tends towards hyperactivity... especially when he has too much sugar and gluten.  I have found that the only thing that works for him is cold turkey.  He doesn't get school lunch, because when he eats it he fills up enough for the day that he won't eat dinner.  Also, he doesn't get a snack when he gets home from school because if he eats something (even something healthy like carrot sticks or almonds), he takes the edge of his hunger enough that he won't eat dinner if it's not something he likes.  I sometime feel mean not letting him eat, but I have seen that he will eat healthy food if he gets hungry enough.

 

I'm hoping to eventually get to the point that I can loosen the reins on him a bit (like I do for my 13 year old), but last time we tried that he went right back to his picky habits, so this time we are going to spend a lot more time (like months and months) instilling the new habits before we back down :)

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Good luck! I'm sure it isn't easy! I don't have kids yet, so I definitely don't feel your pain, but this is why I plan to start them out paleo.

 

Although, hubby and I are considering adopting out of foster care too. Guess I'd better keep reading how you all convert your older kids...

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Make sure you have your eyes open if you pursue adoption.  We had no idea about how prevalent fetal alcohol syndrome is among the foster community.  We had no idea how fetal alcohol syndrome would impact our lives forever - our children looked "normal" when we adopted them, until we realized that they NEVER STOP MOVING.  My life has turned into a life of "special needs mom" and reacting to their hyperactivity.  Even this Whole30 is a desperate attempt to bring some peace into our lives.

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Sounds like dh is in for one screwy long over due awakening then. :/

If it's in the house, get rid of it.

Lunches are no new special meals. They are whatever was left over from dinner. Maybe a Friday exception.

I strongly recommend finding peace with being on the move. (I know not easy done!) This could be your silver living in implementing whole30! My first whole30, every time I wanted sugary starchy verboten carbs, I got up and did something. Seriously. Me and the kids landscaped my entire front yard and installed a 16' above ground pool and two raised vegetable gardens. 15 minutes here and there pays off. Go for walks. Make sheet tents in the living room. For many people, regardless of special needs or age, food is more self medicating emotional issues than feeding the body. I bet a lot of their begging is related to being sensory seeking and needing to do something constantly, even if it's just sitting there chewing. (Btw, maybe let them have gum? It drives me nuts, but it soothes many a kid.). Do you have active things for them to do? I limit electronics to weekend only, but for a kid that's obviously just about vibrate out of their own skin, we have dance Revolution, K'nect, Wii fitness and such. My only rule is the game must be multiplayer and they can't sit to play it.

Basically, make a list of stuff to do every time they ask for food. Don't make it an if/then punishment kind of thing. Just a change of topic, "oh we don't have any of that anymore! Let's have fun doing _____!"

Good luck!

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Sharyn - my husband is half German.  He does not help with the children.  He does not cook.  He does not clean.

 

In addition, he is acutely aware of his own wants and needs.

 

In my family, everyone's happiness rests squarely upon my shoulders.  Hence the eating disorder.

 

End of story.

If there were a dislike button I would click it. You need a hug x

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I'm sorry you have been discouraged from posting here. I admire your persistence well beyond what I could endure. I don't have the medical issues with my children that you are trying to address, but I will say that I let myself off the hook a lot for what my kids eat. I cook Whole30 foods for myself and serve those foods to them, but I also let them eat things like yogurt, some Halloween candy, and some junk snacks that they like. I've even been known to buy them a Happy Meal. ~~Let the tomatoes fly~~

 

I like the ideas above about providing healthy options for snacks, talking to your kids about their food choices, and letting them choose what goes on their snack plate. Our pediatrician reminds us that what he cares about is 5 servings of vegetables a day. That's my goal, and for the rest, I'm not rigid about it.

 

I have no suggestions other than to lose the guilt over your choices.  Even thinking about and making small changes in your family is more than what most people bother to do in their households.

 

Keep working and keep posting. You are an inspiration for me.

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Tracy - 

 

First, I'm really sorry that you feel confused and attacked here. That, in my opinion, is never okay.  We are all grown ups and should be able to communicate with more sensitivity than that.  Looking back on the original post, I can see how the other mod may have interpreted it that way, but you are still very welcome here and we are happy to support and encourage you along the way.  Most of us don't take our kids on the full Whole30 ride, but we do generally ask to keep the conversations here Whole30-focused (no pancake recipes, etc.). 

 

My oldest has activity-level issues as well (not FAS based) and we've found that one of her biggest triggers is corn syrup and potentially food dyes.  As you work through this process with your kiddos, I'd encourage you to keep a journal of their symptoms in conjunction with a food log.  That may help you see patterns you are otherwise too tired/stressed/overwhelmed to see. 

 

Please know that you're welcome here and we'll help you as much as we can.

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Sharyn - my husband is half German.  He does not help with the children.  He does not cook.  He does not clean.

 

In addition, he is acutely aware of his own wants and needs.

 

In my family, everyone's happiness rests squarely upon my shoulders.  Hence the eating disorder.

 

End of story.

I laughed at this...because of the truth of it!  I am Canadian of two dutch parents.  My dad sounds incredibly similar to your husband.   

 

My dad kind of wanted the world to stop and pay attention to him when he got home.  So, I can relate.

drtracyb and praxisproject like this

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Lol. 

 

Sharyn - I forwarded it.  I know what his response is going to be.  "What's this bullsh*t?"  But it is sweet.  I don't mean to go off topic, but my world consists of my two special needs children, my dad who is in a nursing home for alcohol-induced dementia, and my husband who I believe has Asperger's.  On nights and weekends I am a graveyard emergency veterinarian.

 

Caring for myself is something new and hard to squeeze in.  But this Whole30, and an eventual lifetime transition down to "only" Paleo, is a good step.  Things will get easier when I get a collection of Whole30 or Paleo recipes to cycle between.  Our family depended a lot on pasta and rice.  And wheat-based snack foods for the children (goldfish and chips).

 

Xandra - you make me laugh.  Yesterday, as it turned out, my son did eat his beef stew.  His teacher said he first said he did not want it, but she left it out for him and found the container empty later.  When I picked the kids up, they BEGGED me to take them to McDonalds.  My son SOBBED, begging to go.  And not just to McDonald's play area.  Specifically, a McDonald's hot fudge sundae.  I won't admit on this forum whether I caved or not, for fear of the flying tomatoes also.

 

I actually made cauliflower tortillas yesterday.  The first batch was wonderful and the kids ate them.  Cool trick to get them to eat cauliflower.  Is that swypo for kids?  Or is it finding an appropriate way to get veggies in.  Unfortunately, I didn't use parchment paper under the second batch and it stuck to the cookie sheet and I had to soak the sheet in water to scrape them off.

 

Last night I pureed the carrots from the beef stew with some ghee and a bit of ginger.  The kids had leftover stew and carrot ginger puree and ate it well.  Today it was hot dogs for breakfast and hot dogs for lunch, as I was again disorganized.  There are only so many hours in the day, and yesterday was parent-teacher conferences for both kids.

 

Lol, and, to add insult to injury, my husband cleared out the bank account today to pay the mortgage, so all we have in the house is chicken and hot dogs and a couple of apples.  So much for a varied diet.

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I totally agree about the hours in a day. In addition to hotdogs, I'll share some of my shortcuts:

 

- Crockpot of broth going on the counter 24/7. I'll use the bones for a week before replacing. Chicken broth always ready to drink or use in recipes. Even if you ran out of grocery money, you could still have broth.

 

- Deli meats and cooked ground beef ready to add to any dish

 

- 6 hardboiled eggs peeled in the fridge at all times (I actually bought this Cuisinart egg cooker to make HB eggs and it's a breeze now http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-CEC-7-Egg-Cooker/dp/B0000A1ZN9/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1383767037&sr=1-1&keywords=cuisinart+7+egg). This is in addition to regular eggs for poaching.

 

- Frozen cooked shrimp in the freezer, on the table in one minute after soaking in warm water

 

- Frozen veg: Coscto bags of broccoli, Normandy mixed veg, and chopped kale.  Some of these are always cooked and ready in the fridge, or can be steamed in minutes.

 

- Cans of sardines in the cupboard

 

- I try to always keep a soup in the fridge.  I like boiled sweet potato or baked squash, along with carrots, sautéed onions, and about an inch of freshly grated ginger. Boil and simmer in chicken broth, then blend with an immersion blender when everything is soft.

 

- Avocado and homemade mayo are the usual added fats. Mayo is surprisingly versatile. If I'm in a good mood, I'll make a caveman ketchup (no sugar), too.

 

Now you have a variety of ingredients to serve up in any combination even if you don't have time to cook.

amyswan and drtracyb like this

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Lots of good information in this thread - thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I always make one extra meal on Sunday or Monday, something hands off (usually crockpot meat/stew or a roasted chicken and a tray of roasted veggies). I use the throw away crock pot liners sometimes and foil on the baking sheets so no cleanup is required. We use that meal as the building blocks for lunches or dinners until it runs out. I keep baked potatoes in the fridge and our emergency dinners are always some sort of breakfast.

Xandra and drtracyb like this

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