Are my kids eating enough?


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My family started the Whole30 on 7/1, so it's been a week.  I'd like some advice on how to move forward with children involved, as I'm worried about their food intake.  We have eaten full Paleo/GAPS diet in the past so the concept is not new to them, but they are not eating much at all, still, and skipping many meals where they'd normally eat exuberantly.  This time they are doing the Whole30 with us fully, due to extreme carb and sugar addiction as well as food allergies- that I'm hoping to heal, and eventually transition us all back to full Paleo. 


So my question is....the first few days they ate almost nothing, with the exception of my 3yo who has eaten this way most of her life and just gobbles down everything.  I have a 10yo with oral sensory issues who is extremely picky, and an 8yo who is usually not picky at all but recently is mimicking his brothers food issues, it seems.They were pretty lethargic and detoxing on Day 2 and 3, with headaches and some vomiting.  They perked up afterwards but they still seem lower on energy than usual and have bags under their eyes.  And of course asking for food constantly...although they're starting to give up on that because they know they're not getting the junky stuff.  I am offering the 3 meals plus 2-3 snacks for them so plenty of chances to eat through the day.


I would like to know if I should be concerned.  Here is what they each ate today (I kept track hoping it would make me feel better, but all I see is not enough calories to sustain them and too many nuts/sweet fruits):



Breakfast: handful of dried fruit with cashews, few bites of sausage, and a banana

Snack:  offered a huge fruit, veg, and nut plate and he ate one bite of pistachios

Lunch:  1 piece of lunchmeat, and a few carrots dipped in sunflower seed butter

Dinner:  1 piece of chicken thigh and a bite of veggie medley

Snack:  banana with sunflower butter



Breakfast:  3 bites of sausage, a few almonds, and 2 bites of pear and banana

Skipped snack

Lunch:  a few carrots with nut butter, 1/2 a piece of ham, and a few apple slices

Skippped snack

Dinner: Refused chicken and veggies

Snack:  banana


3yo (who is eating normally, just for comparison)-

Breakfast- half a piece of large sausage, a handful of trail mix with cashews and dried fruit, half a banana

Snack:  Half an apple, half a plum, and a handful of pistachios

Lunch:  Other half of the apple,. 1/2 c sweet potato chips dipped in zucchini hummus, a few baby carrots dipped in nut butter, and 2 pieces of ham

Dinner:  2 pieces of chicken thigh, a few bites of veggie medley

Snack:  nuts and herbal tea before bed

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Give them time. I know that food texture issues are tricky, but I highly doubt that your kids will starve themselves. If they were vomiting at all, I'm impressed that they ate as much as they did. Days where I've thrown up, I don't want to even think about food, let alone eat it. 


Keep offering them real, good, nutritious food. They should get the picture soon enough. 


(One note: I don't have kids yet. But my mother's approach with my siblings and I was exactly that - you eat what is served, or you don't eat. I have distinct memories of going to bed without dinner at least once, and I survived!)

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Hi Paleomom, I know my kids go though differing developmental stages where sometimes they seem to survive on air and other times they wolf food down like I have been starving them but anyway, reading your post seems to me like your kids are making a stand about the change in their diet and possibly asserting themselves around that. Have you thought about involving them in the processes of the food shopping/prep/menu organisation and choice and getting them more engaged with the process? Another option is perhaps marking the days of the month and explaining the time concept of it (even 10 year olds can have issues getting their heads around time concepts) and possibly turning it into a positive rewards/recognition endeavour of their efforts in involving themselves in W30 for the month?


These are things that have worked in the past for me with my kids and also in my client group (I'm a clinical social worker and I work with children and young people in private practice).

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  • 2 months later...

I am on day 13. My kids are 10 and 7.5 years old and at least 3 times this week they have not eaten lunch. It makes for a fractious evening as they wait for dinner to be made. But they are getting the hang of it or at least realising i am not going to budge. I am doing my best to find child friendly and tasty recipes but so far no sweets. Some days they have relied on the fruit in their homemade school lunch to see them through. The thing is i think they are getting such good breakfasts and dinners that they are perhaps just able to survive. I think they are using the school lunch to rebel but i really want to see it through. My 7 year old has always eaten a lot of fruit but really just lived on plain pasta and just the meat in each meal. She is already eating more vegetables and more types of vegetables than she has ever eaten. My ten year old is doing quite well, although today she did not eat any of her lunch and so right this minute is just hanging on until dinner is ready. I hope we can all see it through. I am not sure how we will do once we start to reintroduce things. I really do not want to reintroduce sugar or dairy at all.

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  • 4 weeks later...


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