drtracyb

Trying to eat better with kids - this is HARD

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Oh! And one more idea from my days teaching elementary school: Kids really DO like fun lunch boxes. Look up the Japanese bento boxes online. I actually bring my own lunch to work in an Indian tiffin pot, which I love -- it's a stackable set of three metal bowls that lock into place with a lid on top. Very leak proof, and I keep three different things in three different places, so no mush. Kids might find lunch more fun with that system too. You can find stackable metal tiffin boxes or pots online also. Let them pick one! 

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The kids and I are back on the plan, whole30 for me, paleo for them.  I made a paleo pot pie last night before I went to work my overnight shift.  My husband told me this morning it was a huge hit.  *Especially after he slathered it with Maggi Seasoning (soy and msg).  I sure hope they don't bounce off the ceiling today.  I will see them at kindergarten pickup.  Boo hoo hoo.

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I am feeling a bit deflated today because my husband keeps sabotaging my attempts to keep my kids compliant.  Not really on purpose, but because he gets overwhelmed when he is watching the kids when I am not home, and he falls back on his "go to" noncompliant meals.  I am gone every Fri night to Sunday morning (squeezing my 32-hour work week into two days), and no matter how much I prep and leave notes before I leave, by the time I come home, the kids are ricocheting off the ceiling and have been noncompliant all weekend.

 

I took this weekend hard, because I personally wanted to do a whole30 starting May 1.  But coming home to a household that was out of control triggered all of my self-destructive tendencies and I sabotaged my own diet as well as continuing the destruction wrought by my husband.

 

So, here it is, May 7, and today is a less-exciting day 1 of my May Whole30.

 

Tracy

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The kids and I are doing well on our May Whole30 (the kids are paleo, not whole30).  The behavior changes we see when we let the kids go off plan reinforce our belief that Paleo is worth all the effort it takes.  And my kids have taken it to heart - my daughter actually comes and asks for "healthy food" when she starts feeling ill from off-roading.

 

Yesterday I was at Whole Foods trying to buy kindergarten lunch for a field trip.  All the other kids get lunchables, of course.  I was tempted to buy the Whole Foods version of lunch box but it had crackers and cheese in it so I had to take a pass on it.  I ended up getting them chicken salad from the deli and coconut milk yogurt.  They are still not great vegetable eaters but will eat various veggie mashes or muffins with veggies incorporated.  And I can't for the life of me get them to drink smoothies.

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No, it's just mainly when he is out and about.  He is British so "sausage rolls" are big on the favorite treats list.  And then of course chicken nuggets and french fries are the go-to restaurant meal.  I know how he feels, it is really tempting to choose those simple items rather than stay compliant.  But we've had some pretty strong behavior changes after going off-plan, so I do believe the restricted diet helps.

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I am so sorry that you have this giant mess of stress. I can only imagine how hard it is to try to keep it under control.

 

I have two severely ADHD kids, one with additional problems (still diagnosing). I committed to grain-free-sweets-free a few weeks ago (on the loooooong road to a W30) and it has turned them into wild balls of desire for junk food, sugar and bread products. Like, totally off-the-charts crazy to get their hands on it. It is utterly exhausting to head them off at the pass. We live walking distance to a convenience store and a grocery store, and they have allowances, so they plot like fiends to get outside and sneak off to the store.

 

In an attempt to regain some control, I feed them a large cooked breakfast, plus their vitamins and DHA and a large glass of water. We also are eating dinner earlier and earlier and I'm spending a lot of time teaching the middle child (3, two with ADHD) to cook so he will feel like he has more control.

 

I wish I had some advice to offer but I really don't. One big hurdle for anyone on a specialized eating plan is the development of cooking skills so it doesn't feel as hard to cook a meal. We're trying to get better/faster so that dinner prep doesn't seem as overwhelming. It's hard, though, when kids are hungry and bouncing off the ceiling. My teenager (almost 17, the oldest with ADHD) has been cooking with me since she was 2, and in the last 6 months has actually become very proficient. But man oh man the mess she makes! 

 

Please keep posting updates. You are not alone, even if it feels like it sometimes.  :-)

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Thanks, it is nice to have this forum.  My kids have fetal alcohol syndrome and are exquisitely sensitive to anything they ingest.  It shows up as severe hyperactivity.  It gives us great incentive to stick to the plan, as our lives are absolutely impossible when the kids are ricocheting.

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Oh, drtracyb, we are SO i the same boat. I feel like I could have written your post from 5/7. In my case, however, I have fallen far enough off my own wagon that I am also falling back on junk to get by.

 

We have had some really stressful months; I know that the food makes a huge difference but I am so worn down, that the weight of "everything revolves around food" lifestyle my kids need in order to behave normally. They don't have FAS, but they both have ADHD and other developmental issues. They are hypersensitive to additives.

 

My husband and I have tried to start W30 twice since February - a program that we loved was unfortunately out of our reach both times.

 

Your post has given me some incentive to try again.

 

Good luck with your W30.

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Alintx - hang in there.  You can see from the start of this thread that my children's initial introduction to paleo was hard.  The paleo muffins really, really helped in the transition.  My son has sensory issues and intensely craves the feel of eating bready foods like muffins and rice.  I do let him have rice intermittently as I have not seen it cause any behavior changes.  And I make paleo muffins every chance I can, as I usually make parsnip-carrot muffins from thepaleomom.  I also make date-almond balls for them.  Our life is so much better with our children paleo.  It does not negate the need for ritalin, but they are so much better on both.  They like feeling in control of their bodies, too, so are appreciative when we have stuck to the plan.  I am glad to be able to use this forum to discuss having kids paleo while I am more strictly whole30.

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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.

And his is why the world needs more people like you.  That will give a chance to those kids.  Good Job!  :)

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18 months in to this, my daughter begs for the "healthy diet" any time she eats too much junk food.  My kids aren't 100% paleo anymore, as my husband won't stick to it, but I still stick to a paleo diet with them when I am in charge of their meals.  Their behavior is drastically better than it was 18 months ago when we started all of this.

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I haven't read ALL of the comments, because I'm a mom. There's a lot to read. You get the picture.

 

Here is my situation: I have a 9yo boy, accutely ADHD, with major impulse control issues. He's been gluten- and dairy-free for years, but he's not liking this Whole30 thing, as I never took his sugar away before. (Yeah, parent fail, I know.)  DS is on Focalin, which leaves him with NO appetite at least 4 hours out of a day, 8 if it's a full day (we homeschool so that we don't have to do the full dose everyday!). Once the meds wear off, he never stops eating. He'll eat before dinner, then eat all of his dinner, and then wants more and hour after dinner. I've removed EVERYTHING non-compliant from our home, so I'm not worried about that. I should also add that little man probably has about 1% body fat. He could actually stand to gain a pound or two (oh, to be so lucky!).

 

Should I let him snack when he wants to snack as long as it's compliant? For now, do I let him have the fruit, since I've just taken away his breads, candies, sugar drinks, or insist on limiting it as well? 

 

Baby steps, or cold turkey?

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I haven't read ALL of the comments, because I'm a mom. There's a lot to read. You get the picture.

 

Here is my situation: I have a 9yo boy, accutely ADHD, with major impulse control issues. He's been gluten- and dairy-free for years, but he's not liking this Whole30 thing, as I never took his sugar away before. (Yeah, parent fail, I know.)  DS is on Focalin, which leaves him with NO appetite at least 4 hours out of a day, 8 if it's a full day (we homeschool so that we don't have to do the full dose everyday!). Once the meds wear off, he never stops eating. He'll eat before dinner, then eat all of his dinner, and then wants more and hour after dinner. I've removed EVERYTHING non-compliant from our home, so I'm not worried about that. I should also add that little man probably has about 1% body fat. He could actually stand to gain a pound or two (oh, to be so lucky!).

 

Should I let him snack when he wants to snack as long as it's compliant? For now, do I let him have the fruit, since I've just taken away his breads, candies, sugar drinks, or insist on limiting it as well? 

 

Baby steps, or cold turkey?

 

Let me preface by saying -- I don't have kids, so this is not from personal experience with that part.

 

Having a child do a Whole30 is very different than you as an adult choosing to do one yourself -- some of the rules are primarily meant to deal with psychological and emotional aspects of eating that 9 year old boys are more than likely not dealing with (things like the SWYPO concept, for instance). 

 

In general, we tell people on a Whole30 to eat when they're hungry -- even if it means eating between meals. We encourage participants to have mini-meals with fat, protein, and veggies, not just fruit on its own or combos like fruit and nuts -- part of that is because of how just fruit on its own can affect blood sugar (the spike, and then the crash -- just like any sugar will do), part of it is about protein and fat being more satiating than just fruit. (Part of it is also things like feeding a sugar dragon or eating out of habit or emotional eating, but those don't really seem to apply to this case.)  If you can convince him to have snacks that meet that template, rather than just fruit on its own, that would be ideal -- but I've seen my sister dealing with my ADHD nephew and know that sometimes, getting them to do what you say is just not going to happen. Pick your battles, do the best you can to get the best quality foods in him that you can, and try not to stress about it too much.

 

I personally wouldn't worry so much about limiting fruit as making sure he eats plenty of protein, fat, and veggies first. If he's gotten a day's worth of those three things (three meals' worth throughout the day, whether it's traditional breakfast, lunch, & dinner, or more like breakfast, pre-supper snack, supper, post-supper snack, second supper, & pre-bed snack), based on the template, using his palm for protein sizes and his thumb for fat), and he still wants more food, and he chooses fruit, you're doing good. (And again, I understand you can't always make him do the things you know are best for him, so maybe you have good days and bad days -- that's okay. Just go with it. Do the best you can, and try not to stress about it too much.)

 

You might also find this article about Keeping Weight On During A Whole30 helpful. 

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I assume you've removed all dyes from his diet?  Have you figured out where the "acute" onset of ADHD came from?  Perhaps he has some other trigger.

 

My kids, too, have no body fat.  They are excellent eaters, even on their concerta.  But they gain no weight.  They also do not care for sugar.  I make a ton of date/nut balls weekly; thepaleomom zucchini/parsnip muffins.  My daughter will eat bacon like there is no tomorrow.  Rochel's cashew bread for bread cravings.

 

When my kids go on a food binge, I do think it is an OCD thing.  I will make them alternate between a "real meal", i.e., something protein-based, and a "snack", which in their cases is things like peaches, grapefruit, nutballs (date-nut), muffins.  My daughter will oblige by eating a second meal just so she can have a second serving of her snack.

 

So if he goes on food binges, perhaps you need to take a look at whether you think he got enough calories for the day and whether his eating behavior is out of boredom or compulsive behavior. I feel stupid telling my 36 lb 8 year-old that she can't eat again, but I do want to make her aware of compulsive behavior and how to control it.  Because a day may come when our children are not at 1% body fat and I fear then that may lead to obesity if they don't learn to control the behavior.

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drtracyb -  I knew some ADHD kids who craved butter and bacon.   They would eat entire sticks of butter in one setting.  I think their brains were craving and missing good fats/elements.   They were tiny little kids.   That did not hold true by high school graduation and it went the other direction.   Now they are struggling with obesity.   It's really difficult and kudos to you for working through all of this.

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My son likes butter straight, too.  They don't have access to bread and butter that often, so when we are at a restaurant, I do put his pat of butter on top of his bread without spreading it, because I know he is going to want to eat it straight.  When he first showed an interest in butter, it made me think of the ketogenic diet for epilepsy and so it felt ok to me to let him eat butter.  That was way before we ever went paleo.  My kids have fetal alcohol syndrome, so all of their brain connections are completely mis-wired, including their brain chemistry.  Anything that helps them re-establish normal chemistry is good in my mind.

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I think children are instinctively reaching out for anything that will help relieve the symptoms.  I believe adults do this, too.

 

Where it went off the rails for the kids I mentioned up above, the parents started letting them eat boxes of powdered donuts and sugary sweets of every kind for years.   The butter and bacon would've been much much better.   

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It's very hard for me to tell if his evening binges are truly hunger or if they are emotional/boredom eating. I only wonder because he goes straight for the sugar every time. He definitely has a Sugar Dragon.

 

I'm making up 'mini-meal' boxes for him with small servings of startchy veggies, fruit, fat, and protein and keeping them in the fridge for 2nd Breakfasts and 2nd Dinners! Hopefully that will keep him satisfied, and we will find out if it is truly hunger, boredom, or sugar cravings!

 

Yes, we have removed all artificial dyes and sweeteners at the same time that we removed gluten (about 3 years ago).  

 

Thanks for all of the suggestions!

 

 

 

 

 

3 days to the Whole30!

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We also do second breakfast, second lunch.  They never really eat what I send to school anyway.

 

Anyway, I did want to reiterate that, compared to my initial post 18 months ago, things are a lot easier for us now.  Both kids have confirmed diagnoses (fetal alcohol syndrome, ADHD, and son has secondary autism).  They are both medicated (concerta (extended-release ritalin), intuniv (extended release tenex), melatonin, dye-free gummy vites, and gummy fishes).  And they are comfortable with our "healthy diet", love chicken broth, nomnompaleo cracklin chicken, well fed chocolate chili, thepaleomom carrot-parsnip muffins, pureed carrots, paleo spaghetti and meatballs, paleo bolognese, spiralized zucchini noodles, Instant Pot well fed rogan josh. 

 

Life is not easy, but it is better than it was.

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