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Extremely Fussy eaters, meals and lunch boxes

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I am leading into doing a Whole30 and would love to include my kids. I want to at least move them towards a more Paleo way of eating before I consider Whole30 with them.


I have been eating a partially paleo diet for a while and have discovered that I feel a lot better on it. Some persistent rashes and gut problems have improved or stopped since doing this. I feel better when I don't eat grains at all. Previously I was on a low gluten diet with spelt flour products. My husband is supportive in that he doesn't complain that I choose to eat this way but is critical of the 'eating fat' part of the diet. My children constantly complain and refuse to eat most of what I serve. As the person who prepares most of the meals, I am finding the criticism from my family hard. My husband for the most part will eat what I serve, though often I realise he is less than thrilled. He has always been a fussy eater and our 2 children, an 8 year old daughter and 5 year old son have inherited this tendency and refuse to eat anything unfamiliar. They would rather go to bed hungry and this is their response to everything I serve (unless its bolognaise on pasta, home-made pizza with standard dough base or takeaway). We have had a pretty healthy diet (at least what I thought was healthy) and they both enjoy raw vegetables and will eat a lot of fruit. I have been trying to vary meals but they will only happily eat either salad or raw vegetables. They don't like them cooked. They also only eat certain vegetables (carrot, celery, cucumber, tomato, corn).


I find it really hard to pack a protein source for lunch boxes that they will actually eat. They like sandwiches and fruit and that's it. They also differ in their fussy food triggers. My daughter will eat ham roll-ups but my son won't. My daughter likes boiled eggs but won't eat them cold my son won't eat them at all. They both like peanut butter (which I now know is actually a legume) but won't eat any other nut butters. They want them on sandwiches anyway. I've looked at lots of paleo kids lunch box ideas and the protein is not anything my kids will eat. My son is constantly hungry but will only eat things like fruit or sandwiches with only honey on them. He will eat a chicken drumstick if it is the only option but only if its warmed up which wouldn't work for lunch boxes. Avocado or any kind of egg or tuna salad would get a 'yuck'. Any ideas on what I can try??

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I'm not a moderator but another mum in Australia who can relate to what you are saying! I'm doing the Whole 30 on my own and spending a lot of time preparing approved meals, which are often rejected by my husband and daughter. I then have to clean up the kitchen and cook something else for them. Isn't is awful seeing them eat so much pasta, bread, cereal and sugary treats while our lovely nutrient dense food is there to enjoy.


I too have tried to pack alternative lunches (I got some ideas from here http://nomnompaleo.com/post/30267255011/a-week-of-paleo-school-lunches-part-1-of-5) but they would mostly come back uneaten. I hate throwing away good food. In fact the teacher actually took me aside and told me to pack 'normal' sandwiches, maybe with jam or honey. Sigh. So I compromise now, by including a sandwich, but also a container with cut up fresh vegetables for a mini salad (cucumber, cherry tomatoes carrot, celery etc). There is no protein as it never gets eaten. Instead I make sure she has a good breakfast - eggs almost every morning and I insist she eats meat at dinner time.


I have heard that children often need to see/taste something many times before they accept it, and that in the long run they won't starve themselves. But the thing is, seeing them digging in their heels and missing meals isn't easy as a parent. Especially because it could affect their energy and attention spans in the classroom.

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I also tried to switch my family over to Paleo.  The family was agreeable at first but my teenage daughter began to complain that she was eating weird (and trying to explain to her that she wasn't the weird one for eating real food did not go over well).  I made my children turkey or ham roll ups as well.  My son loves pizza so I started making him pizza roll ups - pepperoni rolled around raw cheddar cheese.  (They have gone back to eaten "regular" sandwiches and all the other SAD foods they were eating before.)


Have you tried sunbutter.  It tastes just like peanut butter.  My picky husband likes it better than peanut butter actually.  You could make apple and sunbutter sandwiches.  If your children can't live without sandwiches, there's a bread recipe on the blog Against All Grain.  It is made with cashew butter and is the best "paleo" bread that I have made.  You might try that for a sunbutter and jelly sandwich.


I agree with Sarah about checking out Nom Nom Paleo's site for lunch ideas, too. 


Good luck!

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I have three young kids and I hear you on this one! My husband is an extremely picky eater, too (I swear he would eat hotdogs and fries every night if he could). So here are some things I've done:


1. I bought the cookbook Paleo Cooking for Cavekids. The recipes are very basic, but the key is that each step of the recipe is cartoon illustrated so kids can make the recipe themselves. It really helped get my kids in the kitchen. And when they cook it themselves, they are more open to eating it.


2. Along the same lines as #1, I simply make an effort to get the kids in the kitchen more. I have to learn to overlook the mess. But when my daughter chops the carrots herself or stirs butter into the broccoli, she's a lot more likely to at least try it.


3. I offer it over and over again. When I first started giving my kids bone broth, they turned up their noses at it. I kept offering it (mostly at breakfast). I made sure to always offer it when I knew they were hungry. Now they LOVE it, and smack their lips and say "yum" when I give it to them.


4. I bought the book Paleo Pals. It is a kid book about how paleo eating is healthy. For a while after reading it together, my eldest daughter was constantly talking about "healthy" foods being "good for her body." It helped get the message across in a kid-friendly way that wasn't just me preaching to her.


5. I use the bento trick of making food fancy. I shape an organic hotdog into an octopus or flower. I shape hard-boiled eggs (with molds) into cars or hearts or bunnies. I cut meat (like slices of roasted turkey breast) into shapes with cookie cutters. I do the same with veggies like cucumbers. I spear things (meats, cheese, fruit, veggies) on cute cartoon picks to make it interesting to kids.


6. I compromise. I try to use "safe starches" when I can. For example, I make the kids' chicken noodle soup with rice noodles instead of wheat noodles. I am willing to pour cheese sauce (made with rice flour) all over veggies if it'll get my kids to eat them. I make homemade popsicles with greek yogurt and blended fruit. They eat these for breakfast and think it's a treat, but I consider it a pretty healthy breakfast.


7. I gradually add it in. When I make the aforementioned noodle soup, I use 2/3 rice noodles and 1/3 zuchinni noodles. The kids get used to the "zoodles" so they're more open to zuchinni in general.


8. I am constantly exploring new recipes. Cauliflower pizza crust. Paleo "corn dogs" muffins. Almond flour blueberry muffins. Coconut flour pancakes. A lot... and I mean A LOT... of SWYPO recipes are bad. Not even close to the real thing. But some are pretty decent. And if you find a good one, keep it.


9. Sometimes I just put my foot down. I made an egg casserole the other day that was just egg, ground meat, and sauteed veg. Kids hated it and refused to eat it for breakfast. I let them know that this was the breakfast I was serving, and that they would not get anything else to eat until our usual mid-morning snack. They accepted this, and they were fine until they're snack, but it's important to me that they know I am not a short order cook, and that I believe the healthy foods I offer are the best for their bodies.


10. I serve plenty of what I know they will eat. My kids like bacon. They don't like eggs. For breakfast, I serve bacon, eggs, and fruit. I know they'll eat the bacon and fruit. At least that's something.


11. We have a three bite rule. Before you can have seconds of anything, you must have three bites of everything on your plate.


12. I don't make foods forbidden. They are going to encounter pizza and spaghetti and cupcakes in everyday life. My kids get these things sometimes. I believe that making foods forbidden only makes them more tempting. Unlike some kids I know, mine will leave half a

cupcake or cookie behind when they've "had enough."


Do my kids eat healthy all the time? No. Not at all. They don't eat nearly as healthy as I'd like, as often as I'd like. But as parents, I think we just should do the best we can do, and not sweat the small stuff too much.

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I like the above suggestions  We do a lot of things the same way.


This might be tough if your husband is a picky eater and isn't on board, but this is what we do:


1) What I make is what's for dinner, but I try to have something on the table that I know they will eat

2) They have to try everything before having seconds of anything

3) If you complain or make icky noises, you get more of what they're complaining about.  If you nicely say "I don't really like that" you can be done


My kids are really good eaters.  They don't like everything, but they will try most everything and will eat the things they don't hate.  It might take some time, but if you're consistent, they should come around.


Good luck!

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I was trying to cook to please my husband but he keeps declaring that the paleo food is disgusting.  Now I just cook for the kids and me.  He can eat what I made or cook something else for himself.


My kids are doing wonderfully except when he sabotages me.  They miss regular treats like ice cream and cheese but I have replaced them with paleofied versions of them so they don't know the difference.  It is only when my husband gets lazy and gives them something off plan that I get frustrated.  He fed them McDonalds chicken nuggets rather than a meal that I had prepared for them and my daughter broke with diarrhea the next day.  She regrets eating the chicken nuggets and is really proud when she eats "healthy food."

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