Kids Fed Forbidden Food By Caregiver


mgrazor

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My husband and I, together with our 3 kids (ages 4, 3, and 1.5) are on day 12 of our Whole30. It has really been going well in so many ways, with remarkable cooperation from the kids. But this afternoon I had a caregiver with the kids for an hour and (despite my instructions) SHE FED THEM AS MANY PRETZELS AS THEY WANTED TO EAT. This is the first time I've cried in a long time. I realize that we probably have to start the Whole30 all over again, but could somebody please confirm this? Also, is there anything else I can do to correct/mitigate the effects of the pretzels? Thank you.

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I hesitate to contradict Tom here, but I think you need to take a deep breath and relax. It was extremely poor form for the person you put your trust in to watch your children to completely disregard your instructions, but I wouldn't start everybody's whole30 over. You and your husband didn't partake, right? Keep going.

Your children aren't really conscious participants in the whole30, they're really just along for the ride. Use this as a learning experience for them. (the older ones anyway) Ask them how they felt afterwards and see if they felt sick or lost some attention/focus. Etc

Additionally, it is almost impossible to keep your children away from non approved foods in the long term. They'll go over friends' houses, school will have a non approved snack, etc. I think your goal for them should really focus on how these foods affect them and just reinforce healthy eating habits for them for the long term.

Life happens. Just breathe!

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I have to agree with Renee... the fact that the caretaker deliberately disobeyed your instructions is (in my mind) enough to not hire that person again. But with our kids (6, 10, 12) we pretty much use W30s for awareness for them.

Like Renee said, we ask them how they felt after they ate the candy bar they were given at school. With one child behavior changes are linked to food and when she starts getting in trouble a lot we ask her how she's been eating... things like that.

For the kids, I feel like they are being exposed to the idea that there are different ways to eat and that food effects how we feel. I doubt our kids have ever truly made a W30, but they do eat (and like!) a lot more healthy food than they might have otherwise.

I don't even know you, but I'm mad at that caretaker! That's ridiculous!

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You'll go crazy trying to make your kid's diets perfect - to the point that you could give them weird issues with food. I'd step back, relax, and just keep trucking along. Now, if YOU ate the pretzels, yeah, Whole30 starts over - but, that's not what happened.

I can't for the life of me get my father-in-law to respect any requests I make regarding food, but I'm not willing to keep my daughter away from their house over it. The best I can do is to feed her healthy food, ask that others do so, and teach her healthy habits as she grows up. I ultimately can't and shouldn't force her to adhere strictly to paleo. It took me a while to not let it stress me so much, but all I have to do is think about how much healthier she is than a lot of kids I see around, despite the cookies grandpa sneaks her, and I know that I'm doing the best I can.

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Thank you all! Every reply was very helpful. I didn't realize how tightly wound I was about the Whole30 until the mishap, so I think I needed it to happen to show me where I was going with this. Thanks again for offering guidance and support when I needed it :-)

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The moderators have done an excellent job here of navigating the dicey situation of an inadvertent "contamination". A big part of the Whole30 is learning to make better choices, and since your kids aren't equipped with all of the decision-making faculties that we adults are, they can't really be held to the same standard as us. As Tom said, there are definite consequences of the pretzels, but since you (the adult) didn't make a deliberate choice to indulge, just move on. There should be no guilt or stress associated with a choice that *you* did not make. Do the best you can, knowing that you are leading your family into a healthier future. And... perhaps have a stern conversation with your caregiver. ;)

Dallas

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  • 4 weeks later...

When it comes to my kids I'm going for the 90%+ option. I can control what they eat 90%+ of the time. But some times kids will be kids and do exactly what you told them not to (i.e. poke their brother, take toys in the car, pain the walls and the dog...). So if you educate them, they hopefully will make the least dammaging choice when there are options. But, it becomes a teaching moment when they eat the non-paleo foods and they feel like garbage. That's when you really press home that their current state (pain/nausea/discomfort/malase) is directly related to what they ate. They will do this more than once, but hopefully they will learn. As far as for the babysitter, she did what you told her not to do and she is an adult, for that I am not a fan. However, when my kids are babysat, it is the one time they are allowed to have non-paleo foods and they get to pick only one thing. It is not a free for all and mom has final say. That way the babysitter gets a bit more compliance and her being there is more enjoyable so they don't miss mom and dad too much.

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  • 2 months later...

I agree with the easing up. Kids probably do not need the system reset like we do after years and years of bad eating or whatever it is that prompted you to start the whole30. My kiddos will be doing it as well, but I am not worried nor would I keep them from social things where they would eat non paleo food. Kids will learn by our habits and examples:) For example, my husband naturally loves veggies because that is what his family ate on a regular basis and it wasn't the same for me.....I still have to choke them down, but my kids they will grow up eating their veggies and stuff just fine because that is what we do, but they will still enjoy normal treats:) No worries and I am glad you learned from the experience......I hope all goes well!

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Hang in there mgrazor! I agree with Renee (and everyone else). I am sure your children are eating better foods than 95% of the children you know. I just began Paleo this year. My family still eats grains and dairy. To effect change in them painlessly, I have chosen to introduce new Paleo foods to my kids (while reducing the frequency of the other stuff) and have begun to teach them to read labels on the foods they eat. My 8 year-old really gets it. He doesn't make the best choices all the time, but he is making BETTER choices today than he did at the beginning of the year. Just yesterday I had a discussion with my 6 and 8 year olds about school lunches and I told them two days a week they could eat at school IF THEY WANT TO and the other days I will make them a yummy lunch. They both agreed they probably won't even eat two days at school. That is THEIR choice, not mine. It would be easy for me to say "You can't eat lunch at school." but they would rebel and they wouldn't learn to make good decisions for themselves. Every new healthy food they learn to love gives them more opportunities to make good choices regarding their food. All in all, they make me proud. Give them a chance and your kids will amaze you too!

P.S. Not sure how others handle this one but my kids go to a lot of birthday parties. I let them eat whatever is served, usually pizza and cake. If they had an allergy, I certainly wouldn't let them have these things every time, but personally I am not going to force them to abstain just to prove a nutritional point at the party. Don't want to offend the hosts or start a discussion about food. Trying to pick my battles and for me this one isn't worth it. :) Eventually they can make the decision for themselves.

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School is back here in 24 days (lol, who's counting? Me!!!). What are you planning to put in their lunchbox ?

Derval - We start on the 13th. Just around the corner.

As for lunches and school snacks, I try to do fresh fruit and trail mix mostly but they also eat pretzels, wheat thins and clif bars. No it's not Paleo, but they are not doing a Whole30, I am. I have been making banana chips and they LOVE those. I have 12 bananas drying in my dehydrator right now. Fruit rollups are another favorite treat - Just unsweetened applesauce or applesauce and strawberries. Pretty simple. For lunch they actually like shrimp with just a bit of ketchup (organic, no HFCS). My daughter loves chicken caesar salad so sometimes she took that in kindergarten. :) They still eat cheese so string cheese or cheese cubes go in sometimes. They like a variety of foods in their lunch so I generally only send a half a sandwich plus fruit, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, a couple cucumber slices, some greek yogurt dip on occasion, trail mix etc. They drink water at school. Too much of a hassle to send in milk or buy it at school and they like water. I just put a plastic cup in their lunchbox and they go to the water fountain. I made Primal Protein bars last year and cut them into tiny pieces to fill a small snack container. They loved those. Guess I need to make some of those this week too. I also plan to send some bites of grilled chicken in their lunches this year. It can be eaten cold and they like it fairly well. I also bought some of the applesauce fruit crushers at TJ's yesterday for a once or twice a week treat. If I make their lunches slightly more fun, they won't even want to eat the stuff at school. The price for school lunches goes up to $2.15 this year and I can make a MUCH better lunch for less than that. Their school lunches are probably better than a lot of school's options, but not as good as mine. :)

What do you make for school lunches?

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Last year I was giving them "normal" stuff - sandwiches/oatcakes and fruit. Dd gets free milk too. This year I want to try go gluten free. I have an idea in my head of how I'd like them to eat but more often than not I don't have the energy to see it through and fight the fight :(

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Last year I was giving them "normal" stuff - sandwiches/oatcakes and fruit. Dd gets free milk too. This year I want to try go gluten free. I have an idea in my head of how I'd like them to eat but more often than not I don't have the energy to see it through and fight the fight :(

Double :(

I feel your pain!!! Going to send you a PM with some suggestions. We made pretty good progress the last 12 months by making very small changes and building from there. Hang in there!!!

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This seems to be one of the biggest issues with Good Food kids that I've come across - especially as a parent! My kiddos go to a private school that only serves snacks, so I pack their lunch daily. I was lucky to be able to make the request that they be gluten, HFCS, and dairy free (and explained to their teachers that they would really rather not let my kids have those things. I may have thrown an Exorcist reference in there). However... Their Grandma plays dumb quite often when it comes to what they eat. They come home having had granola bars, cereals (mainly gluten free, so that's good), fast food... This makes me less than happy.

When it comes to special occasions, I try to go prepared. My kiddos have pretty strong behavioral, and some physical, reactions to gluten, HFCS and dairy. Those are in almost every party food. So, I make my own batch of cupcakes, pack a salty snack and feed them before we go. We generally don't have too much trouble with them complaining. If I don't prepare, well, then that's my fault and they get to have a cupcake.

The approach I've taken with them is that of the "almost never", "sometimes" and "anytime" foods. HFCS (my four year old calls it yucky sugar) is almost never okay for us to have, gluten-containing - and even gf - goods (usually in the form of a cookie or cupcake at a birthday party) are only okay for our bodies sometimes, and fruits and veggies are okay for us to eat anytime. I don't want to put up a total barrier around certain foods because I'm determined not to attach any guilt to their food choices (only natural consequences). I want them to grow up with a solid appreciation of their own relationship with food - how it makes them feel, inside and out. I feel like there's more to it than just what and when to eat - I want them to learn how to eat.

Regardless of how you choose to feed your kiddos this school year, every one of you deserves a pat on the back for making changes in your lives and in the lives of your families!

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I've been doing something similar with my girl's lunches. They are not paleo, but I am working towards it with small baby steps. I bought them some fun bento-box type containers, some food cutters to make the veggies into fun shapes and am adding in new things a little at a time. Right now they are loving the black olives I have started including. I agree 90% is a great goal to reach for the kids! And my one step at a time approach is working so far, we even had gluten free cupcakes at my daughters birthday party. :D

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  • 2 years later...

"Additionally, it is almost impossible to keep your children away from non approved foods in the long term. They'll go over friends' houses, school will have a non approved snack, etc. I think your goal for them should really focus on how these foods affect them and just reinforce healthy eating habits for them for the long term."

Life happens. Just breathe!

 

Wise words to live by, Renee.

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My kids now beg me to put them on the "healthy diet" because they are sick of getting diarrhea every time they go off of it.  My husband doesn't keep them compliant when he is alone with them, so every Monday tends to be a fresh start for us.  I get their behavior in line by Friday when I hand them over to him so I can go off to work.  By Monday my daughter is declaring that she is never going off the healthy diet again, because she gets sick every weekend.  They also turn down any foods that have obvious food dye in them, without any prompting from me.

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