Starting Whole30 with a toddler?


Taleena Ratliff

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Honestly, right now, our diets are atrocious. Seriously, SAD. I hope this is the one place I will be able to find support without judgement. It's really sad that I feel one of my biggest parenting achievements is never letting my son have soda, which is really common where I live. I am going to being starting Whole 30 for both of us, and originally I though the best method would be a quick dramatic change, because I don't have the will-power to keep unhealthy foods in the house and not eat to my heart's content. I do have some health issues, but I truly believe they can be changed through diet. Has anyone started a Whole 30 with kids? I really want to just get rid of everything in the kitchen, and start fresh, never allowing junk into the house. I know there will be several days, or weeks, involving protest, tantrums, or worse, but my thought is that he won't starve himself. He will eventually eat if there is nothing unhealthy for him to eat. Plus, he still nurses 4-8 times per day so I know he will be getting at least some of the nutrients he needs during the transition phase. I would really rather do a cold turkey change rather than dragging it out for weeks or months, and losing the motivation or will-power? Does this sound cruel. My son does like some healthy foods, and I know this will be a big change, but I just don't know the best way to go about it. Also, he is almost 2.5 if that helps.

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In short, you are not the only one.

Robin's got two little ones that have gone through this, and has battled tantrums.

Poking around the Whole30 for kids section for threads that catch your eye, or even searching just within that section will yield a lot of good info!

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Cold turkey is best. Be prepared to think your kid is starving himself for a little bit, or that he is eating a terribly unbalanced diet. Eventually he will get hungry enough to start eating more. Also, someone suggested once to me to act excited about what you're eating. That works sometimes for my daughter, especially if her dad does it. I cook with my toddler and she is more likely to just taste random vegetables while we're cooking.

Good luck, but know you're doing a great thing!

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As the mom of twin 8 year olds and a 4 year old (that I am hoping to transition to GF as a start), DO IT NOW! I cannot tell you how much harder it will be when your little one is more used to the bad stuff and more verbal. Of course, this is just my opinion and everyone here will support whatever choice you make. But you have a GREAT opportunity now.

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Thanks for the replies. We haven't started yet but I have cooked a few paleo or, paleo ish meals in the past few days. We sat down to eat together and minimized distractions. I made the rule that he at least has to try tge food. If he doesn't like it, I will give him something else, that is healthy. Tge first meal, he refused and every time he wanted food, I offered him the same plate., after a few hours, he realized he was hungry and not getting anything else. He tried it and liked it so much he asked for seconds and thirds. He really only ate the meat but I was ok with that because many toddlers go through phases where they get stuck and only want a few foods. There was a little crying but no real tantrum, and in the end, ge he was happy and said he felt better when his belly was full. He is very verbal for his age and has a vocabulary of at least 1,000 words, probably close to 1,500-2,000, which is why I was intimidated because the bad habits are already there, and he can communicate so well. so far, I feel successful and I probably won't ve too strict with the whole 30, but will eliminate everything unhealthy like processed foods and basins.

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I have 2 toddlers, 2.5 & 1 & just completed my 1st W30 yesterday. :) While my girls didn't do the W30 strictly, they did eat most meals with us with a few modifications here & there. I still don't fully accept that a Whole30 is the right diet for them at this age, so they continue to get 2 cups of milk, a little kefir, some grains, plenty of fruit & peas. But 90% of the food they eat is home cooked with no sugar so I know they are eating well overall...and getting LOTS of veggies! :) They only drink milk & water.

I think you can probably get rid of a lot of the items that are overly processed & things that you might crave without really affecting your son much. Both my girls are great eaters but the 2 year has recently gotten into the "I don't like it!" phase which totally took me by surprise. But like you, we made sure she stayed at the table, didn't offer her anything else, and sure enough, within 10 minutes, she had practically cleared her plate.

That being said, I do like to add some of their favourites to our meals. I noticed she was getting pretty tired of stirfrys (as was I to be honest). Both girls LOVE bbq chicken thighs (marinated for a short time in simple olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper). Here were some big winners with my toddlers:

Moroccon Meatballs http://www.theclothe...ccan-meatballs/: they literally could not get enough of these. I'm not exaggerating when I say that they each ate an adult sized portion of these. They are delicious. I'll make a double or triple batch next time. I served them with brown rice pasta for them which they love just as much as regular pasta. The 2 year old isn't tricked by spaghetti squash (she's 1/2 Italian :)).

Cumin Roasted Carrots: http://www.theclothe...d-carrot-coins/ : surprisingly yummy for all (I'm not generally a big fan of carrots & rarely cook them). I didn't make nearly enough.

Chocolate Chili: http://www.theclothe...e-chili-recipe/

Baba Ganoush: http://www.theclothe...ables-eggplant/

Homemade Mayo: http://www.theclothe...-mayo-patience/

if ever they don't like something...slather it with mayo. :) healthy fats & delicious.

Hope these ideas help! obviously, I highly recommend "Well Fed". The green beans recipe & salmon recipe (among others) are super fantastic too!

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Taleena - I'd recommend checking out the first couple of posts in our on-going kiddos series! The first post takes a look at some strategies and the second lays out what you might expect to see from your kiddos.

http://whole9life.com/2012/11/whole9-let-us-change-your-kids/

http://whole9life.com/2013/01/its-just-a-phase/

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

We are only on Day Nine so we are new to the process, but we did it cold turkey for the whole family, which includes a two and three year old, though we talked about it for the month leading up to it. The kids also watched us clean out our kitchen and smile as if we were doing something very exciting and meaningful (which of course it was). I think the easiest thing has been the introduction of coconut oil because it just tastes so darn good when it's used with scrambled eggs or chicken. The hardest thing has been being in the same place of the process. The days I was feeling low energy, tired and cranky were the same days the kids were feeling that too and one of mine is quite vocal in her complaints. My advice to myself was to never ever start this process with relatives visiting, with important things going on in life, crucial deadlines or anything else that causes stress. It was much easier to hang at home, make a mess and not worry about the small things while we were all adjusting.

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