Challenges feeding older kids paleo and whole30


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Hi all,

I'm looking for suggestions for breakfast and snacks for my boys, ages 10&12. For those of you with younger kids, I know there are challenges there too. But I am finding the older my kids get the harder it is...we have always focused on feeding them whole natural foods, my kids have been eating kale since they were babies, but I also fell into the whole grains, yogurt and such is healthy. I always cook breakfast for them and make sure there is protein, but I have also given them whole grain toast/jelly, waffles, etc. Always a carb and protein....so now trying to switch to veggies and protein is meeting with some, well lets just say resistance. And while I agree with what Melissa and Dallas say in their book (love the book!!!), that I am the one making the food purchases and therefore determines what they eat, that is easier to do with little ones. The fact is adolescents are quite vocal and stubborn, and HUNGRY ALL THE TIME. By limiting food groups I have limited options, they eat so much and get bored with the same foods every day. I do not want to be a food nazi in my house, I do not want my kids to be sitting around the table 20 years from now talking about how their mom starved them when they were younger;). And they will refuse to eat. As adults we have lots of responsibilities that require focus but children can be completely focused on what they want....which is waffles, and can absolutely wear me down with it.

One thing I have told them is that if they will eat the food that I have prepared while at home then when we do go out to eat (once a week at most) they can get whatever they want...all the dairy and grains they desire.

So I guess this turned into more of a vent than a question.....

Do you have suggestions for easing them into paleo breakfast food and snacks (dinner and lunches we do ok)?

Is there anyone out there trying to feed older kids paleo? Most posts I have seen are re: younger kiddos.

Thanks in advance.

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I have two boys as well. 11 and 12. The 11 year old is on board 100%. The 12 year old is very picky will look the food up and down and decide if he is going to eat it based only on the way it looks. It's very frustrating.

I am assuming you are more concerned about them eating real, whole, nutrient dense food vs. concerned about them sticking to a strict W30? Correct?

With that assumption here is what works in our house...

Breakfast:

  • Pancakes made with only eggs, bananas, and almond butter topped with fresh berries that I pureed in the magic bullet. Sometimes I will offer a bit of honey. Sometimes we use these like bread in that I will put almond butter and mashed fruit between two and call it a PBJ.

  • I make a “cereal†with various nuts and seeds, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla. It's really good. Put it in a bowl with some almond milk. They love this so I have to limit it.

  • Of course the usual: scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, fruit…

  • Deli meat for protein and some fruit

  • Consider giving them leftovers from dinner. Especially if dinner was something they particularly love. For example, my kids LOVE the “tacos†I make for dinner. Basically it is a taco salad with ground beef, yummy taco seasoning I make, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, green onions and avocado. They will eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I let them.

  • Scrambles with eggs and their favorite meats and veggies.

  • Egg muffins

  • One of our favs is bacon, brussel sprouts and mushrooms (scramble)

  • The other day I took them to breakfast. They both ordered steak and eggs w/o the eggs (don't know why they didn't want eggs this particular day) and fruit. The 11 year old ordered a side of sliced tomatoes. The waiter looked at me like “is this ok†because of course they both turned down the pancake, potatoes and toast that came with it. Yeah, we get funny looks sometimes.

Snacks:

Kinda the same thing…

  • Leftovers
  • Deli meat and fruit and/or which ever veggies the 12 year old will eat. He likes broccoli and that is about it. The 11 year old loves asparagus and roasted baby carrots.
  • Olives
  • Beef jerky!
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Kale chips
  • Bacon wrapped dates
  • Mashed dates, rolled in shredded coconut
  • I sometimes make homemade granola bars
  • Sometimes I will pre-baggie handfuls of almonds and their favorite dried fruit. The 12 year old likes dried apples. The 11 year old likes dried cherries, blueberries and mango. I just randomly leave these bags in the kitchen so they will grab them.
  • Plantain chips are a big fav in our house too. I must limit these!

I hope this help a little. Let me know if you would like the recipe to any of these items. I can shoot you an email. There are a ton of resources on the web too.

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Huge help! In fact I'm going to print this out. Thank you so much. It's nice to hear from someone who has kids the same age as mine.

So the pancake recipe is just eggs, bananas, almond butter, that's it? No nut flour? Which is great...im trying to stay away from a lot of that.

And yes you understood me correctly, I'm not really interested in a whole 30 for them at this point. I don't see a need and feel like it would become more about what they couldn't eat rather than "lets eat healthy so we feel good and have lots of energy".

My older son has lots of oral allergy symptoms when he eats fruits and nuts....I'm hoping this will improve as he eats less grains. But it does make it challenging to provide variety. We are definitely going to try the cereal with the nuts he can eat - today. Woohoo! :)

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Here is the recipe for the cereal:

10 cups nuts/seeds (we like sliced and slivered almonds, pumpkin seeds, pecans…sometimes we add a dried fruit like cherries or blueberries)

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 Tbsp vanilla

1 Tbsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in large bowl. Spread onto parchment paper or silpat lined baking sheet or baking dish with edges. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown.

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Pancakes:

2 ripe bananas

1 egg

1 heaping tablespoon of almond butter

Instructions:

Mash the bananas, add the egg and almond butter, mix well.

I like to cook in coconut oil and top with mashed berries. I have found the more almond butter you use, the more pancake like texture they have. Also, the more ripe the banana, the more banana flavor the pancakes. My 12 year old likes them with more “greenâ€, less ripe bananas.

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Jill, I got the cookbook Eat Like a Dinosaur to deal with my picky toddler, but the recipes look like something a picky kid at any age would like. Don't know if you have this one, but if not, I highly recommend it. This cookbook also talks about how to kids more excited about eating paleo and some of those tips might help in your situation.

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Thanks, we will try the recipes and I am going to look into the book.

Our summer break is dedicated to eating healthy, hopefully by the time school (and football, baseball, homework!) starts up we will have some new habits in place. I am an RN and a school nurse so I am on break too which gives me time to work on this.

Thanks for your suggestions.

Jill

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I have two boys as well. 11 and 12. The 11 year old is on board 100%. The 12 year old is very picky will look the food up and down and decide if he is going to eat it based only on the way it looks. It's very frustrating.

I am assuming you are more concerned about them eating real, whole, nutrient dense food vs. concerned about them sticking to a strict W30? Correct?

With that assumption here is what works in our house...

Breakfast:

  • Pancakes made with only eggs, bananas, and almond butter topped with fresh berries that I pureed in the magic bullet. Sometimes I will offer a bit of honey. Sometimes we use these like bread in that I will put almond butter and mashed fruit between two and call it a PBJ.

  • I make a “cereal†with various nuts and seeds, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla. It's really good. Put it in a bowl with some almond milk. They love this so I have to limit it.

  • Of course the usual: scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, fruit…

  • Deli meat for protein and some fruit

  • Consider giving them leftovers from dinner. Especially if dinner was something they particularly love. For example, my kids LOVE the “tacos†I make for dinner. Basically it is a taco salad with ground beef, yummy taco seasoning I make, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, green onions and avocado. They will eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I let them.

  • Scrambles with eggs and their favorite meats and veggies.

  • Egg muffins

  • One of our favs is bacon, brussel sprouts and mushrooms (scramble)

  • The other day I took them to breakfast. They both ordered steak and eggs w/o the eggs (don't know why they didn't want eggs this particular day) and fruit. The 11 year old ordered a side of sliced tomatoes. The waiter looked at me like “is this ok†because of course they both turned down the pancake, potatoes and toast that came with it. Yeah, we get funny looks sometimes.

Snacks:

Kinda the same thing…

  • Leftovers
  • Deli meat and fruit and/or which ever veggies the 12 year old will eat. He likes broccoli and that is about it. The 11 year old loves asparagus and roasted baby carrots.
  • Olives
  • Beef jerky!
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Kale chips
  • Bacon wrapped dates
  • Mashed dates, rolled in shredded coconut
  • I sometimes make homemade granola bars
  • Sometimes I will pre-baggie handfuls of almonds and their favorite dried fruit. The 12 year old likes dried apples. The 11 year old likes dried cherries, blueberries and mango. I just randomly leave these bags in the kitchen so they will grab them.
  • Plantain chips are a big fav in our house too. I must limit these!

I hope this help a little. Let me know if you would like the recipe to any of these items. I can shoot you an email. There are a ton of resources on the web too.

This is great. I have 2 kids ages 2 and 4, both self imposed vegitarians, as I am cleaning up my diet, I am seeing the things that they WILL eat, vs. what the Should eat, these were great suggestions. Thanks for sharing.

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Carie's suggestions were so great! I'm taking notes.

My oldest son is 8, so not quiet as old as yours. I thought I'd share a couple things that work for us. I'm more interested in them eating on the healthy side of paleo rather than a whole30. I do limit the paleo "cheats" but still make some things on occasion because it's so hard to find the balance between eating this way because it's good for them and making food an issue. I just don't want it to be an issue. Changing the way I eat has been such a challenge, I would really like to gift my kids with our eating style being their normal.

Breakfast makes me the most crazy. I'm completely okay with eating leftover dinner, but many nights my boys act like dinner is a torture session (although this is getting better). They've always loved breakfast so I try to compromise a bit here and replicate some old favorites. They do have several days a week where breakfast is eggs, tomato, avocado and fruit.

a couple times per week I make these muffins from Wellness mama:

http://wellnessmama.com/2637/grain-free-banana-bread-and-muffins/

I often tweak them sometimes adding pumpkin or applesauce and diced apples, raisins, nuts, cinnamon, etc. My boys love these with some grassfed butter.

We love this Eggs Benedict recipe with coconut flour "biscuits" - usually save this for a nice weekend breakfast.

http://wellnessmama.com/2252/delicious-grain-free-eggs-benedict-recipe/

I also use the biscuits from the above recipe to make egg mcmuffin sandwiches. My boys love these. I bake the biscuits and then use a little pasture butter on them and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast - so good and a nice sub for cheese, put a fried egg in the middle and off you go.

I haven't tried this, but I'd like to:

http://wellnessmama.com/3502/oatmeal-without-the-oats/

I make this bread and sometimes use a little sunbutter and fruit spread (St. Dalfour raspberry and strawberry jams are amazing and have absolutely no sugar)

http://www.elanaspantry.com/paleo-bread/

I've been meaning to try this one too:

http://www.elanaspantry.com/paleo-breakfast-bread/

Best of luck to you!

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Bon, thanks for the recipes. I had not heard of wellnessmama.com...thats a good one! You are right about finding the balance where food is still fun and not an instrument of torture at every meal time. These ideas will help me with that. They are very willing to try new things so that is good.

Good luck!

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Jill,

I thought of you this morning as I was making Melissa's (of Clothesmakethegirl and Well Fed Fame) toasted coconut chips recipe for the first time. All three of my boys LOVED it and I see it being a regular in our snack repertoire.

1 cup coconut flakes (big flakes, not the shredded)

Toast in med-high heat dry skillet - keep an eye on them and turn frequently, doesn't take long at all

Mix 1/4 tsp. seasalt and a dash of cinnamon. When flakes are toasted to your liking remove from heat and sprinkle with salt/cinnamon. Toss and let cool. Store in airtight container.

I also made the biscuit recipe I mentioned above, but topped with fresh heavy whipped cream and raspberry's as a special treat along side some Applegate Farms Sausage and some coconut chips. Today I think my boys love me a little more ;)

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P.S. The biscuit recipe tends to really flatten out when I use coconut oil, fluffs up better with pasture butter. I still frequently use the coconut oil as I don't always have butter on hand, still good, but flat and not fluffy.

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Update - the kids loved the pancakes and the cereal - the only bad thing was so did I! The cereal didn't last long - will have to control myself a little better next time! Thanks again for the advice! I'm always looking for new kid tested recipes - so let me know if any of you find any more new ones that you and your kids enjoyed - please!

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This was a very helpful thread! I haven't officially started my Whole30 (due to intolerance to grain fed meat and having difficulties finding enough grass fed to feed my family), but we have loosely been following. I feel like I will win the worst mom award most days because my 6yo daughter is ALWAYS hungry. Most times she wants fruit, so I am trying to figure out if it's a sugar craving or just that she is actually hungry. In the mean time, I seem to be driving everyone crazy so I decided to back off a bit.

After reading this I realize it's not so much that she HAS to follow the Whole30, but more that she just needs to not eat a lot of processed and added sugar.

I think I'll print up the recipes listed above and make those for her this weekend.

Thanks everyone!

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My boys are 12 and 9, so I'm right there with ya! I have different challenges with each and often feel at the end of my rope trying to get them to eat healthy. The 12 year old won't eat any veggies at all (not carrots, not anything). He does eat meat but not eggs, and mostly eats fruit. He also regales me with long lists of things he wants to eat (Doritos, ice cream, pizza, etc.). My 9 year old is ADD and on meds which reduce his appetite, and he has major texture issues. He will eat "green pears" (steamed broccolli blended with a can of juice-only pears) and sometimes sweet potato and avocado. Applesauce is the standby. Eggs are good and some meat.

I've tried all sorts of "kid-friendly" Paleo recipes with them with very little success. It's taken me forever to even find a paleo "treat" that the 9-year old will eat, as he doesn't like almond flour (and meanwhile I've been eating all the treats - after spending 1-2 hours on some of them I can't waste them!). Finally have success with Sweet Potato Brownies (http://paleomg.com/sweet-potato-brownies/). So his dinner is often about 2-3oz of chicken or meat, some applesauce, and a brownie, and me banging my head on the wall.

My main concern is veggies for both of them. What do you do with the veggie-averse? We always have veggies on the table and offer them, for like the last 18 months. No change.

Sorry this reply was more about my frustration than helping you! Just needed to vent, I suppose.

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Cadence,

My kids have gone through "no-protein-at-all-ever" phases, too, but it's never been as intense as what it sounds like you're working with. What are the chances that this is a control battle? From what you've said, his issue isn't with the taste or texture of meat. It sounds like his issue may be with you asking him to (or in his mind, making him) eat something he doesn't particularly want to. Kids at that age are continually exploring their autonomy, discovering that they are in control of their own minds and bodies and learning that we, as parents, cannot read their minds or move their bodies. These seemingly random exercises of will come and go and take some really interesting forms.

I suggest a little experiment: Give him a week of no nagging, no forcing, no rules. If he eats fruits and veggies well, let him load up. Fill him full of whatever fats he'll eat. Take the pressure off and don't even address the issue. But, don't take him to any restaurants either. He eats what you've cooked - protein or no. Just see how he reacts. If you want, you can cook some of the proteins he normally enjoys other places but don't ask him to eat them. (Don't restrict them, just don't bring it up.) There's a chance that, once he sees that you respect his autonomy, he'll choose to partake with you. If he doesn't, then you can start working through some other plans. At the very least, though, you'll get some fight-free meals under your belt and it will help return the sanity we so very much need as parents.

The guiding principle I use with my girls is this: As a parent, I can control what they eat in my home. But life is so much more than being told what to do. I want my girls to learn how to eat - what, when, why - and (IMHO) deciding what goes into their mouths is a part of that.

Hope this helps you!

I really LOVE LOVE LOVE this post from Robin.

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Apparently, I am not very good a the whole quoting thing on this forum, but my point is…I love Robin's experiment idea. This particular post is about protein, but the same principles could be used for veggies as well.

Totally brilliant. Give it a shot…let us know how it works out.

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Ok just wanted to pipe in here. I tried those pancakes someone mentioned earlier and my 3 yr old LOVED them. My husband (who hates bananas AND almond butter) doesn't mind them either.

THANKS! And thanks to everyone else for sharing their tips. This is a great thread.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am not trying to hijack the OP but this is so close to the problem I having that it makes sense to add my problem to the list...

My girls, 13 and 7, are having no trouble with the paleo thing (not forcing them to go W30 and they do eat oatmeal and brown rice on occasion) and I have yet to have them clean their plates, which is sort of the problem, they are ALWAYS complaining about how hungry they are. They can snack from the time they get up until bedtime and want a second or third supper!

They both eat more than I do, at least it seems that way, and I am providing snacks but seriously, can they be this hungry? How can they not be full after a huge plate of grilled chicken and veggies with a side of fresh fruit or veggies that completely covers their plate?

Any idea what to do? Are they just thinking they are hungry because they are used to eating so much filler? Are they really this hungry and if so how can I feed them enough?

Getting frustrated here, let me tell ya'.

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They're growing kids! If they're in sports as well, then they absolutely can be that hungry. How much fat is with what you're serving them? Roast your veggies in some olive oil? Or add in some more fruit/starchy carbs to fuel their activity level. Just my first thoghts

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  • 2 weeks later...

Carie - thanks for the "cereal" recipe. I just made it and it was devoured in minutes. I used pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds, pecans, maple syrup, cranberries, candied ginger, cinnamon. We were out of milk and ate it dry. I loved it. I'm definitely going to have some sitting out at my daughters birthday party this weekend.

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AthenaKate - my girls also eat constantly, even after a meal. I've been wondering lately if they're drinking enough water. Mostly, I think it's just boredom. I'm not really concerned that they eat 3 meals day. I do get tired of the "Can I have a snack?" question all day.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's definitely a process with the kids ! My three oldest-22, 20 and 18 are fine with everything. My 15y/o knows if she doesn't like something, she is welcome to make something for herself-but knowing her, it will be paleo no doubt. My 13 y/o daughter and 10 y/o son are a little more difficult. I have worked as a chef their whole lives, in a few different venues, and they have tried a lot of different foods. These two definitely have more of a sugar dependency thing going on(like their mom:). BUT- when I started my Whole 30 three days ago, I told them I want them to at least taste everything I make for us. If they don't care for it, they can make themselves eggs or warm up any leftovers that they did like. It's worked for three days,so I'll just go with it.

For breakfast we tried chicken sausage, eggs, sweet potato hash browns and clementines yesterday. They would have had non compliant bacon, scrambled eggs and homemade muffins (pumpkin chocolate chip or banana nut or whatever we whipped up) a week ago. Because it was the first time they were trying some of these.things, and I had the time, we made it fun. They pretended to be judges on a cooking show (Chopped, anyone?) and were able to discuss the meal, between themselves, then render their judgement. My son ate every scrap on his plate, and my daughter left only some sweet potato. She doesn't like it, but she did try some,so she could make a fair assessment. They were really funny about it,and I think I've been invited back for another episode :)

Today's lunch included a big salad, beef tenderloin,melon and grapes and fresh cherries. Another win !

I let my daughter make whole grain pumpkin waffles to have with her eggs at breakfast. Baby steps. She loves to bake, and is very good at it.

I wouldn't think of making the kids go total whole 30 at this point. They do pretty well, make better choices now more than before. I totally don't wat them to dwell on food as much as I always have. The one thing I can say about my two youngest especially, they know when they are done eating. It has always amazed me how they will leave food on their plate-even dessert food- eat only half a cookie or piece of cake or whatever. I am still trying to wrap my head around that one. :D

I hope the next several days will provide some more winning meals to add to the repertoire.

Oh yeah-my 15 y/o dried a whole bunch of fruit in the dehydrator yesterday and is planning to put together trail mix for a snack for before or after she and her sister have gymnastics practice. It smelled SO good. She also makes delicious beef jerky. Slowly trying to get the snacks in line with healthier eating.

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