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I see a lot of posts about getting toddlers and little ones to eat Paleo/Whole30, but not too many about teenagers.

I have a 16 year old boy, and 2 girls who are 13 & 15. The boy should actually BE a noodle, he eats so much pasta. My 15 year old is reading ISWF (yay!) and wants to start a Whole30 tomorrow, My 13 year old is moping around the house because "there's nothing to eat here!" I didn't buy any dairy or grains while shopping this week (other than her Yoplait yogurt, which I only bought to appease her).

This is SO new for the kids. My husband and I are on day 6 of a Whole30 (this is my 2nd one). Any tips for the older kids? Especially a pretty unhappy girl who would live on Ramen noodles and junk if I let her?


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Mine is now 27 so the teen years are way behind us. With a toddler, it's a silly power struggle that has a beginning and an end..and if you play your cards right, the parent should win. Teenagers are from Mars and some are SO. DARN. STUBBORN. I think it's so cool that your 15 YO is reading the book. Hopefully someone else has gone through this and will chime in.

My friend in Georgia has 3 kids. They are younger than yours, her oldest is 12. I can tell you what she did. She introduced compliant dinners and slowly stopped providing them with PB, crackers, etc. Her husband happily eats what she prepares for meals, but if he rents a movie, he pops some popcorn. The kids partake in that. He also takes them out for ice cream after a competition occasionally. She decided she was not going to become a wicked witch about it. She said they are eating better than they ever have and even make good choices on their own quite often and she lets it go when they don't.

For a teenager, a ton of stuff is tied to peer pressure. Yes, every parent hates that, but they need to be part of a group and food is something that matters to that group. It's a tough one. Of course you don't want to start a war, but you could gradually switch them over..breakfast and dinner should be a nifty time to do that. I would not be as strict with them as you are with yourself. They will just rebel and go buy Little Debbies with their own money when you aren't looking.

So that's my fairly whimpy take on it (weird because I am not at all a whimpy parent) and hopefully you will get lots of other opinions. :)

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Manda, I have 2 teens and am having similar experiences to yours.

My almost 17 yo daughter loves veggies and is very interested in health and good food choices and, while not officially doing a W30 with me, is very supportive and following closely behind.

My 14 yo son is a carnivorous, sugar junkie, veggie hater. It would behoove me -- less fodder for the power struggle--to hide the green and other colorful stuff. But part of me thinks, he's 14 for crying out loud; he should just eat his dang veggies.

This is all still a work in progress, but here's what I'm doing and not doing:

I am cooking compliant dinners and if they don't like it they can make their own dinner. My son, especially, is lazy and he will not make his own dinner so he's stuck.

I am no longer buying most of the "healthy" snacky crap I used to buy for them. They will both grab apples, bananas, baby carrots and hb eggs if they are on hand. My daughter loves SeaSnax, so I buy it by the case.

I never buy juice.

I still buy milk and greek yogurt because my son loves it and it beats chips, but I am now buying full fat organic instead of low- or non-fat.

I figure I have the most control over breakfast and dinner, so if I have sausages and eggs on hand, we're good in the morning.

For dinner, I am coming up with stews and soups and crockpot fare that I can sneak green and other veggies in the stock.

My son will eat salad basics, cauliflower and broccoli, so that's easy in a pinch.

Lunch, they're often largely on their own, but my daughter will make healthy choices. My son... not so much, but I am letting that go for now.

They are their own people and will have to develop their own eating habits going into adulthood. But I can set an example and provide the building blocks. It just takes time. They now know that there will not be loads of junk in the house, and they need to reframe their thinking of "what there is to eat."

Don't know if this helps. slw600 is right, teens are from mars. and stubborn. But so am I ;) .

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This helps a lot! Thank you!

My son is picky, but has said he has no problems having eggs for breakfast (not sure how many veggies I'll get into him then), so I don't have to buy cereal for him. I'm sure we can figure something out for dinner, and the kids are homeschooled, so I'm in charge of lunch, too (mwahahahahahahaha).

It's just the 13 year old who will give me fits--but she's more than welcome to make herself something else if need be. This is just her personality--we've been dealing with it her whole life. :) Good thing I completely adore her. :)

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I have three teenager stepgirls, but we only have them 50% of the time. I cook the meals in Well Fed, and sometimes I will make SAD food like white rice or pasta for them as well. The funny thing is, now, they don't touch the SAD food as much, but will eat all of the Whole30 food! In fact the other day, they were calling one of the things I made a "flavor explosion." Even though they eat junk food during the day they still love the whole30 foods I cook for dinner. This is a huge change from when I came into their lives 7 years ago and they would never eat vegetables, and their diet consisted of taquitos, chicken nuggets and candy.

I have brought up keeping our house Whole30 for everybody, but my husband still buys them crap. He is now talking about doing a Whole30 with the condition that I will have to make all his food (right now I make dinner but he eats fast food for breakfast and lunch). I am really excited about that! I know that their mom will continue to feed the kids junk food :-(

I guess my point is, if you make good food, do a few hours of prep on one day like Melissa says to do in Well Fed, you will have plenty of delicious food that even your most pickiest eaters will enjoy. Seriously, Well Fed has been my second best investment in my health (ISWF was #1)

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I can so relate to this! I have a 13 year old son and an 11 year old daughter. My daughter is a bit chubby and wants to eat healthy, until it comes time to eat healthy!! It is a very slippery slope here and I am very careful to take the emphasis off weight and onto how she feels.

They watched me to my first whole30 last year and they have the education of the food and what to eat and why, but old habits are really hard to break.

I can get them to eat eggs in the morning, but not all mornings. Lunches are brutal -- I pack their lunches every day, so I have control over that, but they don't want anything but sandwiches. I buy good quality lunch meat and try to forgo bread, but they complain endlessly. I make great soups, but they wont take that to school.

Dinners are easy as I make healthy meals and if they don't eat it, they make their own. More often than not, they eat it and love it.

Any ideas on breakfasts and lunches that are fast and will be accepted?!!

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  • 1 year later...

I have two teenage boys ages 13 and 15.  They both have acne and horrible eating habits.  We are on our 16th day of W30 as a family.  I finally realized that I am in control of what I buy and prepare and if they are hungry, they will eat!  Previous to starting this, my 13 year old's diet consisted of a granola bar for breakfast, PB&J, cheez -its and fruit for lunch, and if I didn't cook dinner (which due to the boys being involved in sports and band was fairly often) he would eat fish sticks or pizza for dinner.  Now he has been eating what I serve with very little complaining and he actually requests brussell sprouts for dinner (and loves brussell sprout chips for snack).  I do get up and make breakfast and pack lunches every morning,which has taken some getting used to, but I feel that the changes in eating habits we are creating makes it worth it!  I have gotten my fair share of "Why can't there be more variety of snacks" or "Why can't we eat_____". But overall I feel that they really are eating things that they would have never tried before and they have even thanked me for caring about them enough to put forth the effort.  They keep asking me what happens after the W30 as far as our eating goes.  I just tell them that we will no longer have processed food in the house, but they will not be banned from fast food forever.  They have done an amazing job and I am so proud of them!!!

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