“I have a confession…my oldest child hates eating paleo so much that I am starting to dislike mealtime.”
That’s what I posted on my Facebook page last week and the responses really blew me away. So many parents are in the same boat and it can be the most difficult thing to cope with since we are feeding them three times a day!
When I first started this Paleo journey in May 2011, I did it for entirely selfish reasons. I was sick. I was tired. I needed to change my life or my life would have swallowed me up. It wasn’t supposed to be more than 30 days but the results were so spectacular that I kept going. I pulled my husband in after a couple of months and the kids a couple months after that.
I transitioned the kids slowly and breakfast was the last switch but I’ve found that breakfast is, by far, the most difficult meal. Why? The kids are so freaking sick of eggs. Eggs, eggs, eggs…some variation of eggs, it seems, at every single breakfast! There are days that I seriously feel like picking up a couple of boxes of cereal so that I don’t have to cook a hot meal at 6:30 every morning. There are days that I think about the cereal dispensers that I so coveted while the kids were eating cereal and my mind is drawn to just how easy breakfast could be.
I convinced my oldest into Paleo by promising him bacon and steak for breakfast sometimes. Bacon and steak is old news now…even for me. Boy #2 must absolutely have his bacon crisp or he won’t eat it. The line between crisp bacon and burnt bacon isn’t a big one and, unfortunately, I have served burnt bacon before.
Lunches are getting increasingly more difficult now that boy #1 is in middle school. Their lunch break is 15 minutes and there are 4 microwaves for a school of over 700 kids which means that he isn’t eating his lunch most days! To make this work, we have bought gluten-free bread and he has started taking sandwiches. Factor in lunch time activities taking away eating time for the elementary school duo and we’ve been sending 3 kids with gluten-free sandwiches. It’s an accommodation that I don’t feel very happy about but the kids were coming home with nearly uneaten lunches every single day. I would rather my kids have a sandwich versus not eating for an 8 hour period every day.
Then there’s supper…. 7 people with 7 personalities and 7 different tastes. Every supper is becoming a battle of who hates what! I gave in a little and started cooking some rice and white potatoes once a week to give the kids a break from the usual sweet potatoes/squash/root vegetables. As excited as they were about the idea of having these foods again, the reaction to them wasn’t all fireworks and confetti. It was food. They ate it. It wasn’t amazing.
The most startling reaction to the rice/potatoes was littlest boy who is nearly 3 and had only been eating solid food for a couple of months before we switched to Paleo. He absolutely refuses to eat rice or potatoes! Put a plate of sweet potatoes or broccoli in front of him and he is thrilled but no way, no how, gag it back up if we happen to slip some into his mouth when it comes to rice or white potatoes!
Littlest boy is not necessarily adventurous when it comes to food but he loves all of the things the older boys don’t. Kale chips are a great example. Only 2 of my kids will eat it…boy #3 will eat some but little boy will take down an entire batch as a pre-supper snack!
I often get asked “What do you do when the kids go to birthday parties or a friend’s house?”. What do I do? Nothing. Do I hope that my kids make good choices when they’re away from me? Absolutely. Do I think that they do make good choices? Nope. I’m under no illusion that they eat chips, candy, spaghetti, birthday cake, ice cream, soda pop,… when they leave the house and they have absolutely no reason to hide it from me. I’m okay with that because controlling their food would absolutely swallow me whole and it would make us all miserable.
We are working on restoring harmony right now. My husband and I are both following the Squeaky Clean Paleo plan from Practical Paleo and I am making substitutions where it matters for the kids (ie. Apple Bumpkin Breakfast Bake or Autumn Spice No-oatmeal vs leftover salmon for breakfast). I’ve given up some of the control when it comes to the kids and it’s given me control over my own life again.
Oh..stay tuned for a blog post about how I’ve given myself control over my own life again!
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