View Full Version : Paleo for kids????

John Velandra
04-01-2008, 07:17 AM
OK, so on a paleo-type diet, how do you get the kids on board? Yes, the obvious just do it... but if they ARE receptive to it but now are bored (as are we sometimes).... what do you do or how have you dealt with it?????

Kid snacks?

Red pill or blue pill? (matrix)

Jason Naubur
04-01-2008, 12:11 PM
I have the same issue. 3 kids (8,5,2) and hated seeing them eat cereals, bread etc., knowing what I now know.

I talked to my wife (who is zoning, I'm paleo zone), and we found some good quality cold cuts that the kids like and some decent cheese. Then we just put out the meat and cheese first and let them pick and choose. We usually put out Salami, Bologna and Porchetta (lean pork loin). Then some fruit or veggies. Sometimes we add some rye bread and they can make sandwiches.

They also love Shake n Bake chicken, and if they are in the mood - rare steak (they don't like chewy well done) and salmon. We are also trying some olive oil salad dressings for dipping veggies with some success. Cheeze Whiz on celery is a winner with one son.

Keep experimenting, and keep up their fat content. I don't fret if they go out, or if they eat some wholegrain bread or crackers once in a while.

I was nervous and delayed it for weeks, but now that I have started they are good to go. I take them to the deli counter and have them pick some meat, including them helps.

Oh, and as they get older I find explaining things to them make them more interested. Good luck, and tell me what you find out - we have just started down this road with them.


PS - I also give them Fish Oil in the mornings, I buy one with a natural lemon flavour.

Mike ODonnell
04-01-2008, 12:52 PM
Tell them the Wiggles ate Barney....he's Paleo

Ari Kestler
04-01-2008, 01:42 PM
Jason just something I noticed in your post, you could sub almond meal for shake and bake and I doubt they would know the difference. There is a wicked almond meal fried chicken recipe on here somewhere...

Craig Snyder
04-01-2008, 03:00 PM
Tell them the Wiggles ate Barney....he's Paleo

You crack me up sometimes.


John Velandra
04-02-2008, 04:17 AM
Shake & Bake:

Yep... go with the almond meal! Who wants this stuff??? Use meal and your own spices... then barney will taste yummy!:rolleyes:

Allen Yeh
04-02-2008, 04:27 AM
Jason just something I noticed in your post, you could sub almond meal for shake and bake and I doubt they would know the difference. There is a wicked almond meal fried chicken recipe on here somewhere...

To satisfy my own curiosity:

sarena kopciel
04-02-2008, 06:16 AM
To satisfy my own curiosity:

Along the same lines, I too use nut meals (various ones) and sometimes I grind some fresh flax seeds and mix it with the nutmeal too! It works great on fish as well and can also be baked in the oven successfully! Did it last night with some flounder. Topped with some nut meal, spices and drizzled some lemon juice and toasted sesame oil on top

Jason Naubur
04-02-2008, 07:03 AM
Yeah, I know shake 'n bake isn't the best, but it isn't much on the chicken and the more they eat chicken the more they might try other flavours. Kids are finicky.

I'll try the fry up and see what happens. Thanks for the tips! Putting Coconut oil and almond flour on the shopping list now.


Allen Yeh
04-02-2008, 07:53 AM
Kids are finicky.


Mike ODonnell
04-02-2008, 08:02 AM
Kids may be finicky...but they also need to be TOLD what to eat. (although may not be easy...but they have to realize who is in charge) When I was a kid...I may have not liked what my mom cooked...but I ate it...because it was my only option...either that or go hungry that night. Kids can choose to eat whatever they want when they get older....but by that time maybe they will realize how fortunate they were to have caring parents and thank them for never letting them eat crap as a kid.

Jason Naubur
04-02-2008, 09:04 AM
Sure, they are told what to eat. But my daughter eating a whole chicken breast with a small amount of breading eagerly once a week, if that, vs. fighting / hunger, well I say there are some battles I am willing to fight.

Careful, we are heading into Parenting Judgement territory. <Puts on helmet>:)


Mike ODonnell
04-02-2008, 09:12 AM
I don't have kids....so I am out of the fight. I've take my role in life to just teaching and sometimes scolding the parents....someone has to put them in Time Out. ;) Raising kids is not easy....but then again nothing worthwhile in life usually is.

Jason Naubur
04-02-2008, 09:31 AM
Back on topic. This has made me rethink the SnB, critique is always helpful. So thanks.

With all the meats and cheeses available I have no problem (yet, knock on wood) with boredom. But what can I do for a nice treat at school? When my kids don't have a 'cakey' treat and their friends poke fun, saying 'It's healthier' will just cause more teasing. Nuts are forbidden in the school, so dark choc almonds are out, which was one friend's idea. I mean, who as a kid didn't like seeing a cupcake in the bottom of their lunch bag from time to time.

And of all things - I packed my son some sushi to take to school. One had fish eggs on it, and he was teased about that. sigh. Here I thought he had a pretty cool lunch. (Yes I know it has rice) :).


Gittit Shwartz
04-02-2008, 10:45 AM
Jason, you could try to find different kinds of exotic dried fruit. That might have a bit of a coolness factor - they're bright colored and look tempting, I bet the other kids will be asking to try some. Strawberries are especially good.
Maybe some plain yogurt with chopped up fresh fruit packed separately (in place of all the nasty toppings out there).

sarena kopciel
04-02-2008, 06:08 PM
I can totally relate with the kids thing! With 4 kids and only one still home, life has had its challenges!! I was always "heath conscious" with them growing up--just my focus has shifted over the years. But I do have to say my kids have always been exposed to and eaten fruits and veggies. Gittit's thoughts about exotics may work and may not!! Mine love anything different! But kids can be kids and others will tease!

My oldest who is now a Dad himself, used to take a cupcake here and there and leave over the topping and only eat the bottom. He also took those little Hungarian plums and clementines a lot!! I remember at one point I used to feed them miso soup for breakfast and sometimes it was just watermelon or fruits (my phases!!) and his teachers used to tell him he needed a roll or something!!

Thankfully the issues arent really mine anymore:)

Now if I can only convince my youngest daughter, a teen, why she needs more than just a salad or a bagel for lunch! Well, today I convinced her to take a small can of salmon with her salad and some chopped nuts! What an improvement! I think tomorrow she is taking homemade corn salad with cheese and a mini bagel! I am trying!

Just set an example and hopefully one day they will realize!! It is possible--my older daughter is having a home birth since she doesnt want all the intervention!! I would never have thought that!!

Cassidy Drake
04-06-2008, 07:04 PM
I don't have kids....so I am out of the fight. I've take my role in life to just teaching and sometimes scolding the parents....someone has to put them in Time Out. ;) Raising kids is not easy....but then again nothing worthwhile in life usually is.

My daughter eats paleo because I make good dishes, and I let her help etc. As for TELLING kids. I hear you, but man you have no idea what its like to be a parent until you are one.

Mind you I was raised by a military general and it was just like that.

Allen Yeh
04-07-2008, 03:15 AM
Thus far it's been much easier getting Connor(2) to eat Paleo-ish because it's pretty much all he has gotten. We still do noodles and other stuff every now and then. I've found it much much harder to get Chase(13) and Hunter(9) to try new things/dishes but it has gotten a lot better than when I originally met them when their mom and I were dating.

Suzanne Buffie
04-07-2008, 05:50 AM
We tell our kids like it is. At 3 and almost 5 they know that certain foods are "poison", a bit extreme, but it works. We must have said this once referring to McDonald's and it juts stuck with them.

They for the most part choose very healthy, paleo foods. We just don't buy anything else, so it is not in our house. They do know that if they are away with Nana and eat something that is not so healthy, that they usually won't feel so great after.

I think the important thing is to teach them why they shouldn't eat the foods, to encourage them to make the right decision for themselves, especially from when they are out from under your wing:)

Tirzah Harper
04-07-2008, 06:05 AM
As far as desserts go, I highly recommend finding the recipe that (Sarena??) posted for paleo-friendly black bean brownies. I halved the recommended amount of sweetener since I was using honey, and my husband and I LOVED them with a little coconut milk on top, but if I were making them for the younger kids I'd use the full amount of honey - not sweet enough for them.

Boredom: Is it yours or theirs? What did you use to eat (er, THEY use to eat) that they're not eating now?

One of the best things I did was to take some time for a couple of months and write down the basic meal contents that we just ate and how the kids responded to it. That netted me a dozen favorite meals and another dozen can-make meals - that's quite a while with no repeats. And there's nothing wrong with always having breaded chicken on Wednesdays.

I will say, though, it's really nice now that their taste buds are developing more into adult taste preferences. I can add large pieces of onions or peppers most of the time, and chili powder!

One more thing that one of the kids liked, to my surprise, is "zucchini noodles" - essentially, you get small zucchini and peel down the length of it with a vegetable peeler until it's reduced to a lot of very thin strips the width of the zucchini. I put these in soup or whatever. Her older sister doesn't like them at all though.:rolleyes:

sarena kopciel
04-07-2008, 06:45 AM
Hey thanx for the compliment but I never in my life made blak bean brownies. I do have a faint recollection of seeing it and think that sounds really weird. Although I did recently make several recipes that were totally paleo incl choc zucchini bread and blueberry muffins. I do not have the recipes with me. The chocolate zucc was from Nikki though! And they were both great!

Suzanne Buffie
04-07-2008, 01:38 PM
I just made a great black bean brownie...

1/2 cup butter
4 oz cocoa
1 can black beans pureed
4 eggs
2 tbsp ground flax
4 tbsp ground almonds
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cups lankanto ( a great sweetener from body ecology diet)

melt butter and cocoa, add beans eggs, flax, almond, vanilla and Lankanto.

butter 9X9 pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Before finding Lankanto, I used to use honey or maple syrup to sweeten the brownies.

I have also made a "coconut cake" version of this, using navy beans instead of black beans, adding 1 cup coconut, omit cocoa, add 1/2 cup can coconut milk, increase flax and almond ground almonds to 10 tbsp each, the rest is the same.

Jason Naubur
04-18-2008, 12:34 PM
By the way,

I made the fried almond meal chicken last week. It was good, and the kids loved it too.

However, the frying was time consuming. I might try to make a 'bake' version for simplicity. Anyone who has baked chicken with almond 'breading' let me know!


1 less Shake and Bake meal! :)

Gittit Shwartz
04-18-2008, 02:24 PM
I have - baked in 200 degree celsius oven. I used walnuts and seasoned them with curry and lemon zest. It was terrific.

Garrett Smith
04-18-2008, 04:00 PM
I make the Paleo fried chicken just like the original fried version, egg wash and almond meal. I use the organic free-range chicken tenderloins from TJ's (more breading that way!).

Spray a Pyrex baking dish with some olive oil, sprinkle some almond meal in the pan to discourage any sticking, egg wash and bread the chicken, lay them in the dish, bake in preheated oven at 400F oven for ~40 minutes. I season them afterwards with some pink salt, fresh ground pepper, and garlic powder. I may be making some tonight, actually.

I like baking it, partially because the breading soaks up an obscene amount of coconut oil, the breading falls off in the pan, and I really just don't like the splattering oil.

Bryan Friedman
04-19-2008, 08:31 AM
One of the best things I did was to take some time for a couple of months and write down the basic meal contents that we just ate and how the kids responded to it. That netted me a dozen favorite meals and another dozen can-make meals - that's quite a while with no repeats.

Hey Tirzah, would you mind sharing what some of these meals are? I have been having trouble coming up with a variety of Paleo style meals. I just don't seem to have the creative touch.

Tirzah Harper
04-21-2008, 11:42 AM
Man, I wouldn’t mind sharing, but the meals were vegetarian, not paleo! Sorry.
This is part of the reason why I read cookbooks for entertainment: It seems to build up a database of ideas in your head, and then when you go look at your cupboards you start putting things together from “instinct”…
Here’s what I’d suggest though, and what I’d do in your shoes:

First step: get a list of paleo foods.
Mark the foods on that list that you know your kids like (apples, nuts, steak, eggs, whatever).
Make sure you keep those foods in stock.

Second step: Start a hobby (even just for a month) of reading about paleo cooking and recipes and recipe ideas. Find the forums, the books, whatever. Get your head full of thinking about these foods and ways to cook them.
Especially make note of – bookmark, copy, or just remember – the recipes that use the foods that your kids like, from step one.

Third step:
Combine steps one and two (actually, I’d do steps two and three at once). Start cooking paleo, with an emphasis on the foods your kids already know and like.
Log your meals. Log what you ate, the basic ingredients if you won’t remember, what the kids said about it (I have a one-complaint rule, but that’s just me), what you thought. Obviously if the kids loved it but it took an hour to make, that’s a great special occasion meal. Quick & easy & palatable are what will become the everyday staples of your diet.

Keep up with steps two and three until you’ve got about twenty meals that pass muster. With 20 meals you can just rotate the same meals ad nauseum (sorry) or you can kick in a new food every so often (I do) just to spice things up and expand the kids’ taste buds. A lot of times I’ll do one tasty & one not-so-liked dish per meal – you get a lot of the preferred food, and a few bites of the not-so-preferred one. Variety in nutrients + ability to eat food they don’t care for. But I don’t make them eat foods they HATE, just practice eating the foods they don’t like.

Hope this helps. Also remember that their taste buds develop with age, from liking sweet and really hating bitter to liking bitter more and not the sweet so much. They’ll come to like peppers and onions someday, just because their tongue changes.
Also, it’s hard to be a bad cook with teenage boys in the house. I am so flattered these days when they eat every bite!

Jason Naubur
04-24-2008, 12:47 PM
Garrett, thanks. I did it similarly last night but: no egg wash - I dipped in coconut milk instead, and baked on a foil lined tray. Worked great. Kids ate it up - though we still call it 'shake n bake'. This will be a regular. Now I have to find some cheap almond meal. One observation: The almond didn't stick so well, maybe I'll try the egg wash next time.

I also put the spices in the almond meal for dredging - why do you do it after? Any reason?

Tirzah - thanks for the tips. I have been thinking of making a list, maybe now I will start.


PS - if you had told me 10 years ago that I'd be swapping healthy recipes online I probably would have laughed my butt off. Oh how we change.

Garrett Smith
04-24-2008, 03:33 PM
I would guess the egg wash is "stickier". I also really dredge the chicken--I put it in the almond meal, cover the top with almond meal, tap those layers on, then I flip them and do the same to the other side. That gets a pretty uniform coating with no "holes".

I feel I have better control of the herbs/spices if I add them later. Also, I feel that I can add less salt this way because it is the first thing one tastes in a bite. I also tend to under-season if I add spices to a pound of almond meal and it is easier to change spices if needed for the preggo wife if I add them later.