Raising Paleo Kids
How to Raise Paleo Kids
With so many diet fads, misleading information, and bad science – raising paleo kids in this day and age can be darn right difficult. Especially when you have advice coming at you from all different angles on how to raise YOUR kids, it can become overwhelming. No, it is overwhelming.
Your parents were brought up on overly processed foods and sugar-filled treats, yet they boast about being alive and well. What they don’t understand is how the food industry has changed over the years, and those companies are not looking out for your family’s best interest.
Food companies are known for their excellent marketing skills, by using fancy words like ‘natural,’ ‘low fat’ and ‘sugar-free.’ These words are not regulated and have little to no value when it comes to the quality of the product you are purchasing. And don’t even get me started on video games, cell phones, and the physical activity children are lacking.
While you have the best intentions of feeding your family healthier options and practicing optimal lifestyle habits, you can’t always get it right – and the truth is, it’s not your fault.
How to Raise Paleo Kids
We, as parents, are always striving to give our kids the best. While there is a ton of information out there (along with everyone’s unsolicited advice), it’s hard to weed out the ‘bad‘ from the ‘good.’ As an expert in not only raising but also converting my family to the Paleo diet and lifestyle, I’ve found the forthcoming information the most crucial and beneficial – as you will too. 🙂
Raising Paleo Kids Based on Past Generations, not Bad Genes
Most ailments and diseases that run in your family lineage stem from poor lifestyle habits and not genetics itself. Your genes act as “on/off” switches and will express themselves based on the signals from their environment.
When you mismanage your genes with poor lifestyle habits (diet, exercise, sleep, stress, etc.), you will likely suffer from the same ailments and diseases as your parents and grandparents did. Just as your familial genes get passed down from generation to generation, so do habits.
How to Break the Mold
Diet – remove inflammatory foods such as grains, refined sugars, and PUFAs to start and center your meals around protein, an abundance of vegetables, in-season fruits, and healthy fats.
Exercise – ditch the notion of exercising needs to be structured or a chore, instead find fun activities you can do with your family together. Whatever gets them off the couch and moving is an excellent start to implementing new habits.
Sleep – your sleep patterns play a huge role in how you function throughout the day. It’s best to set up a bedtime routine that works for everyone’s schedule. While it’s unrealistic to adhere to it every night, you can at least start by implementing new habits during the weekdays.
Stress – practice stress management and relief techniques and find which ones work for you and your family. (Ex. mediation, yoga, walking, taking a bath, reading a book, etc.). Finding ways to manage and relieve stress can significantly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity.
Raising Paleo Kids with Artificial Intelligence
Your children are bombarded with digital stimulation from sun up to sun down – from iPad’s to video games and endless TV streaming services, they have a constant flow of trivial information at their fingertips. While it’s okay to use these technological advances in moderation, the reality is your children are spending way too much looking at screens.
How to Cut Back on Artificial Intelligence
Breaking the family away from devices and digital stimulation is hard, but once you do it – you’ll realize how much more time you have throughout your day to do other engaging activities.
Digital Curfew – Once you have a bedtime routine set, it’s best to turn off all devices one hour before you jump into bed. (Two or more hours before bed is optimal, but may not be realistic for some). Instead, engage in a fun conversation, play a board game, take an even stroll, paint, color, knit/sew, or read together as a family. The options are endless.
Time Blocks – Control screen time throughout the day by setting time blocks where your kids can indulge in a few minutes of television or catch up on social media. While time blocks may differ between households, its best to set them during realistic times that work with your schedule – not against it.
Be Mindful – Maintain awareness of how your family is spending their time. It may help to turn off all trivial notifications and put devices on silence outside of the allotted time block set above. This will keep the mind from wanting to check each notification.
Raising Paleo Kids on the Sun (no not the planet)
It’s no secret your kids aren’t getting enough sun. Kids these days rather play video games or binge-watch their favorite shows instead of being outdoors and connecting with nature. There are thousands of benefits to being outdoors, but the primary and most vital one is – Vitamin D. Without Vitamin D you are susceptible to a variety of illnesses and simple bodily functions could not be performed.
How to Get More Sun Exposure
During the peak months, get your kids outdoors for at least 10 to 20 minutes in the direct sun for optimal daily Vitamin D exposure.
Model Behaviors – I know you’ve noticed your kids copy literally everything you say and do. So, if you are outdoors – they will be too. 😉
Get Creative – Find ways to get outdoors by setting up an obstacle course or scavenger hunt. Go for a hike and count how many birds you see or dig for insects and log which ones you came across.
Family Time – Take your normal indoor activities and move them outside (if weather permits). Have a picnic in the grass and eat lunch, play a board game on the back patio, or simply go for a walk after dinner.
Hobbies – Find family hobbies that require being outdoors, such as kayaking, camping, geocaching, fishing, or rock climbing.
Raising Paleo Kids on a Standard American Diet
The Standard American Diet (also known as SAD – because it is, well, sad) was invented as a nutritional ‘guideline’ for Americans. Unfortunately, it was based on bad science and propaganda and is still followed today. If the food pyramid were, in fact, based on real science and less propaganda, the results would have looked a little differently, and so would most Americans. The Standard American diet is everywhere, and it is unavoidable, especially at schools and restaurants.
How to Ditch the Standard American Diet
It may be hard to completely eliminate SAD foods at first, but once you get used to it, it really becomes second nature. You’ll find eating a Paleo diet on-the-go and at home really can be easy!
Pack Lunches – While homeschooling may be out of the question, packing lunches and snacks isn’t. This ensures they are getting their daily nutrition in a healthful way. Pack plenty of proteins and fats, along with a high carbohydrate fruit(s) such as an apple or banana.
Pack Snacks – Always have Paleo snacks on hand, especially with kids, even if you are just running to the grocery store. Bring snacks from home not only saves money but it ensures there is a healthy option while on-the-go.
Meal Plan – Meal planning the weeks’ meals will ensure you stick to a budget and eat healthily. There will be no excuses for going out to eat or not making dinner! (For busy families, I highly suggest batch cooking and meal prepping in advance)!
Avoid Chain Restaurants and Fast Food – If you must go out to eat, find a farm to table restaurant or an establishment that prides themselves on fresh foods daily.
Tips from Other Paleo Parents Raising Their Paleo Kids
“It’s not food-related, but definitely around mental health in my opinion: we learned and adapted the tools of Nonviolent Communication… it’s been an amazing and satisfying journey to raise our kids in a primal way, using a language that is totally respectful. And a more primal comment would be: make sure they get plenty of sunshine for their Vitamin D.”-Irma J.
“Make sure that kids get outside every day in every type of weather (unless it’s dangerous like a tornado). Everyone will be in a better mood.”-Dierdre S.
“We do 4 discrete meals vs. random snacking all day. And their after school meal has to have a fruit or a veggie and a protein and the third thing is up to them… we have a cabinet I keep all their stuff they can easily grab. Another thing we have is picking a non-water beverage you want for the day, which for my kids is usually lemonade, OJ, or Apple cider, but then the rest has to be water. We don’t do soda or crap drinks; those aren’t even an option. But a home sparkler to make sparkling water! I also challenge my kids to create meals with me.”-Sarah H.
“Not to overly stress. I feel that that can cause a lifelong anxiety with food.”-Robin L.
“Involve them in as much as the process as possible. My daughter helped me plant a garden this past spring, and that was instrumental in getting her to eat healthy fresh veggies all summer. The more they are a part of it, the more they truly adopt the lifestyle versus you forcing it on them.”– Trisha R.
“I always have my kids eat a protein before they choose anything else.”-Tina A.
“Cooking with kids that seems to always raise awareness, and they love eating what they create, always involve them in their meal prepping. Allow for them to have an occasional treat, primal/paleo, of course, once they see and feel they are not deprived of an occasional yumminess, they will eventually decide on their own to not have it or do without guilt, I always say I don’t want primal martyrs yet they need to learn to make better choices on food.”Ana G.
What are some tips you’d like to add? Comment them in the comment section below!