Going Paleo with Teenagers

Double Trouble | Paleo + Life

Thing 1 & Thing 2 getting pretty — skincare is serious business.

Since this blog is meant as a place for me to explore going paleo and what that means in the context of my life, I want it to be an honest reflection of that life. In my case, that means occasionally talking about my family, which includes the sassy twosome pictured above.

When we started to go paleo, I knew it would be a tricky thing for the kids to accept. They literally ate bread all. the. time. They had some at almost every meal, and for after school snacks. I actually grew to hate the smell of toast because it was always in the air. So I knew cutting them off was going to be difficult.

At first, the transition was quite hard. When we started our Whole30, we just let the bread that we had in the house run out, and didn’t replace it. (We kept cheese around because it is the one thing all of the kids are guaranteed to eat, and that was a bigger fight than I wanted to undertake.)

They complained that there was nothing to eat. We said “Sure there is — figure it out.” They grumbled and rolled their eyes, but they also learned to make lettuce wraps and sometimes “sandwiches” that were just the ingredients with no bun. They ate more fruit, more sweet potatoes and squash (this post from Mark’s Daily Apple is very reassuring on that count), and more veggies than they thought possible. The kids weren’t exactly delighted with the change (and when my husband went out of town for a week, we backslid something fierce), but they have adapted. My big boy loves coconut butter, while if my oldest girl could eat only avocados and salsa for the rest of her life, she’d be thrilled. I think this is a little crazy, but am going with it. (The Paleo View recently had a great podcast on why teenagers are crazy — no, really — and why it’s super important for them to eat a nutrient-dense diet. They had some excellent suggestions for snacks as well.)

The kids have even learned to cook for themselves a bit more, which is a huge step for both them and me. I have a little bit of a control issue (stop laughing, husband) and it has been an exercise in trust for us all. I am letting go, and they are holding each other up. It makes me rather proud.

Our paleo/Primal path is not perfect. Their schools serve regular school lunch, which I don’t fuss about — I consider it the “20” part of the 80/20 rule. If they visit friends and have pizza or pretzels, we are not going to make a fuss. Heck, we allow them the occasional frozen pizza or corn tortilla in our own house. Certainly not every day, but once in a while works for us. The more comfortable we get with paleo and Primal eating, the more we figure out where the happy medium is between watching what we eat for health and watching what we eat because it doesn’t fit a strict definition of what we think we “should” do.

What about you? If you have paleo/Primal teens — heck, if you are a paleo/Primal teen — leave a comment about what your transition was/is like, how it’s going, your favorite paleo foods, etc. I’d love to know.

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