2

votes

Help me transition my daughter off of oatmeal/granola in the morning.

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created December 16, 2011 at 12:09 AM

Hi hackers. Having recently discovered Paleo/Primal, I'm working to transition my family away from our SAD ways towards a healthier way of eating. We're not too far off actually, just have to get rid of some crackers, bagels and cereal.

One of our big challenges are going to be my 3-year old daughter's affinity for Oatmeal with Flax Granola for breakfast. Rather than forcing her cold turkey to at 7am one random morning (and dealing with the ensuing meltdown), my plan is to focus on taking her Paleo during the rest of the day (lunch/dinner/snacks), while slowly transitioning her off the Oatmeal/Flax in the morning.

There seems to be a real emotional attachment to her morning ritual that I'd like to find a way to transition her gently, rather than just sticking an egg in front of her and saying "no more oatmeal". So I'm wondering if anyone has any recipes or thoughts on substitutes for her favorite breakfast meal. The oatmeal is basic Quaker instant, we pour whole milk in it and she then puts a several handfuls of this stuff into the bowl:

http://www.amazon.com/Natures-Path-Organic-Pumpkin-11-5-Ounce/dp/B001EO5RFE

I think she digs the taste and the crunchiness of the granola. (She actually refers to them as "crunchies"). I'm assuming that the seeds in this cereal are fine, but I'm wondering if there's some "less-evil" versions of the grains that she's eating that might make for a more peaceful transition. If so I'll happily put in the time making our own version of this concoction.

Any thoughts?

153c4e4a22734ded15bf4eb35b448e85

(762)

on November 21, 2012
at 12:21 PM

Oatmeal doesn't have gluten (cert. gluten-free oatmeal), and celiacs eat it here (Scandinavia) without any problems, and studies have shown that celiacs do get their villi back even when eating GF oatmeal. Totally agree with you about the fat, it's just an empty source of calories, still people love it here.

44894358c1cd33674c22850cc9368959

(238)

on November 21, 2012
at 07:28 AM

Potatoes are not low nutrient at all. In fact white potatoes have a similiar nutrient content as sweet potatoes minus the beta-caratene. Do you know what is low nutrient that no paleos seem to object piling on their food? Refined oils and fats. And oats with added fruits or syrup are are a perfectly healthy breakfast for kids that have no issues with gluten. (ie, the overwhelming majority).

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 21, 2012
at 06:48 AM

you could make your own crunchy granola, using more nuts and seeds than oatmeal. I make one with lots of sunflower, almond, pmupkin, sesame seeds, with dried flaked coconut, ground flax seeds and dried cranberries, add some oats, toss it with some rice syrup and bake. it gets nice and crunchy.

2a00b9a42e4cb6e489a0e69d20714576

(3043)

on November 20, 2012
at 11:35 PM

Haha does this come from experience?

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on November 20, 2012
at 02:17 PM

James, while carbs are just fine for most young kids (epilepsy exception), grains (oats) are not so fine. Plenty of the suggestions above involve carbs for breakfast, just different carbs and in many cases foods with much higher nutrient levels than grains. Potatoes are relatively low nutrient carbs, so if the kid likes them, sweet potatoes or pumpkin or such would be preferred. No one is talking about starving or abusing a child, just finding healthier substitutes that she will enjoy.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on November 20, 2012
at 02:01 PM

That sounds really good. You could also call it: No Mo' Oatmeal. I can't eat eggs any more, either, at least for a while (where "while" is measured on the order of years).

153c4e4a22734ded15bf4eb35b448e85

(762)

on November 20, 2012
at 11:48 AM

And by the way, I was very healthy eating mostly carbs all my life, also I have a wide palate, and wide dental arch, perfectly straight teeth, so I really haven't been deprived with my carb diet. My health went to shits only when I started to up the fat and meat.

153c4e4a22734ded15bf4eb35b448e85

(762)

on November 20, 2012
at 11:46 AM

This child abuse theme (starving them) is horrible in paleo, I would have died if my parents forced me to eat meat, and fat, as a child, some of us do best on carbs.

Eea6a68f5a7190d13c60e1c72417a581

(1376)

on November 20, 2012
at 03:06 AM

I agree, that is not the worst breakfast in the world for a kid. Active growing kids need more carbs than sedentary adults.

44894358c1cd33674c22850cc9368959

(238)

on November 20, 2012
at 02:35 AM

Why would you ask a kid to take it easy on potatoes?

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

(3452)

on November 20, 2012
at 01:02 AM

Like thanksgiving coming up. We've talked about 'you're gonna want pie, can't ask a kid not to eat pie. Take it easy on stuffing, potatoes, skip the bread' She's down with it. I'm proud of her.

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

(3452)

on November 20, 2012
at 12:58 AM

Right, but there needs to be awareness that, fundamentally, that oatmeal is part of a carbohydrate balance. Like I say, my niece definitely gets unrestricted diet time. But, she's fully aware of how her choices fit in with the rest of the food she eats. Similar to a point system, I guess, but not so regimented. For example, if she ate oatmeal for breakfast, juice at lunch and a piece of cake for snack... she's NOT getting pizza or fries at dinner.

44894358c1cd33674c22850cc9368959

(238)

on November 20, 2012
at 12:27 AM

Now, if the kids were eating cocoa puffs and lucky charms that would be a different story obviously.

44894358c1cd33674c22850cc9368959

(238)

on November 20, 2012
at 12:26 AM

I'm not really into granola and oats. I'm just saying it's a perfectly fine breakfast for children, probably a lot more beneficial then a fat and protein breakfast. Let's be real, kids aren't becoming fat and sick from oatmeal.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on November 20, 2012
at 12:02 AM

If you're into granola and oats... then what are you doing on PaleoHacks? Go troll elsewhere.

306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on December 20, 2011
at 04:56 AM

I agree - something she likes that's entirely different is likely to be accepted better than a different type of granola.

94a4a87e3d2e1e9160b6ed77678b4bea

(1311)

on December 18, 2011
at 10:23 PM

I just thought of something else that I have for breakfast which is quite similar to oatmeal/cereal in terms of taste/texture. That is to make some small pots of coconut cream custard and add toasted nuts and blueberries - you get creamy flavour with some crunch! Yum!

Medium avatar

(39831)

on December 16, 2011
at 12:13 AM

That's actually not that bad compared to a lot of the crap out there like Pop-Tarts, Frosted Flakes etc. The soy oil is really the main problem, but I'm certain you could find a version that doesn't have that or something similar.

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20 Answers

7
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on December 16, 2011
at 01:27 AM

I used to live with my friend who had a 3-year-old, and she was also very attached to a morning ritual she picked up at her Dad's over christmas, which was, unfortunately, Raison Bran cereal. She wouldn't eat breakfast if she couldn't have it. Once we broke her of the habit, we could feed her pretty much anything, even if it was radically different from cereal.

For such a little one, it was important to make a different breakfast seem like a special treat, so she would get excited to try something different. We would start hyping up the next days breakfast the night before, by saying she was so lucky to have such a yummy breakfast the next day. We started off doing a grainless granola, which she was happy to eat if she was convinced it was special. We also made her to-go smoothies that we called "monster juice" which was coconut milk with a banana, plenty of frozen strawberries, a whole bunch of kale, some baby spinach, and some cinnamon. We would put a halved frozen grape in it and call those "monster eyes" and have it in a special travel cup with a fun straw. She loved it, and it was really filling for her, the daycare lady said she would eat barely any of her snack on the days she had her "monster juice". On the weekends it was easier for her to eat out of her routine, and we could make a eggs-and-bacon type breakfast that she would get excited about. Once we broke the routine with her, it was such a relief, we could feed her anything and didn't have to worry about trying to mimic raison bran because she would just point out how much it wasn't like raison bran. If anything, it was easier to get her to eat things that were very different from cereal, because she wouldn't think about her old habit and compare them.

Hopefully that helps! I know that kids have a wide variety of funny food things, and what works for some may not work for others, haha.

3
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on December 16, 2011
at 03:11 AM

Like Josh mentioned, warm winter squash will take all the favorite toppings that used to go on cereal. Pumpkin custard cooked with milk, eggs and spices is also a fun choice.

3
94a4a87e3d2e1e9160b6ed77678b4bea

(1311)

on December 16, 2011
at 12:39 AM

I have a breakfast "cereal" almost every day which I make as follows:

  1. Handful of toasted nuts (usually almonds or macadamias - but you could put a whole combination in as well as some toasted seeds and then your daughter would still get the ??runch!).
  2. A handful of blueberries (but you could use some mixed berries or maybe some dried fruit?)
  3. Mix these with coconut milk - yum! I suppose if she likes a warm breakfast you could heat the coconut milk.

The occassional decadent variation is that sometimes I add a little grated dark chocolate or some of my homemade chocolate bark - that might work for kiddies? I also add some vanilla sometimes or cinnamon.

94a4a87e3d2e1e9160b6ed77678b4bea

(1311)

on December 18, 2011
at 10:23 PM

I just thought of something else that I have for breakfast which is quite similar to oatmeal/cereal in terms of taste/texture. That is to make some small pots of coconut cream custard and add toasted nuts and blueberries - you get creamy flavour with some crunch! Yum!

2
74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d

on November 20, 2012
at 01:49 PM

Make her some "No-Oatmeal Oatmeal"!

2 eggs, whisked with some coconut milk over low heat in a sauce pan. You don't want this to scramble. Add cinnamon, nutmeg.

Add either one mashed, ripe banana, OR about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of pureed pumpkin. Whisk this in to egg/coconut milk mixture. Turn the heat up a bit to thicken.

At the last minute, I like adding some almond nut butter, or some freshly ground up nuts, almonds, pecans are tasty too, macadamias would be awesome. Maybe some blueberries on top.

OH MY GOD that stuff is so awesome. I wish I could eat eggs, but I can't no moar :(

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on November 20, 2012
at 02:01 PM

That sounds really good. You could also call it: No Mo' Oatmeal. I can't eat eggs any more, either, at least for a while (where "while" is measured on the order of years).

2
F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on December 16, 2011
at 12:28 AM

Paleo pancakes (using coconut/almond flours) and Mark Sisson's "no-oatmeal" come to mind. There's a ton of recipes out there, here are two:

http://paleonutritionnotes.blogspot.com/2011/10/blueberry-paleo-pancakes.html

http://www.paleoplan.com/2011/06-01/no-oat-oatmeal/ Some people sub in pumpkin puree for the banana.

2
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 16, 2011
at 12:17 AM

I like Banded Girl's answer but I also have a different thought.

Kids respond best to change when, from their viewpoint, it's an improvement. So, what are her favorite ancestral foods/meals? Once clear favorites emerge, I'd start offering some as options for breakfast. After all, I eat leftovers from evening in the morning and frequently eat eggs at night.

Anyhow, as she builds a list of favored whole foods just keep encouraging her to include them in her breakfast or eat them exclusively. In some cases, it may go faster than you think and in others maybe not but over time she'll be more and more comfortable with the future "usual" foods.

EDIT: this stuff looks VERY good.

306aa57660d911781231f8090c2a5619

(3808)

on December 20, 2011
at 04:56 AM

I agree - something she likes that's entirely different is likely to be accepted better than a different type of granola.

2
2fdb7a6236b04bdfc3dacaf2bc236515

on December 16, 2011
at 12:13 AM

How about replacing it with some paleo trail mix and milk?

1
Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on December 16, 2011
at 10:01 AM

(She actually refers to them as "crunchies")

In my mind it sounds like she has affection for her breakfast. I think a few of us could relate to this in terms of our favourite food rituals. Personally I love buying my double espresso first thing before work, and I have been doing so from the same cafe for around four years.

There is security and comfort in these sorts of things, so I do not think it is going to be so easy to switch to something different. I bet that as she wakes up she has "Hmmmm crunchies" running around in her little head. If I got to the cafe and said "una magia doppio per favore" and they gave me a cup of tea, I think I would start crying.

I really think you may have to replace like for like, and slowly move away from the troublesome ingredients. I say make a new game and find a new name for the new breakfast. Perhaps even a silly song you sing while eating it and get her excited that way.

The last thing you want is your daughter to run off with a drummer when she's 16 just to get back at you for stealing her "crunchies". ;)

2a00b9a42e4cb6e489a0e69d20714576

(3043)

on November 20, 2012
at 11:35 PM

Haha does this come from experience?

1
66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on December 16, 2011
at 03:02 AM

I made my own version of a 'breakfast cereal' to help my son switch over. I roasted a butternut squash, mashed it with butter and cinnamon & a little honey, mixed in enough groundd flax seed to give it some texture and he ate it with heavy cream - he never complained or turned his nose up at it once. Now he eats bacon or sausage and some carrots or sweet potatoes with butter for breakfast.

1
286a4ff7c362241c5c4b020df4972212

on December 16, 2011
at 01:48 AM

I would start with making a big deal of sunday bacon and eggs - or special omelette - talk about all wk and even invite someone over for Breakfast ! then once she gets that start to introduce it in day by day. It could take some time but you said you were happy to do it slowly!

1
F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on December 16, 2011
at 12:39 AM

You could try a grainless granola like this one: http://www.rawguru.com/store/raw-food/lydias-grainless-apple-cereal-1-lb.html

Also, Primal Blueprint's hot non-cereal is great. My toddler loves it: http://paleoperiodical.com/2011/04/15/recipe-shout-out-primal-blueprints-primal-hot-cereal/

0
D8f10efbb2da1d53290a4dad3ee58f00

(207)

on November 21, 2012
at 06:46 AM

you could try to transition her to a gluten-free type cereal. I like to have hard boiled eggs ready to eat in the fridge. My kids are teens though. You slowly add fruit and protein to phase out the oatmeal. Good Luck! Don't expect resistance. Have a positive attitude about it.

0
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on November 21, 2012
at 03:10 AM

Rather than saying "no", pick a day a week to have a "special" breakfast, something Paleo she'll love. Lots of great suggestions above--I'd add "dinner for breakfast!"

Gradually you can add another special breakfast day, until she forgets that her current menu is her favorite.

0
Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on November 20, 2012
at 11:39 PM

Puffed rice. The generic brands usually do not have anything but rice in the ingredients (i.e., no sugar). Not strict paleo, but should be pretty safe. If you do dairy, serve it with milk or heavy cream. If not, serve it with juice or water. Add raisins or other dried fruit for sweetness. Add some sliced almonds or other nuts for additional crunch if needed.

0
0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

on November 20, 2012
at 11:22 PM

Wow. When I was growing up, I ate what was put in front of me and wouldn't have dared be fussy about it.

0
E25fd61e410c371db79555c4ae4dc091

on November 20, 2012
at 11:01 AM

I would get her used to eating the new breakfast foods you want her to eat but at different times of day. So, for instance, try serving bacon and eggs for lunch or dinner. Once you find few different meals she likes start bringing them to the breakfast table.
Maybe she will see mommie eating bacon and eggs for breakfast and you could offer her some along side her oatmeal? Then after a few days offer them to her BEFORE her oatmeal, hopefully she will fill up on the paleo breakfast and not want the cereal and it will become a distant memory.

I wouldn't try to find paleo oatmeal substitutes. The child will know the difference straight away. Just go with something totally different. You could also mysteriously "run out of oatmeal" so she will be forced to eat something paleo instead.

You could also try switching up the morning routine. Like go for a walk before breakfast. Have a bath. Just something to change the whole routine around so what you are eating becomes less focused.

Well just some ideas for you. Take care

0
44894358c1cd33674c22850cc9368959

on November 19, 2012
at 11:56 PM

God! let you're child eat her cereal. Granola/flax/oatmeal is a perfectly healthy breaksfast for a youngster. You shouldn't be depriving your children of perfectly healthy sources of carbohydrate and making them eat protein and fat centered meals. Rich food like bacon and eggs made me cringes a kid and also left me lethargic.

153c4e4a22734ded15bf4eb35b448e85

(762)

on November 20, 2012
at 11:48 AM

And by the way, I was very healthy eating mostly carbs all my life, also I have a wide palate, and wide dental arch, perfectly straight teeth, so I really haven't been deprived with my carb diet. My health went to shits only when I started to up the fat and meat.

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

(3452)

on November 20, 2012
at 01:02 AM

Like thanksgiving coming up. We've talked about 'you're gonna want pie, can't ask a kid not to eat pie. Take it easy on stuffing, potatoes, skip the bread' She's down with it. I'm proud of her.

153c4e4a22734ded15bf4eb35b448e85

(762)

on November 20, 2012
at 11:46 AM

This child abuse theme (starving them) is horrible in paleo, I would have died if my parents forced me to eat meat, and fat, as a child, some of us do best on carbs.

44894358c1cd33674c22850cc9368959

(238)

on November 20, 2012
at 02:35 AM

Why would you ask a kid to take it easy on potatoes?

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on November 20, 2012
at 12:02 AM

If you're into granola and oats... then what are you doing on PaleoHacks? Go troll elsewhere.

Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

(3452)

on November 20, 2012
at 12:58 AM

Right, but there needs to be awareness that, fundamentally, that oatmeal is part of a carbohydrate balance. Like I say, my niece definitely gets unrestricted diet time. But, she's fully aware of how her choices fit in with the rest of the food she eats. Similar to a point system, I guess, but not so regimented. For example, if she ate oatmeal for breakfast, juice at lunch and a piece of cake for snack... she's NOT getting pizza or fries at dinner.

153c4e4a22734ded15bf4eb35b448e85

(762)

on November 21, 2012
at 12:21 PM

Oatmeal doesn't have gluten (cert. gluten-free oatmeal), and celiacs eat it here (Scandinavia) without any problems, and studies have shown that celiacs do get their villi back even when eating GF oatmeal. Totally agree with you about the fat, it's just an empty source of calories, still people love it here.

44894358c1cd33674c22850cc9368959

(238)

on November 20, 2012
at 12:27 AM

Now, if the kids were eating cocoa puffs and lucky charms that would be a different story obviously.

44894358c1cd33674c22850cc9368959

(238)

on November 21, 2012
at 07:28 AM

Potatoes are not low nutrient at all. In fact white potatoes have a similiar nutrient content as sweet potatoes minus the beta-caratene. Do you know what is low nutrient that no paleos seem to object piling on their food? Refined oils and fats. And oats with added fruits or syrup are are a perfectly healthy breakfast for kids that have no issues with gluten. (ie, the overwhelming majority).

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on November 20, 2012
at 02:17 PM

James, while carbs are just fine for most young kids (epilepsy exception), grains (oats) are not so fine. Plenty of the suggestions above involve carbs for breakfast, just different carbs and in many cases foods with much higher nutrient levels than grains. Potatoes are relatively low nutrient carbs, so if the kid likes them, sweet potatoes or pumpkin or such would be preferred. No one is talking about starving or abusing a child, just finding healthier substitutes that she will enjoy.

44894358c1cd33674c22850cc9368959

(238)

on November 20, 2012
at 12:26 AM

I'm not really into granola and oats. I'm just saying it's a perfectly fine breakfast for children, probably a lot more beneficial then a fat and protein breakfast. Let's be real, kids aren't becoming fat and sick from oatmeal.

0
Ed7403e397077dd1acdbf25c7f6e56ce

on November 19, 2012
at 08:42 PM

I feed my niece about 2/3 Paleo... breakfast and lunch. Be careful not to create a fixation on food, and remember sometimes the best intentions can cause a paradoxical return in the long run. Be easy about it.

Too strict a diet can push your child toward bad habits when they find themselves in position to make their own choices.

No matter how Paleo you are, junk food is delicious and flavor is also a big part of quality-of-life. Awareness & moderation are your best tools to installing healthy habits.

0
Dda1dbc296c25b7835053a251ea6868b

on December 20, 2011
at 12:15 AM

Thank you very much all.

Happy holidays.

0
Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 16, 2011
at 12:16 AM

There is a lot about on paleo 'granola' but I'd still look to try to introduce breakfast options. Oatmeal may be the fall back on troublesome days, but if you can go with bacon or sausages or indeed a favourite meal from a different time of day and get that established as an option, then as the rest of the day goes paleo she'll hopefully work out for herself what she prefers for breakfast.

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