2

votes

My children are addicted to sugar and processed food.

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 20, 2013 at 7:11 PM

Anyone have advice for a father (6 months paleo) that is trying to move his children, 3 and 6, away from eating highly processed foods? Any good kid-friendly ideas?

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:39 PM

Also, I recognize that there are kids with neurodevelopmental disorders that cause sensory issues and food aversions, and kids you describe with allergies and food intolerances that have different issues, but a normal, healthy kid will NOT starve or suffer from a skipped meal or dish at a meal. OTOH, my nephew with Aspergers will go DAYS without eating and he is one who might suffer nutritionally. That's an entirely different situation than the OP's question (and I suspect it IS related somewhat to food intolerances his pediatrician mom has NO clue about).

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:33 PM

Our kids are never forced to eat something they dislike. Everyone in our family (me included) has a few foods we really dislike and won't eat. Peppers ( ironically) is on my "do not eat list", but we also serve enough variety that there's at least something for everyone. If our kids won't eat the liver and onions, there's a hearty salad with protein and mashed cauliflower on the table, too.

94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on February 22, 2013
at 01:46 PM

...I'm not saying these are your kids but just that Florence's advice and the old adage that "they will NOT starve to death" may not be true and I would like parents looking to these threads to have a little bug in their ear about this just in case. Nutritional deficiencies can develop so easily in kids like this and they can be harmed. Being dogmatic about the family dinner table without being aware of issues having nothing to do with our parental control is also not healthy for children.

94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on February 22, 2013
at 01:39 PM

Some gluten-intolerant or sensitive kids will live on wheat products if they continue to be provided. A child whose relationship with food is entwined such a mechanism, (celiac, intolerance, allergies, etc...), especially undiagnosed, may already have food issues without it having anything to do with the parents being "in control" and "the rules". Some kids are already listening to their bodies which are saying "I'm addicted to wheat but I can't eat peppers and broccoli because they make my tummy hurt even more!" but they aren't necessarily able to express this. ...

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on February 22, 2013
at 01:32 PM

What a wonderful answer!

F44d0da1d8757028535836c2d22caac6

(83)

on February 21, 2013
at 02:27 PM

Very good advice, thank you.

3b031bce7c181c10452ee202e2b54dc6

(803)

on February 21, 2013
at 01:13 AM

I agree with this. I made no major changes to my eating habits until 6 months ago. I grew up like most kids: fat, overweight, addicted to coke and cookies. I was lucky to never have diabetes or any of the health related issues, but being overweight and discriminated against really made want to change. I think you should feed them what you know is good. Teach them about moderation because when you restrict then they will be more likely to try it (think marijuana and underage consumption). Teach them proper eating habits without being overbearing.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on February 20, 2013
at 10:00 PM

They can both be enemies -- especially when their powers are combined.

679e82fc2e857c9ec267445195ee218b

(20)

on February 20, 2013
at 09:43 PM

example: ice cream swapped with frozen mashed bananas/raw milk/blueberries. traditional milk chocolate reese's cups switched with primal chocolate (melted coconut oil, organic baking cocoa, organic almond butter, raw honey and freeze in mini baking truffle cups)

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on February 20, 2013
at 09:08 PM

Stop letting them eat sugar and processed food. They're 3 and 6.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on February 20, 2013
at 08:50 PM

It took my 8-year-old a while to believe me when I suggested his frequent colds coincided with his eating wheat products while he was away from home. He is now steadfast in his own diet and no longer eats crap when away from home.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on February 20, 2013
at 07:46 PM

Exactly! They can't eat what you don't buy.

  • F44d0da1d8757028535836c2d22caac6

    asked by

    (83)
  • Views
    2.3K
  • Last Activity
    1428D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

16 Answers

best answer

6
32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on February 20, 2013
at 10:23 PM

HeavyD, I've got 4 kids, ages 12, 7, 5, and 3. Here's the thing with kids: the more you try to forbid food, the more they will crave it and find a way around it. Last summer my 7 year old was constantly asking to go to the pool with 1 certain friend ... I found out later that the mom let them have unlimited access to boxes of little debbie snacks! Yeah, great (this is my child who is sensitive to gluten, too). And my 12 year old, she earns her own money and is starting her own exploration of the food universe.

So you really do have to get them on board to have a lasting impact on their lives. Here are some ideas:

(1) Start to transition some of their favorite junk food into a "sometimes food" bowl (in the top, back of the pantry). My kids may be the only ones on the street who still think fruit snacks and lucky charms are candy! This is also a great place to put food and candy sent by clueless relatives.

(2) When we first went paleo, we would do 2 weeks of paleo for the kids. If they were good eaters, we would have a celebration day at the end of 2 weeks (eating food from the sometimes bowl, and maybe a fast food or ice cream trip), and start again.

(3) After a few rounds of that, we started implementing "all meals are paleo" with a few exceptions for snacks. The occasional goldfish, etc. During this time I worked on finding acceptable paleo substitutes for their favorite snacks. Some of our favorites are from the Snacks section on paleoplan.com.

(4) Eventually, over about a year's time, as they ate more paleo food they snacked less. And they seriously chow down at mealtime.

(5) Kids need carbs. Don't deprive them. Especially if they are super active. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice and bananas are big hits around here.

(6) Strangely enough, my kids have trended over time to kind of an IF schedule. I used to be an "eat your breakfast" parent. Now if they aren't hungry, I don't make them. So they often skip breakfast, eat a light lunch, play like maniacs all afternoon and evening, and then eat like pigs at dinner. Esp my boys. (My girls are definitely more into grazing).

Just take your time, don't set yourself up for battle! You want it to be a fun family thing you do together. You want them to eat like this for life, not leave home thinking that dad is a weirdo. :)

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on February 22, 2013
at 01:32 PM

What a wonderful answer!

best answer

4
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on February 20, 2013
at 09:38 PM

Take a look at this documentary video, it's long and subtitled, but a great wake up call for parents: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8N65getIYI&feature=player_embedded

One of the best things I got out of that video was an expert who points out that by letting our kids watch commercial tv, we are essentially inviting Ivy League Wall Street Advertising Execs into our home to tell our children what to eat, instead of exerting our own control as parents over the situation. The video illustrated so clearly what a hold they have on our children who can't even identify common vegetables (at least common in Brazil, where this was made) but they know the names of all the junk food products. And even adults there believe the advertising hype--"oh, this contains no transfats, therefore it must be GOOD for your heart."

You are very lucky to be thinking of this now, when your children are 3 and 6, not when they are older and have a longer history of junk food and are more able to figure out how to get it. Take this golden opportunity NOW, don't wait!

Keep in mind that you're the parent, you're in control, and you know what's best for your children. You MUST do this if you love your children--their health is at stake. As an older parent, my observation of my kids' friends' much younger parents is that they are often afraid to parent their children, to exercise some control and authority. We do that in a very positive way, never negatively or punitive. But we make it clear to our kids that we are the parents and we make the rules. We always tell our kids what we expect, and I can't say I've ever had a problem. My children are well-behaved, and eat a lot of stuff (maybe not liver and beets, but just about everything else).

Chef Tyler Florence was on the View in the last few days and gave a great outline of how he manages with five young kids. Everyone sits down to meals together. They get what's on the table. If a child doesn't like or want the offered food, he/she is welcome to get up from the table and play quietly elsewhere. Nobody is allowed to complain about the food, nobody has to eat anything they don't want to, but no other food is offered. They serve nutrient dense food to their kids, and very few snacks.

Kids who at first may balk at what you offer will NOT starve to death. He described that when a kid is unhappy with the meal, they will leave the table. About 20 minutes later, hunger sets in and they are back and willing to eat. No power struggles. If a tantrum or whining is involved, that's not activity for the table, it's activity for the bedroom. The kid soon figures out that's not very effective behavior. His kids are good, eclectic eaters. They don't serve "kid food" either.

That's pretty much how we've done it, but we didn't go paleo until our kids were older, so our kids are still pretty into pasta and other grain products. They are too old to exert complete control. My husband does the cooking. About 80% of our meals are full paleo, and when my husband cooks pasta and other grain products he always saves out grain free portions for me. And my husband just cannot limit the sweets--he does most of the shopping, so that's a lost battle because he's not on board with it. But our daughters are old enough to make their own food decisions and at least they eat our healthy meals. Despite my husband's shopping, we don't have a lot of junk in our house. Our daughters have great BMI's and are healthy, so it is what it is.

F44d0da1d8757028535836c2d22caac6

(83)

on February 21, 2013
at 02:27 PM

Very good advice, thank you.

94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on February 22, 2013
at 01:46 PM

...I'm not saying these are your kids but just that Florence's advice and the old adage that "they will NOT starve to death" may not be true and I would like parents looking to these threads to have a little bug in their ear about this just in case. Nutritional deficiencies can develop so easily in kids like this and they can be harmed. Being dogmatic about the family dinner table without being aware of issues having nothing to do with our parental control is also not healthy for children.

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:33 PM

Our kids are never forced to eat something they dislike. Everyone in our family (me included) has a few foods we really dislike and won't eat. Peppers ( ironically) is on my "do not eat list", but we also serve enough variety that there's at least something for everyone. If our kids won't eat the liver and onions, there's a hearty salad with protein and mashed cauliflower on the table, too.

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on February 22, 2013
at 03:39 PM

Also, I recognize that there are kids with neurodevelopmental disorders that cause sensory issues and food aversions, and kids you describe with allergies and food intolerances that have different issues, but a normal, healthy kid will NOT starve or suffer from a skipped meal or dish at a meal. OTOH, my nephew with Aspergers will go DAYS without eating and he is one who might suffer nutritionally. That's an entirely different situation than the OP's question (and I suspect it IS related somewhat to food intolerances his pediatrician mom has NO clue about).

94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on February 22, 2013
at 01:39 PM

Some gluten-intolerant or sensitive kids will live on wheat products if they continue to be provided. A child whose relationship with food is entwined such a mechanism, (celiac, intolerance, allergies, etc...), especially undiagnosed, may already have food issues without it having anything to do with the parents being "in control" and "the rules". Some kids are already listening to their bodies which are saying "I'm addicted to wheat but I can't eat peppers and broccoli because they make my tummy hurt even more!" but they aren't necessarily able to express this. ...

12
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on February 20, 2013
at 07:25 PM

I don't know about the transition because I started my little dude off paleo from the start; however, I will be a bit of a jerk here just because it's really not that hard with kids this small: if they can't drive the the store themselves, they don't get to control what food is in the house.

Practically, they may make your life miserable for a couple of days but they won't starve, they'll figure out that once they get hungry enough they'll eat the real food.

5
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on February 20, 2013
at 07:29 PM

Your kids are small, which means that depend on you for food. Therefore, it's up to you to offer them healthy food. Just never buy them processed food, but DO buy lots of fruits! When the kids ask for sugar, send them to the fruit bowl! It's as easy as that.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on February 20, 2013
at 07:46 PM

Exactly! They can't eat what you don't buy.

1
679e82fc2e857c9ec267445195ee218b

(20)

on February 20, 2013
at 09:36 PM

Instead of point the finger at you and say "bad bad father for feeding your kids that food..." I would like to applaud you for making this switch!

My husband and I do not yet have children, but I believe that switching children to paleo is very much time an adult should switch. Baby steps, AND make sure that you are swapping one bad food with an alternative healthier food. You can't simply take something away without providing a food in it's place.

I don't know if you're good in the kitchen, but you can easily modify lots of traditional recipes with healthy paleo ingredients. There are also a lot of processed organic foods that would be a healier swap. Sure, it's still not the best, but baby steps is better than jumping in with both feet sometimes and then ruining it all and causing a bunch of chaos.

Best of luck.

679e82fc2e857c9ec267445195ee218b

(20)

on February 20, 2013
at 09:43 PM

example: ice cream swapped with frozen mashed bananas/raw milk/blueberries. traditional milk chocolate reese's cups switched with primal chocolate (melted coconut oil, organic baking cocoa, organic almond butter, raw honey and freeze in mini baking truffle cups)

1
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on February 20, 2013
at 08:30 PM

Well, assuming their blood sugar is okay, you might delineate between the two goals. Goal one no more processed foods. Goal two is less sugar.

So fruits, raw honey, etc- well there's a lot of unprocessed (or just less processed stuff like dried figs, dates, etc...)

Goal two is a little harder. Personally, in order to get rid of sweet cravings, I would eat meat- usually brisket, pork- something with protein and fat in it. It wasn't what I was craving, but eventually the cravings attenuated. It'll work with children too, but they won't necessarily want to participate. Maybe a stevia sweetened something could help, but I don't know.

The big deal is no grains, legumes, or dairy (well, except for the fat, which is great). If you remove those, you remove stuff that is far more addictive than sugar itself, so you may find things settling down.

1
516acc15d9046f4ad07e8332541cdd60

on February 20, 2013
at 08:29 PM

I like waiting until they get sick. and then when they are puking, i tell them, "well, i told you to quit eating that crap" =) I wish i was joking, so does my wife, but im not. I also have them help me make food. I have one on board, and one baby who ive fed paleo since he was six months, sooo he has no choice, and also cant tell me otherwise since he cant talk.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on February 20, 2013
at 08:50 PM

It took my 8-year-old a while to believe me when I suggested his frequent colds coincided with his eating wheat products while he was away from home. He is now steadfast in his own diet and no longer eats crap when away from home.

1
0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

on February 20, 2013
at 07:26 PM

This question seems to come up on PH with some regularity and always stumps me.

When I was growing up, I ate what was put in front of me, period. If I wanted candy or fast food, I simply snuck it into my day in ways my parents couldn't have prevented. Did my parents and teachers do their best to explain why these foods weren't the best choice? Maybe, maybe not, I don't know. But I do know that it didn't make a difference to me either way, if I wanted a Snickers bar. I think kids will be kids, and unless they're under your surveillance pretty constantly, you'll only have a certain amount of control over what they have access to.

All that said, there are some great blogs out there written by paleo parents but this might ultimately come down to the nature of your own relationship with your children, and what you know of their temperaments and psychologies, and the best "carrot" or "stick" approach to shaping how they think about food.

3b031bce7c181c10452ee202e2b54dc6

(803)

on February 21, 2013
at 01:13 AM

I agree with this. I made no major changes to my eating habits until 6 months ago. I grew up like most kids: fat, overweight, addicted to coke and cookies. I was lucky to never have diabetes or any of the health related issues, but being overweight and discriminated against really made want to change. I think you should feed them what you know is good. Teach them about moderation because when you restrict then they will be more likely to try it (think marijuana and underage consumption). Teach them proper eating habits without being overbearing.

1
B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on February 20, 2013
at 07:25 PM

find foods that they can help prepare and really lay it on thick when you talk about how delicious these foods are. tell them how these foods improve your life and how eating them will make them more like you. kids that age want to be like their parents.

0
E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on February 22, 2013
at 04:22 AM

Patience, patience, patience.

Teach them how to prepare their own snacks and turn into a fun activity.

0
44f0901d5b0e85d8b00315c892d00f8a

on February 21, 2013
at 08:53 AM

Step 1 Read labels and cut out any foods that contain added sugars. These may be fairly easy to eliminate because you don't use them very much. Products that contain added sugar include baked beans, ketchup, barbecue sauce, some salad dressings, granola bars and some cereals. Either eliminate these products from your diet or switch to similar ones that are sugar-free.

Step 2 Switch to diet soda. It might take awhile to adjust to the change in flavor, so don't give up if you don't like it at first. Stop drinking juices and fruit drinks that contain sugar. Look for sport drinks and energy drinks that are sugar-free.

Step 3 Minimize the simple carbohydrates in your diet. Reduce the white bread, white rice, starchy snacks such as potato chips, baked goods and syrups in your diet. Even if they don't taste sweet, these affect your blood sugar and can fuel sugar cravings. Instead, choose complex carbs, such as whole wheat, oat bran, barley, rye, buckwheat and brown rice.

http://www.rosebudmag.com/lifestyle/health-fitness/healthy-lifeblood-drop-in-basket

0
3ec1b1b21c5b8ca332262822ae82be22

on February 21, 2013
at 12:05 AM

Take it all out of the house and teach them what sugar and processed food does to them (in a kid friendly speech).

0
Fad6cc45c86408332aaf337d68e7b8c2

on February 20, 2013
at 08:15 PM

Shock collar. When bad food is ingested, give a little jolt, when good food is ingested no shock. Quick lesson

I have the same problem, and have done what most people here have stated. They can't drive, but they do find ways to sneak it in the house; from friends, neighbor kids, etc.

The best you can do is not buy it, and make it a real treat once in awhile.

0
5616e8de3e99ae199d9fd896098a331a

on February 20, 2013
at 08:14 PM

I would mix sugar and sugary foods with pepper.

-2
7cf9f5b08a41ecf2a2d2bc0b31ea6fa0

on February 20, 2013
at 08:37 PM

Sugar is not the enemy; pufas are

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on February 20, 2013
at 10:00 PM

They can both be enemies -- especially when their powers are combined.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!