4

votes

How do you teach kids about this lifestyle?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 30, 2011 at 1:00 PM

My daughter is a bright, inquisitive 9- year old. She is lean, active and healthy (as I once was). I've been eating paleo for about a month and making changes to what I cook and bring into the house, but I want to make further changes to how she eats. We've always eaten a little better than most SAD families and she enjoys healthy food, but also enjoys grains, peanut butter and sweets.

Does anyone know of any resources I can use to guide her? How do I convince her that what her beloved teacher told her about the food pyramid is wrong? (I wish I had all this info 6 months ago when we did the food pyramid project; I wonder what would've happened if she had presented alternative information). If I can get her on board with accessible information, we'll have better long-term success, as opposed to me just making a bunch of rules. I can make the decisions for what happens in my home, but I want her to be armed with knowledge that will guide her when she's outside of my influence, which is happening more and more as she gets older.

2f931662684a7747be36255c8b486228

(1049)

on July 12, 2011
at 08:15 AM

Thanks so much for that link. I will most probably be homeschooling this year and need all the good curriculum I can get my hands on. I think the internet is an acceptable way of having "external contact" that of course you can hand pick. No school lunches for my paleoanna.

2f931662684a7747be36255c8b486228

(1049)

on July 12, 2011
at 08:10 AM

Absoloutely great idea. My daughter usually responds (only to me).."No, I don't want my teeth to fall out"...probably because this is what I've been telling her since she was two.....but to condition her response to be automatic to others is such a great idea. I am going to work on this starting today...LOVE IT.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on June 30, 2011
at 10:09 PM

I would feel so heavy if I ate all those crackers and tried to swim. Blah! (although eating a giant thing of raisins and coconut flakes just now might be just as heavy!)

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 10:06 PM

those macaroons look delicious! Thanks!

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 10:05 PM

I love all the ideas too. She is a swimmer and I've been trying to send healthier snacks lately. I was appalled the other night when a child from another team ate an ENTIRE box of crackers between his events...I can't imagine what parent would think a child needed that kind of food to fuel a few 50-yard races. I'll keep playing off of that, and she does love to organize too. Thanks for the ideas!

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 10:01 PM

I love the party idea! How fun!

F3176aa8463fe7f416f4da0d04974c1d

(1392)

on June 30, 2011
at 08:54 PM

That stone-age party sounds adorable! What an awesome way to get the kids interested. Grok on, Kathi!

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on June 30, 2011
at 05:50 PM

OMFG that is hilarious!

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on June 30, 2011
at 05:42 PM

What a great idea!!!

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 05:39 PM

You should write comics for kids staring the super hero foods and the beer and twinkie villains...Pot Belly Pabst and Type 2 Twinkie?

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 05:35 PM

akd, that is fantastic!

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on June 30, 2011
at 05:17 PM

I'm now envisioning a sketchy looking blob of a muppet with bad teeth and a huge monobrow - "Mr. PUFA"

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on June 30, 2011
at 05:14 PM

Coffee and apple store...that is hilarious!

1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on June 30, 2011
at 04:11 PM

Plus one for super-powers!

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on June 30, 2011
at 04:06 PM

my kids are much younger (3 and 1), and its funny because mcdonalds has both awesome coffee for a dollar any size, and a drive through which is HEAVEN when the kids are asleep and we are driving around. they also have apple slices that come with caramel dipping sauce (WHY?!?!) so if im getting coffee, ill get my kids the apples (HOLD THE SAUCE). and now my kids call mcdonalds "the coffee and apple store". they think thats all they sell! i dread the day they find out there are french fries in there.

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 03:37 PM

Thanks! I was pretty strict about sugar for awhile when she was younger, but I've relaxed too much over the last couple of years (hence my 25 lb weight gain!). I would love to hear a 3-yr old say "polyunsaturated fatty acids are bad"!!

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 03:32 PM

Thanks for taking the time to answer, it's great info! I'm a speech therapist, and one of the tests I use has a pic of real carrots with the stem and leaves attached. Each year I have more kids that don't know what they are!

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:50 PM

I don't do the killing - but I do do the cleaning. DO-do is right - there is a lot of shite involved. I need at least two days between cleaning and eating so I can erase those images from my mind. I wish I could say it tasted as good or better than store bought duck - it doesn't. Marshy. As for the rut - lamb shanks, dear lord, yes - lamb shanks.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:43 PM

haa! thanks. im feeling stuck in a rut of hamburgers with mushrooms and sausages with kraut. and eggs. so many freaking eggs. but, the pics are for my noob paleo friends who have never cooked anything in their life. ;) you better look out of im heading to your house for some of your husbands fresh CANARD!!!! its my favorite, and i dont have the heart to kill it myself just yet.

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:38 PM

that's wonderful! I'm loving taking steps to get closer to our food.

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:33 PM

I love your ideas. She loves science and reading, and that article would be a great introduction.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:29 PM

AKD - Your food photos are going to make me move my entire family in with you -)

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:22 PM

how did i not see your post? i just said pretty much the same thing, minus the hunting. more proof we are on the same page.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:15 PM

Mindi - you have this all wrapped up lady! I was a little daunted by all of the work the garden and chickens would take - turns out it's been fun for me too.

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:09 PM

that's great! Thanks for sharing your experiences!

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:08 PM

I'm looking for learning opportunities...I would never expect total compliance; hell, I can't even do that! I love your ideas. We've been visiting the farmer's market and talking with the vendors about their food and we're doing a little container gardening this year, with plans to plant an actual garden next year.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:02 PM

Totally agree - food and cooking is supposed to be a family activity.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:01 PM

I like your comment. Very nice.

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12 Answers

9
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on June 30, 2011
at 01:42 PM

Just my opinion, but the best way to teach them is by example. So talking while preparing food, discussing the topic in a natural normal way sends the message passively yet effectively!!

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:02 PM

Totally agree - food and cooking is supposed to be a family activity.

7
Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:20 PM

mine are just 3.5 and 1.5, so the conversation looks a bit different in our house, but i dont explicitly talk about food other than to say something helps you grow healthy and strong and another thing doesnt. some things dont help you grow healthy and strong, but are a special treat, like ice cream. i give food superpowers (carrots help you see in the dark, meat helps you be super strong, spinach helps you jump super high, etc.) and my oldest digs that. little ones love magical thinking, and anything didactic wont go over too well.

aside from that, we get a lot of our food at a few local farms so she definitely knows the animal we eventually eat, and knows how to collect an egg out from under a chicken, and she says, "thanks girls" to the cows when we go get our milk. many of our friends are farmers or keep livestock. we have a garden, and do a lot of PYO veggies and berries. she pulls weeds, and sprouts seeds. she helps me make jam in spring that we eat in winter. its just sort of part of our lifestyle, and she will (hopefully) internalize that as she grows. if she goes through a beer and twinkie stage in college then thats her problem, but my guess is that she will get over it with maturity. i know i did!

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:38 PM

that's wonderful! I'm loving taking steps to get closer to our food.

1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on June 30, 2011
at 04:11 PM

Plus one for super-powers!

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 05:39 PM

You should write comics for kids staring the super hero foods and the beer and twinkie villains...Pot Belly Pabst and Type 2 Twinkie?

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on June 30, 2011
at 05:50 PM

OMFG that is hilarious!

5
0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:00 PM

I don't have kids this age - mine are younger and therefore maybe easier.

My main question would be what are your goals here? Are you trying to achieve total compliance? Or, are you just looking for some learning opportunities.

I like to teach my kids about where food comes from start to finish. We keep a small garden and grow interestingly colored veggies like yellow tomatoes and blue potatoes. We are starting to keep five laying hens. My husband also hunts - mostly birds like duck, pheasant and geese - it's a little easier to swallow than big game hunting. It's sort of like the fly fishing of the hunting world. We visit farms and try to buy our beef and lamb there. Sometimes we volunteer to help out at the farms too.

Kelly really summed it up, though. Kids are kids and they are going to want certain things. You really can't control what she is going to do when you are not around. So, arming her with enough information and experiences so that she makes good decisions is, in my opinion, the best thing you can do.

Oh, and keep it fun.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:29 PM

AKD - Your food photos are going to make me move my entire family in with you -)

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:22 PM

how did i not see your post? i just said pretty much the same thing, minus the hunting. more proof we are on the same page.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:15 PM

Mindi - you have this all wrapped up lady! I was a little daunted by all of the work the garden and chickens would take - turns out it's been fun for me too.

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:08 PM

I'm looking for learning opportunities...I would never expect total compliance; hell, I can't even do that! I love your ideas. We've been visiting the farmer's market and talking with the vendors about their food and we're doing a little container gardening this year, with plans to plant an actual garden next year.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:50 PM

I don't do the killing - but I do do the cleaning. DO-do is right - there is a lot of shite involved. I need at least two days between cleaning and eating so I can erase those images from my mind. I wish I could say it tasted as good or better than store bought duck - it doesn't. Marshy. As for the rut - lamb shanks, dear lord, yes - lamb shanks.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:43 PM

haa! thanks. im feeling stuck in a rut of hamburgers with mushrooms and sausages with kraut. and eggs. so many freaking eggs. but, the pics are for my noob paleo friends who have never cooked anything in their life. ;) you better look out of im heading to your house for some of your husbands fresh CANARD!!!! its my favorite, and i dont have the heart to kill it myself just yet.

5
B96486cc39cf24fdf259424f833a5d5b

(493)

on June 30, 2011
at 01:59 PM

My kids, 7 and 13, are on board with us - the only difference is that we allow gluten-free cereals since, after all, they're kids. But they both are serious about the Paleo/Primal lifestyle and make sure that their friends' families are aware of how they eat now. Surprisingly, it's catching on with friends now. We've had both kids spend nights away from home where their dinners were meat and veg, and they'd take their own gluten-free cereal for mornings (or else make eggs). Milk is raw now, and sugar hasn't been much of an issue. They've learned that it's not necessary to make foods taste good.

Just trust your daughter to make the right choices whether she's at home or away.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:01 PM

I like your comment. Very nice.

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:09 PM

that's great! Thanks for sharing your experiences!

4
637042e24e38a81dfc089ef55bed9d46

(826)

on June 30, 2011
at 01:37 PM

http://www.foodrenegade.com/realfoodnutrition/nutritioncourse.html

This is a curriculum for kids that is based on the philosophy of the Weston A. Price Foundation. You could just leave out the section about grains. She has two courses, one for 6-11 year olds and another for teens.

2f931662684a7747be36255c8b486228

(1049)

on July 12, 2011
at 08:15 AM

Thanks so much for that link. I will most probably be homeschooling this year and need all the good curriculum I can get my hands on. I think the internet is an acceptable way of having "external contact" that of course you can hand pick. No school lunches for my paleoanna.

3
D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on June 30, 2011
at 03:43 PM

I think that one of the most effective ways to grab kids' attention is talking about the pros of healthy foods and the cons of unhealthy foods. At your daughter's age you can even get into nutrient and macro specifics:

  • "I love having avocados and salmon with our salad. The healthy fats from those keep our hair and fingernails shiny and strong!"

  • "We don't buy that kind of dessert because it has lots of sugar added. Sugar doesn't help your body grow tall and strong - instead it just makes you feel thirsty and tired, and you feel hungry again after eating sugary stuff because it doesn't fill you up."

  • "Those [storebought] cookies have gluten and sugar and other yucky ingredients in them that are not good for your body. I'll bet that we can do even better and bake some [say, coconut almond macaroons with a trace amount of honey] that are even more delicious later tonight." <-- of course baking paleo treats all the time is not the answer, but it was especially helpful for me for during a time of transition with my oldest - the promise of fun time making something with mommy was a surprisingly good stall tactic.

  • "Let's have sweet potatoes with our steak tonight! They have starch that gives your growing body energy, and vitamin A to help boost your eyesight."

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 10:06 PM

those macaroons look delicious! Thanks!

3
1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:11 PM

This sounds like a great opportunity to introduce the idea that she needs to critically think about the information she gets, even from a trusted source like her teacher. I think we first learn to trust information based on the intentions of the people offering it and one of the tasks of growing up is to learn that even people with good intentions can be wrong.

I am not sure what her reading level is like, but working through "What if its all been just a big fat lie" together as a more accessible version of Taubes argument might really spur some interesting conversations about how we know things, why policy is made and how science works. That seems valuable even if you don't end up convincing her.

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:33 PM

I love your ideas. She loves science and reading, and that article would be a great introduction.

2
2f931662684a7747be36255c8b486228

(1049)

on June 30, 2011
at 08:43 PM

First of all Paleo is not only about food, but it's a big part. Show her the pictures of evolution, from ape-like to crunched over to tall with a spear and eventually fat like a pig.
I asked my daughter which she'd prefer to be. She picked the guy with the spear. Not the tallest but probably the most adventuristic.

We also just threw a huge stone age party for kids. Almond paste with coconut flour instead of sugar over the top of the cake........with marzipan cave, cave man, camp fire, stones, river decorations etc. My daughter helped mold these things...just like play dough.

We made hand-made tools (hammers) for everyone from stones gathered from the river. Embedded little things (metal bugs...charms) in fake stones molded from cement. The kids got to pound on the stones till they crushed them and found the goodies. (simil-fossil) Tug of war over a huge mud pit. Sling shots...all very primitive.

Anyway..you get the picture. Use fantasy and make "cave like" much more fun than "carb like".

My daughter's birthday party this year was a good opportunity to really push this style of life....even bones hanging everywhere and steaks (dog toys). The fact that the "other kids" enjoyed the party AND THE NO-CARB FOOD...helps promote everything even more.

Also, one month is not a long time. Things will sink in slowly...don't push too much but be consistent and provide good explanations for everything you believe that is "different" than the teachers and others while also explaining that their way of thinking is "normal" since so many people have been misled.

I think that is the hardest part for them to understand......that every single person you know behaves differently than you do.

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 10:01 PM

I love the party idea! How fun!

F3176aa8463fe7f416f4da0d04974c1d

(1392)

on June 30, 2011
at 08:54 PM

That stone-age party sounds adorable! What an awesome way to get the kids interested. Grok on, Kathi!

2
F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on June 30, 2011
at 08:25 PM

I have just loved everyones posts so far. My suggestion to add is: Use what your daughter is already interested in or good at as a segue. If she is into sports -have her help make high energy snacks and foods (learning more details about the overall nutrition and why they are good choices as you go). If she is a organized, have her help learn all your spices and organize them. Or help make your grocery list. If she is likes animals -you can focus more on the local organic farmers and their open houses. She can learn to make wonderful meat dishes that are a tribute to the animal. Good Luck!

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on June 30, 2011
at 10:09 PM

I would feel so heavy if I ate all those crackers and tried to swim. Blah! (although eating a giant thing of raisins and coconut flakes just now might be just as heavy!)

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 10:05 PM

I love all the ideas too. She is a swimmer and I've been trying to send healthier snacks lately. I was appalled the other night when a child from another team ate an ENTIRE box of crackers between his events...I can't imagine what parent would think a child needed that kind of food to fuel a few 50-yard races. I'll keep playing off of that, and she does love to organize too. Thanks for the ideas!

2
D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on June 30, 2011
at 03:27 PM

I agree with the leading by example as others have already posted. Additionally, I had posted a relevant response here regarding my 3 year old daughter - http://paleohacks.com/questions/47785/defining-moment-on-paleo/48024#48024

Here's how I approached it (work in progress) -

  • About 1 month ago, I started telling my little girl "sugar is bad for you" and had her repeat it to me after I said it...and then give her a big high five and hug of course.

  • After some time (don't remember exactly how long), I then added, "if some one gives you candy or juice, what do you say?". Initially I got a blank stare and then I would say "sugar is bad for you" and ask her to repeat.

  • After some time, the blank stares stopped and then she would respond to my question with the "correct" answer.

  • It's not that my wife and I don't ever give her sugar (ice cream, candy), it is just of course very, very limited. However when we did, I would still ask her the question and get the response.

  • About 2 weeks ago, we were at a friend's pool for a party and the host offered her a juice box and then she blurted out "sugar is bad". So the continual reinforcement apparently worked!

Maybe with a 9 year old, this approach will not work. Also, I want to be clear, I was not at all a drill sargeant about this. I was very deliberate and mindful of what I was doing, but she is a child and I also was aware of this so that I didn't become militant about it.

Next I plan to tackle gluten and PUFAs :-) Good luck!

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on June 30, 2011
at 05:42 PM

What a great idea!!!

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 03:37 PM

Thanks! I was pretty strict about sugar for awhile when she was younger, but I've relaxed too much over the last couple of years (hence my 25 lb weight gain!). I would love to hear a 3-yr old say "polyunsaturated fatty acids are bad"!!

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on June 30, 2011
at 05:17 PM

I'm now envisioning a sketchy looking blob of a muppet with bad teeth and a huge monobrow - "Mr. PUFA"

2f931662684a7747be36255c8b486228

(1049)

on July 12, 2011
at 08:10 AM

Absoloutely great idea. My daughter usually responds (only to me).."No, I don't want my teeth to fall out"...probably because this is what I've been telling her since she was two.....but to condition her response to be automatic to others is such a great idea. I am going to work on this starting today...LOVE IT.

2
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on June 30, 2011
at 02:44 PM

My kids are 6 and 8 and we discuss our food during prep and over dinner. At the dinner table I sometimes get them to tell me the macro-nutrient group for each item (fat, protein, carb) so they are starting to learn that. They know that beef comes from cows, ribs come from pigs, etc. When we go to a zoo or farm, I will point at the parts of the animal that they eat for dinner (i.e. flank steak comes from here, chicken breasts come from here, etc). They are interested by this but not grossed out at all, and I think it is important for them to know that meat doesn't just come in plastic packages.

I also tell them the names of all of the fruits and vegetables that we eat, and when we go to the grocery store, I make a game of getting them to tell me what everything is. They know the difference between spinach, chard, and kale, for example, and different varieties of apples, grapes, the difference between shallots and onions, etc.

They sometimes help me do prep work, including handling raw meat (trimming fat, trussing a chicken or turkey, etc). Curiously they are not grossed out by this at all, even something like grinding raw meat, I guess it's about the same as play-dough or finger painting. They aren't to the point of doing any actual cooking yet but they know the basic routine.

I think that this is the best way to get your kids educated about food, basically teach them where it comes from, what to do with it, and why it's good for you. I also discourage their interest in packaged foods of any kind, I call it all "junk", and even though they like to eat it, they know that I don't approve of all of it. I don't make a big deal about it, they are kids after all, but I think they will grow up knowing that packaged foods are an indulgence and not mandatory. They also know that fast food like what comes from McDonald's is bad for them, though they will eat it on occasion.

There was a time in our culture when this kind of education was both normal and mandatory, because people were a lot closer to their sources of food, and if you wanted to eat, you had to know what a potato looked like. Today, you can probably go your entire life buying only things that come in colorful boxes and have no idea about where they came from or the nutritional content.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on June 30, 2011
at 05:14 PM

Coffee and apple store...that is hilarious!

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 03:32 PM

Thanks for taking the time to answer, it's great info! I'm a speech therapist, and one of the tests I use has a pic of real carrots with the stem and leaves attached. Each year I have more kids that don't know what they are!

Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 30, 2011
at 05:35 PM

akd, that is fantastic!

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on June 30, 2011
at 04:06 PM

my kids are much younger (3 and 1), and its funny because mcdonalds has both awesome coffee for a dollar any size, and a drive through which is HEAVEN when the kids are asleep and we are driving around. they also have apple slices that come with caramel dipping sauce (WHY?!?!) so if im getting coffee, ill get my kids the apples (HOLD THE SAUCE). and now my kids call mcdonalds "the coffee and apple store". they think thats all they sell! i dread the day they find out there are french fries in there.

1
Medium avatar

(3029)

on June 30, 2011
at 02:44 PM

How to teach her about this lifestyle? Live it!

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