Paleo & kids. How does it work? It can work, but I think it is about 1000 times harder than if you are a single, Cross-fitting, 20-something. One of the reasons I started blogging, about 1 1/2 years ago, was because very few of the Paleo/Primal resources I was using seemed to have families in mind. I loved the blogs, websites and recipes, but they just didn’t seem to “speak to” my situation. Things have changed a lot in the last couple of years though and there are now lots of incredible, informative resources out there for you and your family. I can’t wait to share them with you in this post! I am really excited that some of the big names in Paleo (Robb Wolf, Chris Kresser, Dallas & Melissa Hartwig) are beginning their journeys into parenthood and I am sure some amazing resources will result! My plan for this post is to:
When I first went Paleo, I had already been on a path of “Clean Eating”. (Few processed foods, rare fast food visits, careful reading of labels, varied whole grains, more veggies & fruits, etc…) I had very healthy pregnancies, deliveries & breastfeeding experiences. Baby #1 was healthy as a horse. Never sick. Then, quickly along came Baby #2 and was he a whole different story. My boy was practically born with an ear infection. He was an excellent nurser and a great eater, but he had an ear infection every 3 weeks until 7 months. Trip after trip to the Dr, where we were given antibiotics over and over. To the point at 7 months when the meds were so strong, he couldn’t even keep them down. We were told our only option was tubes in the ears. I had been reading and researching like crazy & decided to go dairy-free (He & I, because of the breastfeeding). Within days, the congestion was gone and never an ear infection again. After a few months, we tried reintroducing a little yogurt here, some cheese there and no ill effects. Straight milk, however immediately resulted in a little bit of congestion or his actual ears turning bright red for a few minutes. We weren’t quite ready to go Paleo, but you could say that this was our first adventure into looking at specific foods as a trigger for medical, health and behavioral issues. (Grapes/grape juice or any artificial coloring would turn this kid UPSIDE DOWN within 15 minutes.)
So, a year or so later when this Mama was struggling so much with her own issues, I was open-minded about eliminating specific foods to see if I noticed a difference. I never thought the path would lead us here, but it did. I am lucky that my kids were already used to eating healthier than the average kid. However, what I wouldn’t give to have been Paleo a little earlier. Just like many of you out there, my kids are “transition” kids. They have had some of the ‘good stuff’, and they know how light, fluffy & sweet it is! I also have quite the range. My daughter is a VERY PICKY eater, but my little guy will eat ANYTHING! (I also do not claim to be “Perfectly Paleo” at anytime. My kids are 80-90%, but with my damaged stomach, I don’t have that kind of wiggle room.)
The Godmother of Paleo. A personal friend of Robb Wolf, she had the first blog, the first cookbook, the first everything. And it is all good stuff. I highly suggest that you get both of her cookbooks and not just for the recipes. Her personal story is very motivating. At the same time, she gives excellent advice on time management, exercising & how to spend family time in meaningful ways. While two of her children were young when she “went Paleo,” she also had a teenager that was difficult to transition. She shares the story in the cookbooks & blog. Great visuals in her first book on how to workout with your kids at home. They are essentials in a Paleo library! She also has an informative & fun FREE podcast, Paleo Talk, with Chrissy Gower (see below) that covers all parts of being Paleo that is geared towards women and mothers.
Chrissy Gower’s cookbook is really great for a couple of reasons. First, the introduction explaining her personal path to Paleo and her challenge in cooking for a husband that is a very picky eater is a lot of fun to read. Robb Wolf is Chrissy’s brother-in-law. However, she didn’t run to Paleo with open arms. Second, the recipes really are delicious & SIMPLE. These recipes do not require a lot of fancy ingredients & as you can gather from the title are primarily CrockPot cooking. If you don’t consider yourself much of a cook, check out her cookbook & website. Simple ingredients and simple recipes with an emphasis on flavor. She has learned to cook for a picky eater and you can tell with this book. She is also a very integral part of the Paleo Talk podcast & might be one of the first bloggers I have run across to really detail a Paleo pregnancy. She loves using Penzey’s spice blends, just like I do, but is kind enough to develop spice blend recipes to mimic Penzey’s for her readers.
Paleo Parents (Eat Like a Dinosaur: Recipe & Guidebook for Gluten Free Kids, Beyond Bacon: Paleo Recipes That Respect The Whole Hog) – Matthew McCarry & Stacy Toth
These folks are a powerhouse of information when it comes to Paleo & kids. They transitioned 3 kids to Paleo while losing a combined total weight of 200 lbs. In the meanwhile, they solved a bunch of health & behavior issues with the kids. All while writing a very in-depth and visually stunning blog, working full time jobs (he is a stay at home dad, she works outside the home) & putting together the 1st Paleo kids cookbook. There really isn’t a thing that they aren’t willing to share about their journey & struggles with Paleo. (Everything from loose skin, entertaining vegan relatives, packing Paleo lunches for a nut-free school & how Paleo affects your sex drive.) This is one of my go-to sites for baking recipes! You will love them for their Pumpkin Pucks & Easy Peasy Pancakes, alone! Although they have LOTS of other great stuff! I am really looking forward to their Beyond Bacon book which is available for pre-order now. (Just click the link above.) Stacy also co-hosts a FREE podcast with…
The Paleo Mom – (The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease, Heal Your Body) -Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D.
Direct from the blog: “The Paleo Mom is a scientist turned stay-at-home mom who shares recipes, explains the science behind the paleo diet and its modifications, and blogs about the challenges of raising a paleo family.” This is a SMART blog, but don’t think it won’t be full of everyday ideas. Sarah has everything covered and then some. Her personal story (120 lb weight loss, health & healing) is remarkable and worth a look. She is also an expert on the Auto Immune Paleo protocol (AIP). When adopting a paleo diet isn’t enough to take care of some intense health issues, this is the route to take and she is one of the best resources for those following it. Sarah collaborates with Stacy on The Paleo View, another FREE podcast that is full of information geared towards women & families.
This is one of my favorite blogs. I think sometimes that i read it and check in just for motivation to be a better person! Shanti is married to Superman, as she lovingly refers to him, and he, like me, is a late in life celiac diagnosis. So their path to Paleo is spurred by his health journey, but as usual everyone benefits. They have 5 kids, age 10 and under. She is a stay at home, homeschooling Mama & he is a high school teacher. Now you are starting to understand the title of their blog! Now, what is your excuse for not doing Paleo again? It’s too hard? —This a very warm, inviting and motivating blog that isn’t super-polished. She is a real wife and mom and it comes across it each post. Another great feature that she offers is very detailed 30 Day At Home CrossFit Challenge Workouts. If you don’t have a CrossFit box near you, or the expense of a membership is a problem, she has you covered.
This is my Go-T0 resource for anything related to baking. Her recipes are foolproof. Although she began as gluten-free, she has evolved to Paleo and her recipes are very easy to follow. I have made substitutions for various oils to coconut oil & sweeteners to maple syrup/honey with no issues. Looking forward to the newest cookbook.The cookbooks are wonderful, but an extensive amount of recipes are available on her blog, for FREE! The Chocolate Cupcakes have passed the non-Paleo test at several parties & the Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies have been winners everywhere I have taken them. Cooking has trial and error opportunities, baking does not. Save yourself money, time & energy by following recipes by an experienced baker!
Paleo Non Paleo -Alison Golden
I love Paleo Non Paleo! Alison is one of the few people out there that are writing about how difficult it is to be Paleo when you don’t know ANYONE ELSE that is following the lifestyle. She also chronicles specifics on how she has dealt with her own health issues. She has a real gift for breaking the problems down and is honest about how her family handles them. You will find a friend in Alison as you read her posts about family, kids, jumping hurdles and dealing with all life’s little surprises. She happens to score really great interviews with some of the big names in Paleo, as well. Read Top Paleo Bloggers: Their Best Tips and Nighttime Reads.
3 Diets One Dinner - Brittanie Duncan
I stumbled upon this site through Facebook. The title caught my eye: Brittanie is Paleo, her husband and kid are not. Her blog posts & yummy looking recipes can give you some ideas on how to handle a family, when not everyone is following the same dietary plan that you are. Check out Spaghetti Night. She has a really great post if you are interested in The Paleo Diet for Weight Loss.
Nom Nom Paleo is the blog for you if you love yummy food and lovely food photography. She is a foodie, that just happens to be Paleo. In collaboration with her husband (Fit Bomb), she has created a really beautiful site that has one several awards for photography and content. Not just “best of” the Paleo community, the entire food blogging community! She also manages to crank out a lot of delicious food while raising two boys and working night shifts. This blog is beautiful, mouth-watering, entertaining and real. A great place to stop and figure out how to cook with a pressure cooker or a sous vide. There is no cookbook available, but they created an app for iPad that not only features recipes, but step by step cooking processes and TONS of pictures. I don’t have it (we don’t have an iPad), but all reviews seem to think it is the BOMB. Personally, I can vouch for her Slow Cooker Lemongrass & Coconut Chicken Drumsticks & Slow Cooker Kalua Pig. Michelle also did an extensive blog series on packing Paleo lunches which is another must read.
Whole Family Strong – Brandon & Jacque
Some blog readers sent me to this site and I have just been blown away by the great content. Jacque is a homeschooling stay at home mom to 3 (and another on the way) young children. Everything is covered here including transitioning to Paleo, how Paleo affects her son’s Type 1 Diabetes, spirituality and relationship with Jesus Christ, finance, time management & of course it covers all her cooking. Written in preparation for the new baby, the post on Healthy Freezer Meals should be appealing to any family. Real Food Munchies & 12 Tips for Pinching Your Paleo Pennies are other must reads for your family!
I found this site when looking for posts on packing lunches. Getting Your Family’s Buy-In for Real Food Lunches is a post that everyone, Paleo/Primal or not should read. There are literally hundreds of pictures of lunches that the blogger is packing for her young daughters and her husband. If you are a visual person and looking to be inspired, this is the blog for you!
Civilized Caveman - George
Okay, George isn’t married & doesn’t have kids. Why am I suggesting him as a family friendly Paleo blogger? Because his food is delicious. Recipes like Paleo Banana Bread (with 3 variations), Apple Dijon Burger & Crock Pot “Smoked Beef Brisket are family favorites of ours.
The Wellness Mama – Katie
Food & recipes is just one thing that The Wellness Mama offers. I love this crisp, fresh site. Some of the articles I have found most interesting lately include: Oil Cleansing for Naturally Perfect Skin, 12 Uses for Gelatin, 9 Easy Ways to Boost Your Child’s Health.
This is another new blog I am following and it is a GOLD MINE of useful posts. I was in love as soon as I saw the header for the blog. I have been sharing the weekly meal planning posts on my FB page. For a taste of what they have to offer check out: Paleo Meal Planning – Family Favorites, Paleo Meal Planning – K.I.S.S, Paleo Meal Planning – Cheap & Easy.
This list was meant to be extensive, but I chose to only profile sites that I visit on a regular basis. I am sure that there are many more out there that would be useful for those of us struggling to survive the “real world” while teaching our kids the Paleo lifestyle. If you know of any great sites that I have missed, please message me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I made a huge batch of these meatballs this week for an End of the Year school picnic. I had plenty for lunch leftovers and even stuck a few in the freezer for later.
Before we went Paleo, I made a burger with cinnamon, cumin, feta and apricots. It was one of my favorite meals. After a quick Google search I found a close Paleo match on Everyday Paleo, of course. http://everydaypaleo.com/2012/01/18/yummy-greek-meatballs/ I modified the original recipe a little bit, I never have chives on hand, we didn’t have lamb and I forgot to get parsley. I love feta, so I put it in there. If you are strict Paleo, leave it out.
Here is my take on meatballs with a bit of Mediterranean flavor. I doubled the recipe and had about 100 meatballs. Make sure that you use an ice cream scoop or a Tablespoon to make your meatballs uniform, so they cook evenly. This is one of those times that a little precision makes a big difference. I baked mine on a baking rack over a cookie sheet to catch all the dripping fat. Warning: 450 degrees is a pretty hot oven and with all the fat dripping it can get a little steamy/drippy/splattery. It only takes 15 minutes, but keep an eye on these as they bake!
1) Mix all ingredients in a large bowl by hand.
2) Shape meatballs with a scoop and roll them in your hands. I had about a 1-1/2 inch ball.
3) Place meatballs on a lightly greased baking rack that is resting on a baking sheet with sides to collect the drippings. (I greased the rack by pouring some olive oil on my hands and just rubbing the baking rack.)
4) Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them, they cook quickly and the splattering can get kind of hot and messy.
5) Cut into one to test.
My mom makes the BEST cole slaw, hands down. This one is pretty good and wildly different, so I don’t have to feel like I am cheating on my Mom. Creamy cole slaw is good, but you need some good mayo. This is easier and skips a couple of steps.
This recipe is heavily influenced by the Everyday Paleo cole slaw recipe. She must love cole slaw, too. There is a great recipe in the book (Get it, you will use nearly every recipe) and she mentions many variations throughout her blogposts. Check her out at www.everydaypaleo.com if you haven’t already. She is raising a family of 3 boys and it was the “first” paleo cookbook I got a hold of.
Mango Cole Slaw
1. Mix everything up in a big bowl and chill in the fridge. It tastes better after it sits for a while.
As one of my friends pointed out, it wouldn’t take much adjusting to turn this into a form of the Oriental Chicken Salad that is popular at a lot of big chain restaurants. Changing the oils to sesame, adding some soy sauce and throwing in some grilled or rotisserie chicken.
You could also take this in a Hawaiian direction with some pineapple and soy sauce/coconut aminos.
Or go crazy and add bacon. The point is to start with the base of cabbage and use what you have on hand to come up with a great slaw/salad. Even if you aren’t a great cook, start picking up interesting vinegars and oils on your trips to the store and doing some experimenting. They aren’t expensive and they keep for a long time in the pantry.
I planned to take egg cradles from Everyday Paleo (http://everydaypaleo.com/2011/04/20/easter-menu-smoked-salmon-casserole-easter-bunny-carrots-egg-cradles-tropical-macaroons/) to an Easter Egg Hunt Saturday morning for the kids. I could only find one muffin tin, so 2 dozen egg cradles became 1 dozen egg cradles and an “egg pie.” Both were gobbled up completly with bunches of compliments on the sweet potato crust. As cute as the little individual cradles were, it was much easier to make an egg pie and a lot easier to clean up. So, here is the egg pie I made this morning with the leftover grated sweet potato from yesterday. I also threw in “too much” broccoli for the men in my house, but otherwise a yummy breakfast dish!
1) Coat pie plate with some coconut oil.
2)Mix grated sweet potato with the melted coconut oil. Press into the bottom and sides of pie plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3) Bake at 350-375 for 20 minutes
4)Remove sweet potato crust from oven. Sprinkle veggies in bottom of plate. Sprinkle Penzey’s seasoning over veggies.
5) Crack eggs on top of veggies evenly over the whole pie crust.
6) Sprinkle with chopped bacon.
7) Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes till eggs are your desired level of cooked.
(My broccoli was raw, so I just threw it in the oven while the sweet potato crust was baking. It didn’t take an extra step. Also, this egg pie was extra yolk-y because I needed 4 egg whites to make macaroons. The pie in the picture is 5 whole eggs plus 4 egg yolks.)
This would work with any fruit combo. I have done blackberry & peach before. Tonight was strawberry, because I had a bunch. 80 degree weather makes me think of summer and a great summer dessert is a nice fruit cobbler. I am not for sure what the official difference between a cobbler and a crumble is, but my kids’ favorite book is The Gruffalo, and the little mouse threatens the big, mean Gruffalo with Gruffalo Crumble. So, I am fond of crumbles.
My recipe is inspired by and very similar to this one: http://everydaypaleo.com/2010/06/18/blackberry-cobbler Seriously, Sarah Fragoso is pretty much the BOMB!
1 ) Grease baking dish. Fill with fruit
2) In bowl, mix almond meal, cinnamon, vanilla, egg, butter/oil, syrup/honey till blended.
3) Drop crumble mixture onto fruit. Spread around. It will be thick and “rustic” looking.
4) Bake at 350-375 till crust is browned and fruit is bubbly.