10 Smart Ways to Keep Kids Paleo and Yourself From Going Insane


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girl carrotsMy nearly 15-year-old son came down the stairs coughing this morning.

Ugh. I hate it when that happens.

We took his temperature; he had none.

We assessed how he felt; mediocre but he reckoned could get through the day.

We took action for him to skip his 1.5 mile run in PE.

Then he did what I insist my kids do every morning: eat breakfast, drink green juice, take supplements.


This post will be short because I had rotator cuff surgery two weeks ago.

I’m just getting back in the swing of things.

During these two weeks, our usual systems and routines have mostly stayed in place, thanks to my wonderful husband, but a few things have gone awry.

Without my rigid determination to get up early every morning to wash, chop and dice, the green juice didn’t get made. 

And at the weekend, the kids had friends over and took it upon themselves to order in pizza. Twice.

(I can’t tell you how shocking it was to see not one, but two, massive pizzas on our table surrounded by garlic bread and root beer. Such is the wont of teenagers and a two -for-one deal.)

…And then the consequences appeared in the form of congestion.


These experiences reminded me of the importance of at least one parent taking massive, determined responsibility for the planning and preparing of healthy meals on an ongoing basis. I often get emails from readers at their wits end.

I’ve been at this for nearly a decade now and I’ve learned a few things along the way. Here’s ten ways to keep your kids paleo while, at the same time, stopping yourself from going insane.

  1. Control what you can and leave the rest. Understand your kids’ level of compliance will change over the years and your expectations and approach need to change with it.
  2. Keep your home paleo-clean. This is the domain you have most control over. 
  3. Ask for support from other parents when your kids are over at their house. Understand that there may be social implications for your child if you are too limiting or rigid (in other words, they won’t get invited over again).
  4. At school, become a room parent or tuck shop supervisor. Gather other like-minded parents together and use your position to influence the type of food presented in the classroom for snacks, parties, and rewards. Or just take charge of that Kindergarten Valentine’s party.
  5. Start a committee to improve the quality of food supplied school-, and maybe district-wide in cafeterias and vending machines.
  6. Don’t get caught short. Keep your pantry and fridge stocked. Have paleo treats on hand. Never run out of dried and fresh fruits, nuts and raw vegetables. Whip up a plate of cookies when the kids’ friends show up unexpectedly. Get the bacon on. I’ve never known a kid turn their nose up at warm cookies and glistening fresh bacon.
  7. Educate your kids. Sign up for Netflix and get them watching programs about food and health. My kids were willing to drink green juice after watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 1 and 2. Point out the connection between poor eating and poor health. Encourage them to notice the connection between the two in themselves and even their friends.
  8. Don’t be a drone. (Note to self: must remember this one.) Or fanatical. Or freak out. Kids will pick up on your anxiety and it will be counterproductive. Relax as much as you can while keeping firm boundaries around that which you control.
  9. Get creative. Look for non-food or healthier ways to celebrate birthdays, Halloween, Easter, and other celebrations. We don’t have to celebrate every holiday and we don’t have to celebrate with unhealthy food.
  10. Look after yourself first. If Mom (or Dad) gets sick, down, or somehow off their game, everything goes to hell. Don’t let that happen. Make yourself your number one priority. With persistence, everything will follow on from that.
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Written by 

Alison Golden writes on the topic of paleo over at Paleo/NonPaleo. She aims to share ideas, inspire and motivate readers by teaching them how to live paleo in a non-paleo world. She is also the author of the bestselling book, The Modern, No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo, a unique tool that gives the reader hundreds of strategies to navigate the learning process to successful paleo living.

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