Early on, my husband and I knew we were going to be out of the ordinary with what we feed our kids. Most kids start eating canned baby food and Cheerios very early in life. Animal crackers, cookies, Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, and apple juice are all standard food items today for most children in our country. I think we briefly tried canned baby food with our first born for a few weeks but it didn’t seem to work out for one reason or another (digestive issues, baby didn’t want it, etc.). Soon after that we decided to just give our babies the same food that we ate along with breastfeeding them. My oldest son was breastfed until he was two and my second continued breastfeeding until a few weeks before his third birthday. My boys are 19 months apart so you can do the math and figure out how that worked with both of them. Anyway, we did the baby-led weaning, which is more of a baby-led feeding because I wasn’t trying to eliminate breast milk from their diet right away. That stuff is really great for babies and toddlers health and wellness, but that is another topic for another day. So, they were eating chicken, hot dogs, steak, sweet potatoes, avocado, bananas, scrambled eggs, low carb fruits and vegetables all before the age of one. Many of our friends were truly amazed that our children could sit on the counter while our friends fed them bits of real food at such an early age! Their taste buds got used to the textures and smells of good food from the start.
We are a Keto/Paleo family (daddy is keto and the rest of us are keto and a little paleo) and we simply eat whole foods. Grains, refined sugars, and high carb veggies like corn and carrots are not on the regular menu. So, what is it like to raise children to eat in this manner in a society that feeds kids sugar and carbs all the time? Is a Keto/Paleo life really a great idea for kids? What is it like to go to a birthday party and not eat the cake and ice cream? Is this a sustainable way of life? Are my kids missing out on the “good stuff” or are they deprived or left out? I want to take a look at what our life looks like now that my boys are older (3 and 5) and more involved in their food choices. I also want to encourage those who are making food choices for their kids that go against the way of society and let you know, you can do it!
So, you may ask “what about when you go out to functions like church and other activities where all the other kids are eating something that is just not what your kids eat?” We are in the habit of bringing our own snacks like cheese, lunch meat, fruit or something that is not messy. I used to just put the snacks in the diaper bag, but since the boys are out of diapers, they each have their little back pack to carry what they need. Water is a big thing for us as well. We used to live in the desert, and we would carry water Everywhere with us because water is Life in the desert. Our boys still carry water with them most places, and our oldest is a big water drinker. If we go to a party where there is cake and ice cream, they either are busy playing and don’t notice, or as they have gotten older, they know that what the others are eating has too much sugar. They don’t put up a fit because they are not addicted to sugar and they have been taught that sugar is not good for them. They may want what the others have, but their training in what is good for them is bigger than the desire to take part. For example: at church recently they had cupcakes for the kids and my oldest son saw what they were serving and gently told his little brother “no don’t eat that there is too much sugar!” That evening they did not have any snack or dessert and they were both perfectly content.
Now, we do make treats at home, and if you are planning a party or attending a party, an option would be to bring something to share, or simply make it at home later in the day. We have had a few parties at our house and we make everything keto/low carb and our guests Always rave about the food, even the desserts. There is a particular chocolate dessert that I made for our son’s birthday party this year that the ladies loved and wanted the recipe. It is a great low carb treat that is very delicious. When we as a family go to a potluck, we usually bring our famous Loaded Cauliflower and everyone loves it! Many people do not even realize that it was a cauliflower dish until we tell them.
Do my kids feel like they are missing out? Far from it. They relish in the different kinds of meat their daddy cooks for us like wings, ribs, stuffed meatloaf, sausage, pulled pork, brisket, and hamburgers! They often will ask for more meat and vegetables after eating their first serving of dinner! Breakfast is easy- scrambled eggs and no sugar added applesauce or full-fat Greek yogurt. My 5 year old gets involved now by scrambling the eggs, cheese and heavy cream and preps it all for me to cook. Lunch is usually some kind of smoothie that I make up with what we have in the house (such as Greek yogurt, heavy cream, sour cream, blueberries, coco powder, almond milk) plus sliced ham and cheese or leftovers from last night’s dinner. The foods we eat help them stay full of energy and healthy, so they are far from missing out on anything.
So, yes feeding your kids a keto/paleo diet is a great idea because it gives them the nutrients that they need to grow and flourish. It is also very sustainable even with the occasional birthday party or event that comes up. When this is your way of life and not just a diet then sticking to it as a family is not at all difficult.