There are many tips online to help you transition to a Paleo lifestyle.
But what if ‘you’ isn’t just you?
For families, transitioning to a Paleo lifestyle can be a little daunting. This is especially true for families with younger children who are already opposed to trying anything new. Some families like to take an ‘all-in’ approach, switching over to Paleo and never looking back.
A second approach takes a bit longer, but is better for families that might not be so convinced about changing up their diet. Here are some tips to help you succeed in a slow transitional approach.
11 Tips for Transitioning Your Family to Paleo
1. Use and Replace
As items are used up, replace them with Paleo versions. Buy almond butter instead of peanut butter. Buy coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil instead of vegetables oils. Use up any processed meats and replace them with higher-quality, grass-fed meat.
2. Paleo-fy Your Favourite Foods
If your kids love French fries, switch to homemade sweet potato chips. Replace snack bars with homemade fruit and nut bars. Experiment with baking treats made with nut flours instead of wheat. The good thing with the Paleo diet is that there are so many ways to turn old favourites into new, Paleo-friendly favourites.
3. Take it One Meal at a Time
Pick one meal to start with, and keep the rest the same. Once your family is okay with that one meal you can move on to a second meal, and then eventually the third. Before you know it you’ll be eating a full week of Paleo meals!
4. Choose One Food Item
Alternatively, you can pick one thing instead of one meal. If your family eats a lot of bread, drop that. If they love their rice, take that out. If you go with this method, keep everything else the same. Once that first change has been accepted, change one more thing, then one more, and so on.
5. Get Your Kids Involved
One of the tried and tested tricks for getting kids to try new things? Letting them get involved! Take them shopping with you and let them pick out a new fruit or vegetables to try each week. Let them help with the food prep in the kitchen; kids can easily manage washing produce, measuring, and pouring. Even young children can manage chopping up soft foods with a dull knife or butter knife. Let older children look over Paleo cookbooks and choose recipes they’d like to try.
6. Read About It
For younger children, reading books can help ease the transition. There are a couple childrens’ books aimed specifically to help young children transition to a Paleo diet. Paleo Pals: Jimmy and the Carrot Rocket Ship, is a story by Sarah Fragoso about Jimmy, a young boy who isn’t too keen on his new diet. Through the help of three superheroes, Jimmy learns how a Paleo diet can help him stay strong and healthy. Eat Like a Dinosaur is a cookbook/story book by The Paleo Parents that explains the Paleo diet to kids, and has some yummy kid-friendly recipes.
7. Make a List of Favourite Foods
As you transition to more and more Paleo meals, keep a list of favourite foods and recipes. Rotating these recipes while incorporating new ones every now and then will make it easier to follow a Paleo diet full-time, and you will be less likely to fall back onto a non-Paleo recipe in a pinch.
8. Serve Fruit for Dessert
If your kids are partial to something sweet, try transitioning to fruit instead of sweets. Serve fruit for dessert; the sweet factor is still there, and is often enough for an after-meal treat. You may find that as time goes on you can start cutting back on the fruit and maybe even eliminating dessert altogether.
9. Keep Paleo Snacks on Hand
Snack time is always hard, even when you’re an adult. Those mid-afternoon munchies can really get us, and if we don’t have compliant snacks on hand, we often reach for just about anything. Prep fruit and veggies, guacamole, and boiled eggs each week. Keep nuts, trail mix, nut butter, and sweet potato chips in your pantry. If your family is primal, have Greek yoghurt in your fridge for a protein boost.
10. Make School Lunches Simple
There’s more to school lunch than peanut butter and jam sandwiches! Purchase bento boxes and pack leftover meat, fruit, veggies, and more. Use an insulated bottle to pack warm food like soup, chilli, and stews. For a quick, simple, and fun drink use a BPA-free fruit infusion bottle and add in your children’s favourite fruits – this will help to increase their water intake but make things that little bit more exciting.
11. Do Your Best and Forget the Rest
Lastly, kids still need to be kids. While you can control their meals and snacks at home, you can’t be there at all times. They will be exposed to sweets and treats while at school. Instead of trying to prohibit all things non-Paleo, stress the importance of healthy eating habits and teach your kids how to make their own decisions. Sometimes they may make the healthy decision, other times, maybe not. Don’t sweat it. A piece of cake here and there won’t kill their diet.
Transitioning to a Paleo diet isn’t always easy, and if you’re transitioning your whole family, it can be even harder. Going all-in can be difficult for some kids to take. Using a slower approach can ease your kids into the lifestyle and slowly get them used to it.
Have you tried transitioning your whole family to Paleo? What advice would you give to new Paleo parents? Let us know your thoughts using the comments box below!