Our son will be 3 next month. He is a pretty good eater in general. He started off loving tons of veggies, but we became lazy and started introducing convenience foods because...well, it was convenient. So guess what? Now our son who used to love to eat salad, asparagus, raw bell peppers, etc. has developed a taste for bread, crackers, anything salty. This was something that slowly happened over time. And when we finally realized what had happened, we knew we needed to change it, but how?
My husband and I have always tried to eat somewhat healthy. I fell way off the healthy eating train while early pregnant last year and am now just recovering. I think that was the time that our son began developing a taste for lots of processed junk. My husband also enjoyed my cravings for Blizzards and other such treats! And while I don't think anything in moderation is horrible, we were eating WAY too much.
My husband is the one who introduced us to the Paleo Diet by way of Crossfit. The two seem to go hand in hand! I bought the book last year sometime and read about it and thought it made sense, but just wasn't ready to dive in. He's been pretty good about his diet and rarely would eat the pasta or breads in our meals. He would usually have a big salad every night in addition to what we had. Something started feeling wrong though when he wouldn't eat pasta, yet we would feed it to our two year old. Same with all of the "treats" we were giving him. Once I realized it, I talked to my husband and we agreed we needed to not feed our son what we didn't want to eat (although at this time, I was still scarfing down the bad-for-us foods too).
Timing was perfect because within a week I read about the release of a new book "Everyday Paleo" and thought it was perfect for us to try. I was talking to my sister in law about it and she ordered it as soon as it was available. She called as soon as she received it and raved about it. So I ordered one. I'm glad I did. It's a great guide to starting the paleo diet as a family. There are great recipes, a fabulous meal plan and even a starter workout plan.
I liked the philosophy in her book regarding crap foods. Just don't keep them in the house. Period. So we got rid of everything as you see in the photo a couple of posts back. Guess what? Everything's OK. Our son is perfectly fine without bread in the house. And this is the boy that was eating honey toast two or three times a day just the week before the change. He's still "picky" about what snacks he wants, but because we only have good snacks around, that's all he has to choose from. So I really don't care that he wants the same snack every day! He even tried salad yesterday from my husband's plate. He had stopped eating lettuce last year and while we encourage him to always try it again, he never wants to. So to our surprise, he said he wanted daddy's salad and took a big piece of lettuce out and ate it. Yay! It was only the one piece but he didn't spit it out! Hopefully if we can continue, he'll start eating it again. He ate the lasagna I made last night. No noodles. Well, it kind of had noodles....in the form of zucchini strips! He ate it all.
Yes, if your diet consisted of a lot of bread, processed foods, etc., your child will probably protest - especially if they are older than mine...we are pretty lucky that he's still so young. But the answer is clear - don't have the junk in the house and they won't eat it. Yes, they will complain, pout, maybe even cry. But stick to it and within two weeks, they'll realize you are serious.
Now, like I mentioned before, we aren't going at this hard core. We will allow some flexibility, but it'll be outside of our house and our normal routine. For example, we may go to a baseball game tomorrow. Our son will probably have a hot dog....with the bun. It'll be OK. He may even have a juice box. But because it's not part of his daily or even weekly routine, it'll be just fine!
Our hope is that we can build a foundation that he can come back to. I know that there may come a time where all he wants to eat is chicken fingers, but so long as we can control what he's offered 90% of the time, we'll do it. Once he gets into high school and wants to make poor eating choices away from us, that will be his decision. Hopefully by the time he has a family one day he'll come back to the basics of good, natural, whole foods and pass it on to his children.