Paleo Parents Daycare Woes
Shared Preschool Snacks. Three dreaded little words in the Paleo Parent’s mind.
Do I say my kid has a gluten and dairy allergy and avoid the whole thing? Do I use this as a chance for my kid to try different foods and see how they feel? I’ve worked so hard preparing real food for my kids, will eating processed foods on a regular basis make them want only more of it? Is this a slippery slope?
Moving into this Paleo lifestyle as one person is one thing, moving the entire family into this lifestyle an entirely different one. Suddenly, you have to decide how to handle daycare snacks, celebrations at school functions, not to mention family gatherings. Are the kids going to eat strictly Paleo? Or, are the kids going to eat Paleo at home and then whatever they want outside of the home? Where is that line?
Of course some of this depends on the health of you and your family. If you are in the middle of some deep healing, you may need to stay fairly strict. Then to some extent, it’s an easy answer. If we eat x, we feel like y. But, what happens when you’ve healed and can technically relax a bit? How do you navigate these questions?
The Familiar Questions Paleo Parents Try To Avoid
“Can’t she have a little bread?”
“They’re just kids. They’ll burn it off.”
“They’re kids, let them have a treat!”
“A little won’t hurt them.”
Then, they look at you like you have three heads because they honestly have no idea why you wouldn’t want your kids to eat goldfish. Or brownies, or bagels or pasta. OR “wait, your kids don’t eat CEREAL?”
The guilt hits you – “Am I DEPRIVING my kids?”
Then on the flip side, you have days, or even weeks, when things aren’t ‘perfectly paleo’ and your kids get to have items they traditionally wouldn’t. Things you know aren’t great for them, but you’re on vacation or life is hectic or whatever and now they are eating gluten-free crackers and more baked goods than you care to think about.
The guilt hits again. This time, because you are INDULGING your kids.
A Note to All Paleo Parents
Stop. You are doing a good job. You are putting in the time and effort to teach your kids to eat real food. They can name more than five vegetables, they know what good broth is, they have tasted real sour pickles and they know dessert doesn’t happen every day of the week. (And if not yet, that’s ok too!) You are striving to be a conscious parent and do the best for your kids each day.
We are all navigating the family buffet table and the shared preschool snacks. We are all wondering why every kid in the class has to bring in cupcakes for their birthday. That’s a lot of cupcakes, is it not?!? You may feel like the only one in the room sometimes, but look around there are more of us each day. We are in this together and our numbers are growing.
Are You Really Depriving Your Kids Paleo Parents?
When you wonder if you are ‘depriving’ them, pause for a moment. Remember that as a Paleo kid, they have tasted a huge diversity of foods in comparison to kids eating a Standard American Diet. Who is being deprived? And unless your kid lives under a rock, I’m pretty sure they’re still getting an occasional cookie or two. They just likely aren’t getting them daily. It’s easy in our culture to lose sight of what is normal anymore, but daily cookies, I assure you, is not.
The effort is paying off, too. Observe your child in a group setting for a moment. I think we get caught up in how they act with us from day to day that we don’t see the forest through the trees. When we can stand back and watch our kids interacting with other kids, we get some great perspective. We’re doing ok.
This isn’t going to look perfect every day, but we’re striving to raise, strong, healthy kids that eat real food. (When life does get hectic, invest in some pre-made paleo meals!) The details of how we make it work each day doesn’t matter so much as the fact that we are constantly working towards this goal of nourishing our kids with real, whole foods, and they do pick up on that.
My son is in preschool right now and has one shared snack day a week. I decided to just let him navigate this on his own this year. His first week with a shared snack was a birthday celebration and cupcakes were brought in. He clearly went for those. Ha! But the next week, pretzels and fruit were offered. And do you know what he said when I picked him up? “Mommy, we don’t buy pretzels, so I didn’t have those. I just ate the fruit today.”
It’s those small victories where we have to stand back and remember that this whole parenting thing is a journey. Take those small wins and cherish them.