Should Your Child Be Eating a Paleo Diet?

Should Your Child Be Eating a Paleo Diet?As part of this series on healthy, delicious eating for kids and grown-ups (read more here, here, and here), I want to touch on the Paleo Diet.  I get asked about this one a lot, so it is worth going over the pros and cons.

If you have read anything about nutrition or diet in the past few years, there is no doubt that you have heard about the Paleo Diet.  If not, the short version is that the Paleo Diet is a nutritional protocol that includes meats, vegetables, fruits, oils, seeds, and nuts.  This diet excludes dairy, grains, and processed foods.  It seems extreme, and it can be, but there are a lot of reasons why it may be beneficial to limit one’s diet so rigidly.  And, yes, even children can benefit greatly from eating Paleo.   Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering if your little one should “go Paleo.”

Does your child have food sensitivities?

Does your child have chronic seasonal or environmental allergies?

Does your child have IBS or GERD?

Does your child suffer from an autoimmune disease?

Is your child have problems with hyperactivity, sensory, or over/under-stimulation?

Is your child obese?

Is your child failing to thrive?

The Paleo diet has proven to help many people, both kids and adults, to overcome the problems mentioned above.  Why?  Well, it has less to do with the fact that our Paleolithic ancestors ate in a similar fashion and more to do with food quality.  All of the foods included in the Paleo diet are high quality, nutrient dense, healthy foods that create stable blood sugar while providing large amounts of antioxidants and decreasing inflammation, all while nourishing the body.

What does this mean if your child experiences from allergies, sensitivities, or skin conditions?  By increasing antioxidant uptake, decreasing exposure to inflammatory foods, and keeping blood sugar level throughout the day, the potential catalysts for many of those conditions are eliminated.

What if your child does not experience any of these problems?  A Paleo diet can be healthy, but may be overly restrictive, unnecessary, and downright frustrating.  Many people ask me if I feed my children Paleo.  The answer is no. My kids have no issues with whole wheat bread, oats, or milk, which I consider to be part of a healthy diet for them.  I do aim to feed my children as manymuesli-750365_1920 whole foods from nutrient dense lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and nuts as I can and the rest I fill in with “other” snacks.  My kids are extremely active and, more importantly, picky eaters, so sometimes my greatest challenge is to simply get enough calories in their little bellies each day.  It isn’t my proudest parenting moment, but giving them Goldfish crackers or pancakes alongside healthier foods is not going to make or break them.  I simply do the best I can.  Parenting is hard enough, why try to complicate it further with unnecessary rigidity?

So, my advice is to take the greater concept of Paleo (whole foods, lots of veggies and fruits, with protein sources) and make it your own.  Try to get some of that in each day and do the best you can.

What do you think?  Do you strictly regulate your children’s diet?  Why or why not?

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About the Author: Mandy Skinner is the author of the Soccer Mom with Muscles blog as well as the book PB&J and Push-Ups: The Busy Mom’s Guide to Diet and Exercise.  She is also the Fitness Editor for Healthy Moms Magazine, as well as a contributor to Big City Moms.  Mandy is the proud mom of two, Sean and Sarah, as well as a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach devoted to living healthy and happy.  In addition to her athletic endeavors, Mandy is a constant advocate of healthy and active living.  

Follow Mandy on Instagram @mandyjskins or Twitter @mandyskinns



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