Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Thoughts on Fun Paleo Treats

Some people think the words fun + paleo + treats do not go together.  Well, if you are a family with kids like ours, they do.  Especially when on vacation.

First, let me say that last week we spent several days with extended family, who are generally supportive of (even if non-participatory in) our food choices.  I appreciate them not making it difficult or purposely undermining our intentions.  I am so thankful for that.

However, you must also know that our kids spent several days alongside their cousins, who have no clue what eating paleo means and taught my kids to "not like" tomatoes - haha.  (I am happy to report my children are now eating tomatoes again upon our return home.)  Seriously, though, you must know that we love our cousins dearly, and I am so happy when our children get to spend time with them.  Outstanding kids, SO kind and patient with mine who are younger than them.

Anyways.  As all 13 of us cooked and ate together at the lake house, these standard foods were being offered: coffee cake, pancakes, waffles, brownies, etc.  I had just recently begun to educate my just-turned-5-year-old on making paleo food choices, and I didn't want to confuse her by saying, "Scrap-it for a week/it doesn't matter that much/just do what everyone else is doing."

So, I made alternatives for my little family of 4.  Fun paleo treats.  My goal was to minimize the processed sugar, and keep grains out of the picture.  Was it worth it?  It was to me!  Because I got to eat them, too :)  And they really were tasty!

  • Instead of homemade cinnamon streusel coffee cake, my children received dark chocolate chip breakfast bread.
  • Instead of boxed mix Belgian waffles, margarine, and Aunt Jemima, my kids got paleo waffles, real butter, and maple syrup.
  • Instead of regular lasagna, I made zucchini lasagna, with no noodles and less cheese.
  • Instead of Pillsbury brownies, my kids got flourless zucchini brownies.  Well, that was the plan, but an honest mistake was made in my absence.
  • I made some snacks like coconut milk pudding pops (1 can + a little H2O + 1 box) and also homemade cashew cookie Larabars (recipe coming soon).
  • We had corn tortilla chips/salsa/guacamole, too (hopefully at least gluten-free?)
  • But, on s'mores night I gave in 100% (cringe).
A couple times during the week my daughter would tell me she wanted the "other" kind of item.  I would just whisper in her ear that I was making a paleo kind for her.  Since she had just read the Paleo Pals book the week before, she seemed to think that was pretty cool and was OK with that alternative.  Phew! :)  And my 2 year old didn't even notice.

Would I do it all again?  You bet.  And probably feel even less guilty for being strict with my kids.  Because I would know they were not "missing out" on anything!

Eventually, like everyone, my children will have to make all their food choices themselves.  And like all of us, I'm sure they will learn many lessons the hard way.  I just hope I will have provided happy and healthy food memories which encourage them to take good care of themselves and give them the knowledge to do so.

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