When I started this blog, it was mainly a way to document our own real food journey and to have a personal catalog of recipes and resources to go back on. We would have said we ate Primal or Paleo-ish, hence the name Simply “Primal” Family. Recently, I have been saying instead of “primal/paleo” or even labeling it at all, that we eat Real Old Fashioned Food, which I guess is a label in itself, but you get the point. I have found that having a specific label puts you in a category where people will judge (myself included) everything you eat saying, “well that’s not paleo is it?” or “are you supposed to eat that on the primal diet?”. We aren’t on a diet, we’re just living and eating. I’m not an expert and definitely don’t have all the answers, but from the research I’ve done and the results our family has seen, eating a real unprocessed food diet high in good fats, proteins and tons of veggies is the most effective, tasty and simple way of eating.
As my daughter is starting to get more of an opinion and personality of her own, I want to teach her good habits in the way of food. I don’t want her to be overly obsessed with it, scrutinizing every bite she puts in her mouth. And I don’t want her to just eat whatever someone gives her because it comes with a toy or is neon and sugar coated. I want her to know that broccoli can taste good (which is tied with onions as her favorite vegetable right now – she asks for them by name, “brokki” and “onye”). She loves beef or “beast” as she calls it and drinks enough water that some days I think she may float away! I also want her to have fun food experiences and get to actually see where the food we eat comes from. We make weekly trips to the local farm and love excursions like the one above where we went and picked strawberries. I think she ate more than we took home, but she loved digging beneath the leaves to find the perfect red strawberry.
She is currently really into “dipping” her food, which makes me very aware of the sauces I’m using to dip my own food (aka processed dips like ketchup, barbeque sauce, etc. – good accountability!). So what does a typical real food day look like for our 19 month old daughter? Here goes …
Breakfast – She usually wakes up asking for her “dink” or water. Most days I will make up a “green juice” for her, which consists of a handful of greens with a splash of 100% juice and water, which she drinks while I’m making breakfast. I make about 6 scrambled eggs for myself, my husband and Emma with different variations of sauteed onions, greens, peppers, etc. Some days she will eat about one egg, some days less and some days she only wants egg and will eat a lot! I’ll usually have some sort of pastured, organic bacon or sausage (from Mountain Valley Farm) and she will ask for “bacon, bacon, bacon”. She also usually gets a few spoonfuls of organic whole milk yogurt (3:1 plain and vanilla) which she is loving because she’s started learning to eat it with a spoon by herself. This gets a little messy, but she loves to “dip” her eggs or bacon in there as well, haha.
Mid-morning Snack – This snack is kind of unnecessary for her since she wakes up around 7-7:30am and eats lunch around 11:15am, so most days she doesn’t have one and doesn’t seem to miss it. If she starts asking for a snack or telling me she’s “hungy” then I will give her something light like some berries or half a banana or just move lunch up 15 minutes or so. She walks around with her water everywhere she goes and is drinking water all throughout the day.
Lunch – A hot lunch would consist of leftovers from the night before (a meat and some kind of vegetables) with maybe some fruit and a cold lunch may consist of avocado, grass-fed cheese, organic deli turkey with some berries.
A typical lunch for my husband and I is a huge salad with loads of veggies. Emma is not quite old enough to dig into a salad with knife and fork, so I try to make sure she gets a good helping of greens in everyday, whether that’s from “green juice” (handful of greens, splash of 100% juice and water), green smoothies or lots of broccoli and green veggies with a meal.
Afternoon Snack – Depending on what she has already had earlier in the day a typical snack can be any number of things from sliced apples and almond butter (again she loves this so she can “dip” her food) to almond meal chocolate chip cookie to frozen peas (she loves them!). I’ve written here about some good real food snack ideas for kids.
Dinner – I don’t cook separate meals for adults and kids. Emma eats whatever we are eating. Our dinners are simple; they consist of a meat and a couple vegetables. I make sure at least one of the vegetables is one I know she likes. For instance, she’s not a fan of brussel sprouts yet, so I will mix in some broccoli with it since she loves broccoli. Stir frys are great, like this one, since there are several vegetables to choose from, so I will fix her a plate and let her choose what she wants to eat.
Night time Milk – This is the only time of day she drinks anything other than water or “green juice”. She will drink about 8 ounces of whole, organic, grass-fed raw milk at night before she goes to bed.
I am fortunate in that our real food journey started about a year before Emma was born and she doesn’t know what processed food is and has been raised on real food without the wheat from the start. However, I do realize that if your children are older and you have recently switched to a real food diet, they may be used to eating the processed foods and not quite as willing to try the “adult” food. Mark Sisson from Marks Daily Apple has a great article about “How to Go Primal: For Parents” that helps prioritize your real food journey with your whole family.
And remember, no one is perfect. A bite of processed food here or there isn’t going to cause a lifetime disease in one meal. It’s about educating yourselves and your children. I like to keep it simple: Eat Real Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants. (thanks Michael Pollan ;))
What foods do your kids like?