Cooking for non paleo family

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LuckyStar813
LuckyStar813 Posts: 163 Member
I have been interested paleo/primal diet since I found MDA site a couple of years ago. I am giving it try now to improve my health and lose some weight. I live with my husband (who is gluten free and low dairy) and my 11 year son who is mostly vegetarian and a very picky eater. Like I am already cooking partial separate meals for us and for him. Now I am concerned I am going to cook 3 separate meals *head/wall* which would break our tiny food budget and my mind at the same time.

Breakfast, lunches and snacks have been going well because only cook for myself. But dinners are making nervous. The main grains we eat are rice, polenta, GF pasta and also potatoes. Do I just continue to cook these things for DH and DS, then find something else like an additional veg to eat for myself? And should I avoid any casseroles or soups where the grains are incorporated in?

Thanks for any suggestions!

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Replies

  • punchgut
    punchgut Posts: 210 Member
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    You can always eat what you want. That said, if you want to give this a real try and see how you really feel, then tell your family that you're going to do this. They can either get on board for the one month test or they can make their own food. Eleven years old is old enough to learn how to make one meal a day if need be, and they'll be better off in life knowing how to prepare food. Otherwise, they can get on board for a 30 day test period. That's my two cents, but I live in a crazy world where we support each other on endeavors that will improve health and well being.

    Now, I'm always concerned about young kids being vegetarians. At that age there is a serious need for a good supply of good fats for proper brain development. Is this the child's choice? Have they sat down and explained to you exactly how they plan to get their supply of the fats they need for proper brain development? What about important fat soluble vitamins like K2? If they can make a plan let them keep on the diet, otherwise it's time for change.

    Now most kids do not like most vegetables and Mark over at MDA has done posts on this including what the current science says about why. Children not liking any animal meat is very rare.

    Onto the paleo/primal.... Yes, no grains. Especially not corn (polenta). Potatoes are not a grain and there is a real divide in the community regarding their edibility while paleo. I'm on the side of without skin and cooked, and they'll be great source of carbohydrate for a growing eleven year old. Avoid all the gluten free substitutes that are just grains safe for a celiac but still have a lot of health issues due to the proteins in them.

    Keep the meals simple. Cook one meat/fish, one vegetable and one root (potato, sweet potato, squash, etc.). Weeknights make it simple. One the weekend you can cook a roast or make a stew that you can spread out for lunches. And nothing is easier than bacon and eggs in the morning. Bacon in a 450F oven for 8-15 minutes (depends on thickness and desired doneness) and cook the eggs the way you guys like. You can even make up a bunch of roasted potatoes on the weekend to warm up while cooking the bacon.

    Stews are easy... And they are damn tasty. Learn how to make a stock (bone broth) Use that along with a cheap roast (chuck, rump, etc) some vegetables, fruit and spices. The combinations are endless really.

    Pick up a pate and dehydrated fruit to use in place for bread. Apple crisps, pear crisps, etc. It's a quick and very nutritious meal. Get a duck liver mousse with cognac. Delicious.

    If you're craving pasta I've found that celery root (celeriac) works amazing with pestos and marinaras. You can even use it to make a lasagna.

    Also, kids will not starve. They'll eat eventually, just don't force the issue. If he doesn't want to eat what is there it's okay. Also, you cannot control what he eats outside of the home and don't make a big deal if he's getting mcdonalds, dominos, etc.

    Allow a cheat day for the family. You can abstain, but allow them to have something on a Saturday night.

    If you make the food really tasty, they'll jump right on board. Get a copy of NomNomPaleo and work from that. Use MDA for some very easy quick recipes. Change things up.

  • emilymean
    emilymean Posts: 159 Member
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    Speaking for myself, I make "two" meals for dinner. Example tonight: mac and cheese, broccoli, sausage. Obviously I eat the latter of the two. It's actually pretty easy. Now, if it's pizza night for the kids, I will cook salmon and another vegtable for me and my husband and if he's still hungry he knows he's on his own. Like punchgut said, you let them know what you are doing, and do the best you can. Have some frozen options to fall back on and start looking at paleo recipes. Have fun with it.
  • LuckyStar813
    LuckyStar813 Posts: 163 Member
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    My son is amazing and easy going and probably the easiest kid to raise :-) But his food pickiness is his hill to die on, so to speak. I was vegetarian when pregnant with him but soon made the switch to eating meat again. I have never really talked about being veg with him though. I do think our lack of meat in the house when he was young is part of it, his general food pickiness is part and he has told me a few times he wants to be vegetarian because he loves animals to much. He has begged me not to eat them.

    That said, he isn't actually a vegetarian. I have been using homemade chicken stock for his rice for years. He also eats the potatoes and carrots cooked with the sunday chicken. A couple of years ago he tried chicken nuggets so he eats those now but I have not been able to get him to try the sunday chicken. He eats tofu and dairy products. His favortie veggies are carrots,potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli. But he doesn't eat things like pizza, burritoes, beans, eggs, fish, beef, soups, casseroles... It's been a slow 11 year process and he tries new foods all the time. But he needs full control I can not trick him or hide the food. Believe me, I've tried it all LOL

    So for now I can't make my family try paleo with me. This is one of the reasons I have struggled to try it out..... for 2 years. And now I think why put it off any longer? Just to wait for them to change?

    We regularly eat very paleo meals because I have researched it so much and visited many sites like MDA, Nom Nom Paleo, PaleoHacks... but oftentimes our dinners include rice, GF pasta and polenta as I mentioned. Because we all like that food. But I am ok with saying no now.

    It sounds like the most common way is to stop cooking the grains for other family members and let them cook it if they want to.
  • LeenaGee
    LeenaGee Posts: 749 Member
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    Half the battle is done. Your husband is gluten free and non dairy and as for the 11 year, keep his options open because once he is a teenager he will eat you out of house and home. Get yourself a good Paleo cookbook. In Australian, Pete Evan's Family Food is the no1 best selling book at the moment and that include fact or fiction section. So if you can get your hands on something like that you will be fine. Such great recipes that no one, including yourself, will feel deprived.
  • LuckyStar813
    LuckyStar813 Posts: 163 Member
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    Leena and Emily thank you so much for replies! I talked to my husband and he is open to eating whatever I fix for dinner. Being GF and mostly DF does help. But we both know we can't radically change our son's diet. I think a good compromise is continuing to cook 2 meals. Sometimes I just cook rice or pasts in bulk to last a few days. And he reheats it as needed.

    I will check out that Family Food book. Thanks!
  • cindytw
    cindytw Posts: 1,027 Member
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    My husband still eats grains and junk, BUT what I make for dinner is what I make for dinner. Eat it or don't. He is not very picky, only has a few items he won't ever eat (seafood, kelp, and eggplant). I make things that I think we both will enjoy, but I am also not going to make him things I don't eat. If he chooses to make himself something else, like pasta, fine. But I am not going to. I think if you made some basic meals that they could then add their carbs to if they so chose...then that is enough effort on your part. As for your son...he is old enough to learn how to cook if he doesn't like what's for dinner. Not just you, but I am seeing a lot of people going to all extremes with making different meals, but that is not how anyone I know was raised. You eat what Mom makes, or you fend for yourself. Point blank. Moms did not have time or patience for that when we were kids, and should not stress over it now and add to already stressful lives!
  • kikih64
    kikih64 Posts: 349 Member
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    My husband isn't interested in eating like me. I just make modifications. I'll have the meat and veg and skip the white stuff(rice, potatoes,etc). I'll put marinara sauce over cauliflower or zoodles. Pulled pork goes over a sweet potato instead of a bun. Doesn't take much extra work or money. You got this!
  • SteamClutch
    SteamClutch Posts: 433 Member
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    My wife and kids all eat whatever but my wife always makes me compliant stuff and if she can't, like Mac and Cheese, I usually have a steak in the freezer she will thaw out. I also make dinner once and a while and they all eat my food but usually toss in some bread or chips to go with theirs.
  • LuckyStar813
    LuckyStar813 Posts: 163 Member
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    Thanks everyone for sharing your personal stories and opinions! It's really helpful :-)
  • 0911shunamite
    0911shunamite Posts: 150 Member
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    I am a personal cook and take " picky eaters " as a great challenge! I went through a vegetarian phase in my early teen years also. I am interested in knowing more about what you son will eat and how willing he is to try new things. I can give you more helpful recipes with that information in hand and probably a few questions and trials later! =) add me and we can figure this out together! Good luck
  • homesweeths
    homesweeths Posts: 792 Member
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    I cook dinner for everyone that *I* can eat (meat, poultry, fish and veggies) and then add in starches (rice, pasta, potatoes) for the rest of the family. That way I'm cooking one meal, but I'm just not eating the starch course -- or if I'm needing more calories, I'll just pop a sweet potato in the oven for myself, as it's not that much extra effort. I also keep food in the house that my picky eater can fix for herself.
  • lujo321
    lujo321 Posts: 78 Member
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    Your son's list of vegetables isn't half bad. You could start off quietly by not mentioning what you are doing just not including rice or pasta. Add a second vegetable you know he likes. I include white potatoes. We don't eat them every day but 2-3 times a week for sure. If he asks where the rice is just say you are out of that so you made this instead. If you are doing all the shopping and cooking then you get to pick as far as I am concerned. I always try to include two vegetables in my meals. That way if the kids don't like one they can eat two scoops of the other. My kids used to tell me they didn't like just about every vegetable I put in front of them. I made a deal with them that they had to try everything at least once but if they really don't like it they don't have to eat it. Now my daughter loves beets and my son scarfs up sautéed kale. Some things they still don't eat but it did broaden their palates a little. You just have to stick to your side of the deal and if they really try it and really don't like it then they don't have to eat it. It is trial and error though. This worked for my kids although better for my daughter than my son. Mostly I think because he is older and more set in his ways. It is funny though because just this morning he was telling me something that I know he learned from me. They do listen to us even when we, and they, think they aren't.

    My daughter is pretty picky about eating meat. For her though it is a texture thing not a animal lover thing. I find she does better with things that are easier for her to chew like ground meats.
  • MiRatlhed
    MiRatlhed Posts: 168 Member
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    I was on Paleo once and failed because I always got the third degree about the food budget because nobody else wanted to eat like me. I failed badly because of this.

    This year my wife hopped on board, she still has a little milk with the paleo crunch I make and a yogurt for lunch. But she gave up all grains and processed meals so that was huge.

    Either the kids eat what I cook or they get their own. They are 11 and 13 now so no more dual meals in the house this year. My son is about 50/50 with us and my daughter has had her own diet for years, very picky. I am open to just about anything. I love food so making new stuff is fun.
  • KombuchaCat
    KombuchaCat Posts: 834 Member
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    I actually had more of an issue with this when I was vegan and my husband was omnivore than on primal. Most of the time hubs will basically eat primal with me, but I have to keep cereal around and he loves vanilla almond milk (I drink whole raw milk from the local farm...I created a monster with him and the almond milk when I was vegan LOL!) although I did get him to switch to unsweetened almond milk. If he wants rice on the side or something I cook that separate. If I'm making a one pot type thing or crockpot that would normally have rice or other grain mixed in I just add his later. You can cook rice and other grains ahead of time and freeze to add into stuff. I still buy him regular bread (but I at least get it sprouted, thank you WAPF). As far as desserts we did the low fructose thing for a while so he's pretty used to having no processed sweets around.
  • Runnerduck123
    Runnerduck123 Posts: 19 Member
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    What an amazing amount of ideas you have here!

    We have a very similar situation except not vegetarian, and for dinner we have some variation of meat/fish/chicken and salad/veg most nights of the week. Its amazing how varied meals can be using that template. I do eat potato which helps. Eggs for dinner pretty regularly too. Maybe you could feed your son some vege patties etc with the salad/veg

    If everyone else is having pasta I will generally microwave myself a small sweet potato instead. Only takes 4 mins and no prep.
  • Dragonwolf
    Dragonwolf Posts: 5,600 Member
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    My son is amazing and easy going and probably the easiest kid to raise :-) But his food pickiness is his hill to die on, so to speak. I was vegetarian when pregnant with him but soon made the switch to eating meat again. I have never really talked about being veg with him though. I do think our lack of meat in the house when he was young is part of it, his general food pickiness is part and he has told me a few times he wants to be vegetarian because he loves animals to much. He has begged me not to eat them.

    That said, he isn't actually a vegetarian. I have been using homemade chicken stock for his rice for years. He also eats the potatoes and carrots cooked with the sunday chicken. A couple of years ago he tried chicken nuggets so he eats those now but I have not been able to get him to try the sunday chicken. He eats tofu and dairy products. His favortie veggies are carrots,potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli. But he doesn't eat things like pizza, burritoes, beans, eggs, fish, beef, soups, casseroles... It's been a slow 11 year process and he tries new foods all the time. But he needs full control I can not trick him or hide the food. Believe me, I've tried it all LOL

    So for now I can't make my family try paleo with me. This is one of the reasons I have struggled to try it out..... for 2 years. And now I think why put it off any longer? Just to wait for them to change?

    We regularly eat very paleo meals because I have researched it so much and visited many sites like MDA, Nom Nom Paleo, PaleoHacks... but oftentimes our dinners include rice, GF pasta and polenta as I mentioned. Because we all like that food. But I am ok with saying no now.

    It sounds like the most common way is to stop cooking the grains for other family members and let them cook it if they want to.

    Perhaps a sort of "circle of life" discussion with him is in order? Explaining to him that you can eat meat and still like animals? That we're omnivores, and thrive best with at least some meat in our diet? That might help open him to eating more along the lines of the rest of the family.
  • miriamtob
    miriamtob Posts: 436 Member
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    There are plenty of tasty options that can be alternatives to grains at the dinner table, such as: zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, cauliflower "rice", no grain-ola, etc... My husband usually gets his bread meals when he eats out for lunch and is happy to have less of it at home. If my son doesn't want any of the dinner I make, there is always cheese, applesauce, yogurt, and fruits.
    I decided to become vegetarian when I was 10 and was until I was 20. I was anemic, so not sure it was all that great for my health. I eat way more vegetables now, than I ever did as a vegetarian!
  • abaldi0506
    abaldi0506 Posts: 78 Member
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    I am the only one in my family of 5 (husband and 3 sons (18, 18, 11). I cook only one dinner for all to eat. I still buy cereal for kids breakfast, I still buy bread for lunches. My family benefits from atleast a healthier dinner. If I make sauce, I have spaghetti squash and do make pasta for the rest. And on the nights when I don't feel like cooking - I eat leftovers and they get what they want (pizza, subs, etc.). I've been doing this since Sept. 2014 and seems to be working out for us. Even my italian husband has cut back on his bread, past consumption (but will never give up beer :smiley: ) Oh and my 11 year old is pretty picky, but does like whatever protein I'm cooking. We just make him eat some of the veggies or atleast try.
  • Twibbly
    Twibbly Posts: 1,065 Member
    edited February 2015
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    I generally make something with meat & veg and add starch for the kids. I eat low carb - they don't need to be that, especially since they're not with us all the time. If I cook quiche, I'll make a separate pan for mine because I can't tolerate regular eggs, so if there's some potatoes or rice in the fridge it gets added to theirs. If I make something casserole-y, I leave out the starches and let them just dump it over rice or a baked potato. Stir fry style is easy. So is grilling. Try to figure out meals where you can serve pieces to whoever wants them instead of 1 mixed dish for everyone.
  • Notreadytoquit
    Notreadytoquit Posts: 233 Member
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    The question in my family is who is responsible for your diet. Working mom with home based business my kids learned to feed themselves early with foods I supplied. When a "family counselor" told me to lighten up and give the kids hot dogs and Mac & cheese I gave them a full tour of the kitchen and cooking lessons instead.

    Honestly I can bare feed myself well. They're welcome to share anything I make as long as they leave a bit of leftovers. You are some energetic supermoms/partners. I hope you log all those cooking/food preparation calories.