Doing a round of Whole 30 as an adult is HARD, and it can get even more tricky when kids are involved. Here are some tips to make a Whole 30 with kids easier!
My first two rounds of Whole 30 were done on my own and then with my husband, parents, and some other friends. My kids basically ate what we did, but I made them oatmeal and some sourdough waffles a few times.
When I decided to go for round 3, I wanted everyone on board. We did it as a family and I learned a lot along the way that I want to share. It can seem extra daunting to involve children in such a strict eating regimen, especially when they aren’t used to it.
Here are my top 5 tips for getting through a Whole 30 with kids:
1.Don’t take away all of their snacks at once!
Most children in America are used to being handed squeeze pouches, raisins, fruit snacks, candy, crackers, cheese strings, juice boxes, etc. whenever they get whiny. It’s what we use as parents to keep them quiet. My advice for snacks during a Whole 30 with kids is to give them ONE a day for the first couple of weeks, then wean them to only the three meals.
I choose mid-afternoon and we call it our “3 o’clock snack.” My kids looked forward to it every day and still do (now it is their after school snack). It was an apple cut up, some dried fruit and nuts, carrot sticks, etc. Compliant, simple, and it kept them going.
Keeping our meals simple and kid-friendly made all of the difference for us. I am a big proponent of this and follow the method whether on Whole 30 or not. I choose protein, and a couple of veggies. My kids love raw veggie trays so I used that to my advantage. Sometimes we had compliant lunch meat, pickles, and veggies. With our lunch meal (our big meal of the day), I would add a fruit such as watermelon, apples, berries, etc. Here are some of our favorite recipes.
3.Add at least one thing to the table you know everyone will eat.
This is a general rule I follow when feeding my family and have been doing it for years, but it really helped during Whole 30 with my kids. I know they aren’t ALL going to eat EVERYTHING I prepare. But I refuse to be a short-order chef making different meals for everyone. I ensure there is at least one item on the table that they will each eat.
For example, my 8 and 3 year olds love cabbage and brussel sprouts, but my 6 year old won’t touch them. If making either of these things, I would make sure I had something that she WOULD eat, such as potatoes/sweet potatoes. Even if they only eat one thing and try everything else, they will eventually get the picture that they better fill up on that or they go hungry.
4.Stay away from functions as much as possible.
Though it might be hard for adults to abstain from foods at a party, it’s extra tough on children to see junk food and not partake. I canceled some things, told a few white lies, and tried to keep to home as much as possible during the round with my kids. My husband and I explained to them how hard it would be to see the cookies and not be able to eat any. They were on board and such good sports about it!
5.DO educate them!
Talk to your children beforehand about the reasons WHY you want to do Whole 30 as a family. Discuss how hard some things might be, answer their questions, and ask them for suggestions. Take them shopping with you and use it as an opportunity to educate them about real food.
When my kids ask for certain items in the store I take them from the shelf and read the ingredients with them. I ask if they think it sounds like real food, and they are pretty smart! My children have learned a lot about food in the last few years by simply shopping with me. We try new vegetables together, and new methods of preparation.
It may seem daunting to get your entire family on board with Whole 30. I will admit, the detox phase for the first week or so isn’t a walk in the park with children! Everyone is cranky, and adjustments are being made on all sides. Give yourself grace, remind your family of the reasons WHY, and push through it.
I promise it’s worth it. I will speak to the changes I saw in my children in another post. Trust me, you want to stick around for that!