Paleo for Kids


You can’t hide from the distressing headlines about childhood obesity these days:

20% of children starting school are already overweight
By the time they leave junior school, that’s increased to ONE-THIRD!

Something has to be done, the burden on the NHS and the average age expectancy for this generation is at crisi point – our kids could die before the parents do. Following a Paleo lifestyle as a family is one way.

Following a Paleo diet is a way of eating that puts emphasis on real food and natural flavours, textures and colours. Following this eating plan ensures a healthful, balanced diet that significantly reduces the risk of degenerative diseases like cancer, Parkinson's and diabetes. The paleo diet is based on the diet that ancient humans followed before agriculture was invented. 

Looking back through history, human health has been deteriorating at alarming rates. This decline can be attributed to our current lifestyles and especially our eating habits. Our ancestors lived happy and healthy lives by feeding on meats, nuts and fruits and vegetables.

Children should not be left out in this diet. Without doubt, the earlier a person avoids processed foods, refined sugars, cereal grains and dairy products, the better. Kids should therefore be introduced to the Paleo diet as early as possible in order to live a healthy and vibrant life. Even if they don’t embrace it 100% (let’s face it, they’ll go to too many birthday parties with every sweet and cake option going!), they can still massively benefit from the values that a Paleo lifestyle affords.

Health Benefits of Paleo for kids


Overall body health and vibrancy

The difference between kids who follow the Paleo diet and those who don't is clearly noticeable. These children are calmer and appear more focused. When the transition to the Paleo diet is made, the children's moods tend to stabilize, acne disappears and they are more toned. 

A Paleo lifestyle ensures that the child's nutritional needs are met. They just need to eat like the adults. The only things that parents should be careful about are carbohydrates and fats. You should make sure your child gets enough carbs as kids need more energy. They also need fats to develop well. Paleo offers a wide variety of food choices which provide these fats in a much healthier manner than the slew of processed foods aimed at children.

Weight loss

The Paleo diet greatly helps children to lose weight where obesity is  a problem. Calories are mainly responsible for weight gain. When children are used to refined carbohydrates such as those found in cakes, crackers, rice and bread, they keep on adding calories to their bodies without necessarily getting filled up. This leads to a spike in blood sugar and consequent blood sugar crash. The child feels hungry and reaches for sweet foods.

The Paleo diet contains proteins and fats which do not lead to blood sugar spike and crash. After eating, the child feels full for longer therefore eating less. Foods that are allowed under a Paleo lifestyle do not contain empty calories and your child is less tempted to have fizzy drinks and sweets to keep him or her going.

What does Paleo provide to children for proper growth?


Some parents hesitate to introduce a Paleo lifestyle to their children. Partly they are not sure whether the diet is safe for kids – but let’s think about this, the children take less of the foods that can do harm to their bodies. The child also  an abundance of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals that are very important in ensuring proper growth, rather than going for synthetic supplements.

Below are some of the things that a Paleo lifestyle provides for proper growth and development of children:

1. Proteins - By following the Paleo diet, children get enough protein day after day, which helps to achieve overall digestive health and helps to sustain energy.
2. Fibre - Many Paleo recipes contain enough soluble fibre in a single serving.
3. Omega-3 and Omega-6 - These long-chain essential fats are highly needed by children for proper brain development. The Paleo diet ensures that children are getting the right amount of these fats. The child is therefore at lower risk of inflammatory conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
4. Fatty acids - Since meat is a major component of the Paleo diet, the child gets the required fatty acids. 
5. Calcium - Almonds, broccoli, leafy green vegetables, sesame seeds and figs, all key components of the Paleo diet are very good sources of calcium. Parents should understand that milk is not the only source of calcium. Milk and other dairy products have their disadvantages and are therefore not included in the Paleo diet but some full-fat dairy products are allowed under a Primal diet where you can tolerate dairy.

This eating plan also provides children with more manganese, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin D than other diets do.


The list of suggested foods for kids following a Paleo lifestyle


Grass produced meats, fish and sea food are allowed. The diet also allows fresh fruits and vegetables. Eggs are allowed but should be taken with moderation. Seeds, nuts and dried fruit are highly regarded, although peanuts are excluded from this list (they are a legume). A person can get healthy oils from avocado, flaxseed, coconut, macadamia, walnut and olive. Sea vegetables taken along with tallow and lard are great. 

People following this ancient eating plan should drink spring or filtered water, freshly juiced vegetables and fruits, herbal tea and coconut water. Sweeteners such as raw honey and stevia should be used with moderation. High quality dark chocolate is also acceptable in moderate amounts.

What to avoid


All processed foods and most starches should be eliminated along with all grains. Wheat is also not allowed as it carries sugars to the blood very quickly. All dairy products put stress on the immune system. Milk, cheese, butter, yogurt and cream should therefore not be included in a Paleo lifestyle for kids (but see note above re: primal diets). Cereal grains, potatoes, legumes, refined sugar and refined salt (only use sea salt) are eliminated from the diet too.

When introducing this eating plan to your children, take time to explain to them why their peanut butter, pizzas, tacos and sandwiches have disappeared. 

Understanding why there has been change may not be easy for them. Make them understand that some of the ingredients used to make those tasty sandwiches and pizzas can even make them sick. Look for attractive substitutions for the comfort foods your children were used to and are sure to miss in the new diet. And when they go to a birthday party with table groaning with cakes and sweets - well, personally I relax and let them make their own decisions, which are changing over time to more sensible ones. Many Paleo purists will take their own food to birthday parties - that's not my approach but I respect it, it's about what works for you and your children.



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