Oh how I have cried over making my childrens’ lunchboxes! The lunchbox dread, not enough options, the thought of their hunger….
You see one day, when my children were 1 and 3, I got inspired to get them and the whole family onto Paleo. We’d just really get into it and quit with the health issues. I knew it was the answer.
Converting children to Paleo is not easy!
Our biggest sticking point was certainly the boys’ sandwich, that they were quite used to. I lovingly found a Paleo bread recipe and got baking. I had absolutely NO time – after I’d made cashew butter, mayonnaise, pesto, grainfree cake plus more, oh and all of our meals and snacks from scratch. With part time work and study. So this was one more thing…
And the problem was, my children needed me too. I couldn’t get out of the kitchen and nor could I truly explain to them why I couldn’t always give them the time. Mummy stops cooking, our children stop eating. And there was no way we could turn back to the processed foods. The reactions for all of us wouldn’t have been fathomable.
So for awhile, I put the Paleo bread in their lunchbox. Often it came home. Other times I stayed on top of making enough other food to occasionally fill their lunchbox without any sandwich. But what one-year-old is happy with rissoles instead of a sandwich, when they are used to a trusty-worthy sandwich? Oh how I wished I had never introduced bread to my children!
Being an unperfect mother
Then one day, while I was unravelling from being that perfectionist mother, I realised it was time to give up on the Paleo bread for awhile. It was the final straw, the icing on the cake…it was too much.
And what a relief. We went back to the gluten-free pumpkin bread that was less than ideal and cost a fortune, but the boys were happy, they weren’t coming home ravenous and I had that spare hour or so each week. Which was a LOT for us!
The key is to keep your intention
It’s only now I start to look back and realise the intentions I have been setting over and over again. Even though we ‘gave up on Paleo’, I actually set the intention in my mind that we would come back to Paleo bread one day. The boys would grow up and at some point I would have more time, they would be willing to try the bread (it’s actually very tasty!) and understand why we wanted to cut out the grains. It would all feel exactly right.
Low and behold, fast forward three years (wow where has that time gone?) and the universe has remembered my intention. You see, it was my husband, who the other day decided to move on from rye bread. And so he bought a Paleo loaf. At $13 a loaf, I said ‘hey, I could make that!’.
And this time, I have only a 4 year old at home who is happy to play by himself and so I made the loaves! Easy as that. The boys were interested and tried some and were happy enough.
Letting go emotionally
The one catch now – my boys have grown emotionally attached to their gluten-free pumpkin bread. It is hard for them to let go completely! And I don’t blame them. All of us are emotionally attached to more than one food (unless you are a monk?).
So I found myself compromising. You can have one slice of pumpkin bread and one slice of Paleo bread. I have told them about how they are getting used to a new bread. They didn’t always love the pumpkin bread either.
Next thing, Hayden had said he was quite happy with the Paleo bread and so he was now converted. One down!
Today though, Hayden was home with an allergic reaction in his eyes. He had his pre-packed lunchbox for our lunch at home. I’d made him a Paleo sandwich. Declan, on the other hand, requested pumpkin bread and so I gave him one slice of each.
Next thing, Hayden is crying and yelling at me ‘where’s MY pumpkin bread? How come he gets it? If I eat this Paleo bread, you have to make me a pumpkin bread sandwich!!’ with finger pointing and shrieking.
More crying over lunchboxes
Well, I cried! I explained how those words made me feel – my effort, the beautiful ingredients (organic almonds, pastured eggs..) and he had actually said he’d be happy with Paleo.
And the wonderful boy came around. Children can be so understanding if we explain it all with love! So I told them about how we use pastured eggs – the difference between a battery hen and a truly free range one. I told them how we are eating their beautiful eggs, free from stress hormones, grains and the like. The two boys asked questions and were truly humbled by what I was telling them and I know were more grateful for their food.
The last question out of Hayden’s mouth?
“When I get my wife (!!), what happens if she doesn’t eat the lovely food that we do?”…. Maybe we can set an intention on that one, my boy?!
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