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I’m still not exactly sure how I convinced my entire family to do a Whole 30 with me but I did! Actually, I know exactly how…I cook, they eat what I make lol! I have 3 little girl ages 7, 5 and 10 months. The baby obviously didn’t participate, but the rest of us went in hard core. My husband and I didn’t cheat one. single. time. We were pretty proud of that! The girls did AMAZING! They went on a trip with my parents and had one or 2 meals they weren’t able to comply but that’s it! My mom went and bought tons of fruit to keep on hand to help them stay on track.
I had a few snarls as to why I was “making my kids do this” and the answer is easy: to change their relationship with food. We have been in the habit of fruit snacks, chips and donuts for so long, that sometimes they would go days without healthy fresh food in their bodies. I want them to grow up strong and healthy and loving fresh foods, but that starts at home. I knew I had to be the one to help them get there. We all needed to get there. I have done my fair share of research about how the things we put in and on our bodies can destroy your health. I don’t want me or my kids to wake up in 20 years and it be too late. We have to change things now.
Fresh fruits and vegetables boost your immune system and we could ALL use a good dose of that this time of year. Now we have still battled the runny noses, but we have managed to skip (knock on wood) the serious stuff this season. Either we have been lucky or our immune systems really are in full gear due to all of the raw fruits and veggies we are eating!
I also want my kids to operate at their best! I want them to change the world and to thrive in what God has called them to do! I want them to FEEL up to the challenge! This is a big motivation for Jeff and I right now, to feel better and to have the energy to to do the things we are meant to do in this life. It’s no different for my kids. I want their minds, bodies and spirits to operate at their absolute best! I want their minds to be clear and strong for school and their bodies to be ready for the sports they are playing. I want their spirits to be up to the challenge for whatever life may throw their way, but if they don’t FEEL good, they just won’t be prepared for it all. Feeling good starts with whatever you are fueling your body with. There’s a lot more to it, but it STARTS here.
Real talk, the first few days with the girls were not the easiest, BUT I was surprised how serious they took it. After a week or so, they got the hang of it all and it was their new norm. During our Whole 30, at church the girls had a party in their class. They served cupcakes and my 5 year old told them she wasn’t eating sugar and didn’t eat one! I was honestly really surprised and happy to see how serious she was taking it!
So here’s the HOW:
-We talked to them. Yep. Rocket Science, I know. We sat them down and talked about the effects that sugar can have on their body. We talked about foods that have sugar in them and how most grains turn to sugar in your body. We also talked about the effects sugar can have on their teeth and how they could get cavities lol. Might have been a little scare tactic but it worked haha.
-We talked about how God wants us to live a healthy life and honor Him with our bodies and life that He gave us. We were built for exercise and fresh foods…not laying around and eating junk food all day.
I’ve complied a list of some helpful tips to help your family survive a Whole 30…esp with kids!
- If you don’t know what Whole 30 is, I def recommend the official Whole 30 book! You need to figure out WHY you want to do this. This is not a diet, it’s meant meant to help you change your relationship with food and clear processed food and sugar out of your body!
- Pinterest your life away. Seriously guys, make this fun! I set out not to just at chicken, broccoli and salads every single night. We did eat them but not all day everyday. There are some to die for, delicious recipes out there! Follow me on Pinterest here and check out my Whole 30 board!
- DO SOME MEAL PREP. You have to. You just do. Otherwise your kids will ask for a snack and instead of peppers and hummus you will reach for the fruit snacks because you’re in a hurry and don’t want to wash and cut everything. Let the weekends be your friend! Make soups to keep around, cook chicken ahead of time (to throw in salads or lettuce wraps), wash and cut your veggies and put them in containers. IT WILL PAY OFF!
- Buy an instant pot. Guys, I used this thing almost every single day. If you don’t have one, read up on them. For the days I didn’t meal prep appropriately and I needed dinner in a hurry, or I needed the oven for 2-3 dishes, I was so glad I had it! My kids give me like a 15 minute warning (if that most days) to the time of death by starvation, so I don’t have long to get food ready. INSTANT POT FOR LIFE.
- Make it fun. If you eat boring meals, you will…..get bored. Think about your favorite foods and search Pinterest and Google. I’m SURE one of those cool food bloggers has come up with something!
- Make it a salad. When we had cravings we made it into a salad. Now clearly you can’t do this with everything but we did it a lot! Want pizza? Throw all of your favorite toppings in (no cheese) and use pizza sauce as your dressing! Want a burger? Ground beef, pickles, onions, tomatoes, ketchup and mustard as dressing.
- Larabars are life. Most of the are Whole 30 compliant. I have a pin on my Whole 30 Pinterest board that tells you which are and which aren’t. I hopped on Amazon and bought several boxes of these and kept them around for snacks and quick meals!
- Study your list of do’s and don’ts before you start. I focused on my list of do’s: meat, vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts. This made my life easy!
- Make your own rules. Okay so I’ll get some ugly e-mails over this one, but I’ll just delete them so I’m not too concerned 🙂 But feel free to make your own rules for your family and your health issues. I’m still nursing and was concerned about my carb intake, so I kept eating peanut butter and white potatoes which is technically not on the program. But I didn’t over indulge in these and I didn’t get processed peanut butter. For the kids, I bought some turkey pepperonis and turkey meatballs and store bought applesauce (yes, store bought…I can hear the gasping through the screen…blog on another day about how I didn’t feel like making homemade applesauce haha). These helped me keep around some quick throw together lunches. But for sanity sake, do what works for your needs. Just do go so far off course that you’re w not actually Whole 30-ing anymore.
- Buy a potato masher. Random piece of advice but we used it allllll the time. We made muffins and pancakes and needed mashed bananas, we made lots of cauliflower mashed potatoes. We just used it all the time!
- Dried Fruit is my BEST piece of advice for helping kids through this! I bought a lot of different kinds and replaced their chips and snacks with this. I made some up in baggies so we could grab them on the go as well!
- Let your kids play with their food. I would cut up their fruits and veggies and have them make a picture with their food, or I would make a cute picture with their food! They were giggling too much about eating Elmo’s face that they forgot they were eating tomatoes.
- Let your kids go to the grocery store with you and help pick out their favorite fruits and vegetables. This was one of the most helpful things we did! They would be excited to get home and show their dad what they picked out. And I would say, “how about you try those plums you bought at the store!”
- Give them choices, this way they don’t feel like you’re “making them” eat this way…well…as much haha. For breakfast I would say “would you like eggs with avocado and cilantro on top or would you like to make your own fruit salad?” For lunch, “I’m making BBQ turkey sausages, you get to pick 2 other items…any fruit or vegetable as your sides.”
If you are really wanting to do a Whole 30 and want your whole family to participate, you can do it with a little prep, a few machines to do your work for you and some creativity! I could list all of our favorite meals but most of them on are my Whole 30 Pinterest board! It was one of the best decisions we have made! We have added back in some oatmeal and yogurts, but we still pretty much eat this way every single day. Trust me, if our family can do it, yours can too! Good luck!
Have you done a Whole 30 with kids? How did they do?