Living Paleo For Dummies
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Nobody practicing a Paleo lifestyle should feel deprived. There are lots of tasty and nutritious Paleo-approved treats available. Kids love treats. In fact, many of them would trade you in for a banana split! Even if your kiddo has a hollow leg for sweets, you can manage these cravings in the following ways:

  • If your kids have a sweet tooth, remember that you're the one in the house with the checkbook and the driver's license. What you say goes. If you don't bring it into the house, it can't be eaten.

  • Worry about what you can control, and don't get crazy about the rest. Teach your kids at home and provide them real foods; they'll begin to make the connection between the foods and sugars they eat and how they make their body feel. They'll discover these positive and negative associations in time with your guidance.

  • One of the best things you can do when your kids eat sweets is to make sure they're getting real sweets and not a bunch of chemicals or frankensweets (fake stuff dressed up to look like cakes and treats). The more refined a sugar is, the worse it is.

  • The only way you can completely avoid sugar in your kids' diet is to not have any sweeteners or sweet stuff in your household so there's no begging or battles. Remember the rule: What you do, the kids follow.

    But don't expect your kids to appreciate you removing the sugar from their lives. Your best strategy is to always give a clear explanation as to why you're prohibiting certain sugars in terms that they'll clearly understand.

  • If you do decide on a treat, such as ice cream, go out and get it instead of stocking it at home. That way when you're home, it's a done deal.

  • Redefine desserts by making Paleo treats with wholesome ingredients, like fruit and almond and coconut flours. Many of them are simple to put together and really delicious.

  • Don't fall into the circus animal pattern of rewarding kids with sweets. Don't confuse the fact that food is there to nourish, not to show love or reward.

  • Let your kids know that some sweets, such as birthday cake at parties or holiday cookies that you bake together, are okay some of the time. Make sure they understand the line in the sand and the difference between special occasion treats and everyday real foods.

  • Trade party bags or Halloween treats for other, more favorable sweets. A movie or some loose coins are often more attractive than candy. The idea of a trade is always enticing.

  • When dealing with the issue of school sweets, you have to educate at home the best you can. Sometimes, your kiddos will make good choices; other times, they won't. Don't make food and sweets too much of a big deal.

    Do your work at home, and keep educating. Provide your kids with wholesome meals when you can. Remember that what you focus on grows. Don't put too much focus on sweets. Focus on clearly defined education.

  • Pull the plug on sweet drinks in your home. Don't buy soda or sweet drinks. No sports drinks (unless you need them). Sugary drinks have become a huge problem for kids, and this rule should be an absolute deal breaker with no wiggle room. No liquid sugar!

    Get your kids used to water and iced herbal teas if they want something else. Just a pitcher of water with some oranges and lemons is usually enough to keep them happy. Hold strong on this one. Explain why; they'll get it.

When considering whether to give the A-Okay on a sugary treat, you have to consider how the sweetener in that food is made and how the body processes it.

These off-limit, toxic sweeteners aren't good for a growing neurological system (or any system for that matter):

  • Acesulfame-K (Sweet One)

  • Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet)

  • High-fructose corn syrup

  • Saccharin (Sweet'N Low)

  • Sucralose (Splenda)

These low-quality, highly refined sweeteners are found in many foods and beverages, so beware! Cutting out sugary drinks considerably reduces the chances of exposing your kids to this garbage.

Kids are exposed to treats at parties, play days, school outings, and holiday gatherings. Maybe you want to keep certain family traditions or recipes around. Make sure your kiddos are getting the following sugars in their diet only on rare occasions.

  • Brown sugar

  • Cane juice, juice crystals, and sugar

  • Coconut nectars, sugar, and crystals

  • Date sugar

  • Raw sugar

  • Turbinado

The top choices (by a landslide) in sweeteners for your kiddos include the following:

  • Dates (you'd be surprised how well these work)

  • Fresh fruit juice (great for baking and dressings)

  • Organic maple syrup

  • Raw honey (although not under the age of 2, due to the risk of botulism, a very serious illness)

  • Ripe bananas

Paleo treats are made with these ingredients, and they taste so good that your kids won't feel like they're missing a thing.

Here's an easy-peasy treat to try: Take some berries and drizzle some honey on top — kids love this. Or just a bowl of berries and coconut milk can do the trick! By the way, you can easily transform fruit into wonderful, gorgeous ice creams and mousses.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Melissa Joulwan is the author of the paleo recipe and lifestyle blog Dr. Kellyan Petrucci, who is a go-to expert in the nutritional field, helps patients build the strongest, healthiest body possible through her family-based workshops and consulting practice (

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