When you first learnt to ride a bike it was scary right? You’d fall off and have to get back on, fall of and have to get back on, and fall off maybe 10 or 20 times and still not get it that day. It might take a few days and lots of falling off before you got it.
When you learnt to drive a car, same thing, exciting but scary! And most drivers I know (myself included) were not so great when they first got their license and may have received a few fines (or like me even lost their licences once – or twice!!!) before they decided to really dig in and follow the rules and eventually become a good, safe and practiced driver.
Well going gluten free is exactly the same! And going gluten free with kids is like learning to ride your bike or drive a car while having screaming kids in the back seat! Not easy, rather frustrating, but doable and in time they eventually stop screaming and just enjoy the ride or fall asleep! Either way, when the screaming and protesting stop, the ride becomes much easier for everyone.
As adults, we know why we are making the changes to their food. If it’s because they’re constantly sick and you want to help them by strengthening their immune system via nourishing their bodies with food that will do that, or if you’re trying to eliminate reasons for behavioural issues, rashes, eczema, not sleeping, bloated bellies, nappy rash etc.
As a child, they have no idea and they don’t care at all! When you have been feeding them food that is on the not so healthy side, or even from easy street packaged processed foods that are high in sugar and white whatever, you need to be realistic and understand that your kids are not going to adjust overnight or even be happy about it.
After going through this process myself a few years ago, these are the top tips I can give, that from experience, made my life a whole lot easier when I was doing it.
- Find conversions for the food you already use, don’t take things away – just replace them with better options.
e.g, bread is a huge one that people struggle to convert. People who have gluten issues can often tolerate sourdough bread that is made from the spelt or khorasan grain and has been fermented. Sourdough is easier to digest because the grains have been soaked prior to being milled, therefore the soaking process breaks down a lot of the gluten. Then when the grains are fermented, this also helps with the breaking down of gluten, therefore, making it easier to digest. This can often be an option that makes the transition easier for kids. In particular if they are at school and sandwiches are made daily for lunch. You’ll be hard pressed to find these breads in a supermarket. Most good health food stores stock organic sourdough breads, which are also free of dairy, sugar and sometimes eggs. If you get in touch with your local health food shop they should be able to help point you in the right direction. I highly recommend khorasan or kamut bread as it is the grain with the least amount of gluten and it has a white appearance so it keeps the kids happy! My kids eat khorasan bread, I can’t tolerate it at all so I make my own bread or don’t eat it.
- Explain what is going on to the kids in an easy to understand language.
They don’t care about the lining of the gut and what it’s made up of and how food is going to fix it, most adults go to sleep listening to talk like that! Use something they can relate to, something they can understand and something you can keep referring back to if you need backup when you’re talking about food choices.
eg. I explain to my girls that they have good soldiers and bad soldiers in their bodies. Sometimes the bad soldiers get really strong and when they are that’s when you can get sick, and when the good soldiers are strong, that’s when you are healthy and have lots of energy and aren’t sick. I explain to them that some foods make the good soldiers stronger and put even more good soldiers into their bodies ie veges, and some foods feed the bad soldiers and put bad soldiers into their bodies ie lollies, sugar filled products. This helps them to understand what I am doing and why I make the food choices I do for them.
- Include them in food prep
Kids love to do anything with their parents, it’s probably the one thing they love the most, feeling like they’ve done something special with Mum or Dad. So combine the two! Get them into the kitchen, make it exciting, ask them if they are ready to help you make some food to make the good soldiers really strong. And then when they’re eating, tell them you can see their bodies getting stronger, tell them you can see the good soldiers making their skin and eyes sparkle and they must be growing taller because they have so many good soldiers in their body. Kids love that kind of talk, look at the Wiggles! Any show on ABC kids, it’s full of talk like that! It’s even better if it comes from the people they love the most!
- Get your partner on board.
It is so important to have support. You can do it without it but it’s so much easier with it, not just for the kids, but for you, when it’s been a tough day (and yes you will have them) to have that someone say to you, it’s ok just keep going, you’re doing a great job. Some day’s it’s those words that make all the difference. If you don’t have support, find some like minded people you can connect with. Support really makes all the difference, that’s why you always had someone there when you were learning to drive or ride a bike!
- Have emergency food handy.
By this I mean for days where something happens that you’re not planning for, like you’re running late, or there were road works or someone busted themselves at soccer training or you just couldn’t be bothered and need a night off! When you’re cooking a big pot of soup, a casserole, a stir fry, even bolognaise, cook some extra and freeze it. It will save you a fortune in take away money and keep you on track for days that you fall off the tracks!
If you are really stuck on what to do and where to go there are people out there to help you. People like me, my 8 week programs are designed to take you step by step through the dietary change process, from meal planning to shopping list prep and recipe conversions. I support you along the way so you can achieve the success of long term health that you’re after.
There is a reason successful athletes have coaches, successful business owners have business coaches, sometimes the support can be the difference between falling off the bike and staying on.If you found this post helpful or think you know some people it might help, please click the share buttons to the right and share it on social media. You never know who you might be helping just by sharing this information!
Thank you as always for taking the time to read my post, I hope the tips can help you and your family on your journey to a healthier life.
Love R xx