“Paleo Treat.” It’s been a big buzz in the paleosphere these days and I typically live in my own little bubble, ignoring the big buzzes and focusing on taking the best care of my family that I can and using what’s left of my energy dedicated to running this little blog, working on books, and helping to run EPLifeFit. I love doing what I do. I am extremely blessed. I am so grateful to be healthy and strong after so many years of not being healthy and strong and I am beyond happy that my kids are healthy, strong and thriving.
First, this article is not about how to transition your family and kids to eating paleo but you can read about that by browsing through my required reading articles.
This article does address our families perspective on treats. This is how we live our lives and it works for us. We handle the treat issue by really trying to make it NOT an issue. We just don’t make a lot of treats in our house, simple as that. Simply put, kids do not need “paleo” pancakes and “paleo” muffins to grow or to be happy. They DO however need meat, veggies, fruit, and loads of healthy fat. Read this article to see scientifically why paleo is extremely nutritionally beneficial for children.
Do we EVER make gluten free or nut flour based treats? Of course, and I am extremely grateful that we can make almond flour cookies for special occasions and coconut flour cakes for birthdays and parties. I am also glad that if we decide on a weekend to make some coconut flour pancakes, we have that as an option. I also understand that these options make the transition to eating paleo much easier for some families as it was for us, but maintaining a paleo lifestyle with a lot of added nut flour or coconut flour based food options, does not work well for us simply because if we had these options every single day, we would be right back where we were several years ago, prior to eating paleo.
Right back to battling with the kids too, “Please eat some protein and veggies and not just the “paleo” muffins.”
Right back to the insulin spikes and crashes brought on by the “naturally” sweetened “paleo” treats and the resulting grumpiness and lack of satiety.
Right back to me deciding to make “special treats” for the boys and eating most of them myself because it’s “there” and then feeling pretty awful because it’s darn hard on my digestion when I consume a lot of nut/coconut flour based “paleo” treats and because psychologically, eating a lot of sweets makes me feel pretty gosh darn depressed.
Finally, the reality is, nut based foods and coconut flour based foods are not beneficial to good health. They are TREATS and in our house are treated as such. Here’s one article explaining why nuts in general should not be a staple part of your diet, and another one here that explains how eating too many nuts or nut flour based foods can actually inhibit iron absorption which I don’t like at all, being that Jaden used to struggle with anemia, which however has improved dramatically now that we eat paleo.
In conclusion, having nuts around as an occasional snack can be a lifesaver, yes, but having them around as a staple food item and especially in treat form does not work so well for us. My kids eat way more meat, veggies and healthy fats throughout the day when we don’t have the “paleo” muffins or pancakes as a daily option. I am however extremely grateful for these healthier treat options and will continue to use them now and then but you will not find my current book or my upcoming books overly filled with paleo treat options simply because treats are not a great idea for my family to have around ALL of the time, and I create my recipes accordingly. You will find the occasional pancake recipe or coconut macaroon recipe both in my books and on my blog, but that is all you will find – the occasional treat recipe because treats, in our house, are just that: occasional.
My kids are happier without loads of treats. I am happier. Life is easier.
So, now you know where I stand on the issue of treats and I hope this information is helpful as we all continue to learn, grow, and discover together what works best for our families and ourselves on our own personal paleo journeys.
Some of our families favorite go to treats that DO work well for our family include:
Fresh young coconuts – my kids go crazy for fresh young coconuts (and so do we)! We buy ours from our local health food store Chico Natural Foods but you can also often find them at Asian markets.
Frozen blueberries with coconut milk
Apple slices spread with Coconut Cream Concentrate from Tropical Traditions
Fruit in season