Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Challenges of Changing the Family Diet

My husband decided the family needed to go on a wheat-free diet.  We don’t have any health issues nor do we have a lot of extra weight to lose, but after reading the book Wheat Belly, Erik decided we should give it a try. I admit I am always trying new ways of eating, but I have never put the children through the same ordeal.  I completely understand the health benefits of eliminating wheat, but all I could think of was the added work in packing school lunches and dinner.  The ideal time, in my thinking, to have started this new way of eating would have been best during the summer, but he decided we would start the same week as school was beginning.  This meant no more hot lunches and saying goodbye to sandwiches.
Before we started, I was concerned about the kids maintaining their weight.  They are all pretty small, so they don’t have a lot of weight to spare.  The first week I was so worried about it that I supplemented their days with milkshakes after school!  I know replacing wheat with sugar is not wise either.
Emma announced to her friends at lunch the first day, “My dad has put me on a diet.”  Their response, “You don’t have any weight to lose.”  After that, I explained to my children that they may not want to use the word “diet” but a “new eating plan”.  I didn’t want their teachers or friends thinking we were starving them to lose weight.  Sophia came home one day and told me, “My friends think we eat weird things.” 
This new way of eating has been challenging at times, but I have become a little more creative with meal planning.  I made black bean brownies and skinny monkey cookies which the children had for breakfast one week.  We have tried kale chips, gazpacho, lettuce wraps (which the children really like) Italian chicken sausage vegetable pasta and banana avocado smoothies.  Last week Emma came home and said, “I just want to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!”  So this week I made buttermilk corncakes so the children could have PB&J sandwiches.

I am sure the less I grumble about the extra work this is causing me, the more the kids will begin to accept these new meal plans.  We have been staying wheat-free 80% of the time for a month now and no one has “died” - as Hannah was positive she would “die without macaroni and cheese”.

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