This one actually ended up being a whole21. We curtailed because I wanted to focus on reintroduction, and we only had so much time before Thanksgiving.
On Day 22, I had popcorn after dinner. On Days 26-27, I had cheese. Day 29 was gluten. Day 32 (Thanksgiving), wine. After that we head to Naples so I guess it will be pizza reintroduction, followed by probably a week (or more) of recovery.
As with each of my previous Whole30s, I learned things.
I learned that shutting down snacking after dinner is a very good thing. I learned (again) that I feel better without alcohol.
I rekindled my kettle fire for cups of hot tea. This was helpful because this go round I ditched caffeine. (Again.) So far that is going well. Although it is hard on the weekends when I can smell James’s coffee brewing. The man makes really good coffee.
I learned that I’m chafing harder than I expected against the whole30 rules. I do eat pretty close to whole30 a lot of the time. I’m used to making my own calls on what is worth it and when to go off plan. I don’t like having that freedom taken from me.
This whole30 wasn’t really about weight loss, but I lost almost three pounds. I know the numbers on the scale aren’t everything, but I took this as heartening that I’m probably pretty close to where I should be most of the time.
I did learn the slightly sadder lesson that food can’t fix everything. It can help with A LOT. It can make you feel much better. But eating super clean doesn’t mean you won’t have bad days. Some days your back will hurt or you will be in a bad mood and that’s just the way it is. You can’t eat your way out of every issue.
I also learned that the kids are probably the final frontier. James joined for this whole30. I was thrilled, but also a little intimidated at the thought of packing breakfasts and lunches for him. Turns out it really wasn’t that bad.
The kids though. I just can’t seem to make up my mind on how to approach them.
Our breakfasts are usually pretty good. It is generally some combination of eggs, avocado, sweet potatoes, or fruit. I’ve started letting the kids have a handful of roasted pistachios if they finish everything on some days.
Dinner is also pretty good. Unless we are deliberately having a clean-out-the-fridge kind of dinner, we all eat the same thing. No one gets an after dinner snack. No substitutions.
It’s the in between stuff I can’t seem to figure out.
Lunch is all over the place. Sometimes they eat lunch on the go. For example, on market days I usually get them suppli or pizza bianca which they supplement with all the goodies (think clementines, samples of cheese, and dried apricot) that their market friends give them. We haven’t done it as much lately, but if we go to a cafe, then they both get a cornetto. Usually filled with cream if Henry gets his way.
If we are at home, things can be good. If I’m making myself a salad, it is easy to give them something disassembled. If the leftovers from dinner are good, they might be excited about it but that’s not really their jam. This is when they eat yogurt or oatmeal or the occasional sandwich or who knows what really.
Snack time is when I plan to fail. This is when we indulge in things like Goldfish crackers, potato chips, and a few pieces of Halloween candy.
And in restaurants, we do order pasta for them which they attack with gusto if they haven’t already completely filled up on the bread basket.
I don’t think our system is the end of the world, but I’ve been feeling like I can do a lot better. I believe this stuff is important. I really do. And I want the best for my kids. But I’m also only human. And I don’t want to push them so far in one direction that they get resentful and do some serious backlash. Or does that happen no matter what you do?
I took heart when my friend suggested things will get easier in time. Just like my eating has been a process, this will probably be an ongoing process with my little guys.
Step one: ditch the juice. The kids don’t drink milk, but they had been drinking watered down juice. I tried making it just for breakfast or limiting it in other ways, but they always wanted it if it was there, and I was already worried they weren’t getting enough liquids.
The other day, I told them we were having a water day. They seemed on board with it. Then we had some more juice.
Then we had a few more water days. Then probably a water week.
Now they don’t really ask for juice. OK, Mac sometimes does. But they are drinking water (or sparkling water) and not pitching a fit. Huh.
Step two: buy more good stuff. Just like I had to train myself to buy more meat and veggies, and then to buy EVEN more if James also wants leftovers, I have to train myself to overbuy for the kids. MORE fruit. MORE nuts. (We’re spending about 20-30 euro a week on nuts now.) MORE making mayo that I can turn into dips for them. If I want them to have these things, I need to have an abundant supply.
Step three: stop buying crap. I’d like to focus on the kids having fun stuff outside the house. Gelato. Cornetto. Cannoli. Pasta. This means I’d like to limit what I bring into the house. The other day, James asked if he should pick up more goldfish crackers. I said no. It seems like enough treat food gets in here without my having to seek it out. Sometimes I freak out that I won’t have things to feed them. Hopefully, Step Two to the rescue.
I can think of a bazillion more steps like figuring out better lunches and trying to cook for even more leftovers. We’re having some success by serving dinner in courses. It’s a process.
A lot of this will feel one step forward, two steps back. I’m going to try not to beat myself up on anything. But I will be trying harder for them.
How do you get your kids to eat the good stuff? What’s your approach on treats?