There are a lot of children on special diets. In our Nourishing Hope community the following diets are very helpful for kids with ADHD, Autism, and neurodevelopmental delays…
- GFCF Diet
- Paleo Diet
- Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)
- GAPS diet
But for parents new to special diets, some of the most common questions I get when I suggest a gluten-free/casein-free or Paleo diet are,
“What is my child going to eat?”
“How do I pack lunch on a special diet?”
One of the challenges of school lunch is that we parents are not there to supervise and make sure/encourage they eat all of their lunch.
Many of you know it can be tricky. They will eat the same meal at home but then when they are at school the might not. On the other hand, if we give them the foods they love that are not as healthy “just to get them to eat” they avoid all of the healthy stuff and only eat the junk.
Being the mother of an elementary school child, I have been experimenting for a couple of years on what’s best to put in my daughter’s lunch box that is healthy and delicious.
And I’ve settled on a strategy that works best for us…
A Paleo lunch box
For example, if I feed my daughter a sandwich sometimes she will eat just the bread and not the meat/protein. If I put crackers or a sweet treat, she may eat them but not the vegetable and protein.
There are a couple ways we handle this, most often I do not make a sandwich (unless it’s a tuna or salmon salad sandwich which she tends to love and eat the protein).
I also avoid including the treats, which requires her to eat the healthy choices available. If I do include a treat, I tell her she needs to eat the meat and vegetable or I won’t serve the treat on the next special occasion.
This combination of nutrition and parenting techniques works well for her.
What I do most often choose from several categories of food (protein, vegetable, fruit) and put a Paleo style lunch together. This way we avoid the bread, starches, and sugars and focus on the healthy food. One note about lunchmeat/deli meat. Always check the ingredients list (or ask the deli manager if you are buying it at the deli counter) as seasonings, brines, marinades, or flavorings can have additives like MSG, gluten, and/or dairy.