This book is truly a labor of love put forth by the entire family, kids included. The basics of the story is something we’ve all heard before, about an entire family eating healthier and most importantly, together. However, Stacy and Matt take it several steps further by highlighting the changes each member of the family have gone through as a result of this change. In fact, as a couple, Stacy and Matt both lost over 200lbs in the course of 15 months! The best part of their story though (aside from how much better they feel mentally, physically, and emotionally once they cut out grains, legumes, and refined sugars), is where they write about how Paleo was able to help with each of their kids. Like how Cole (pictured below) was off the charts in terms of weight (read: overweight) and suffering from behavioral issues at school and was thisclose to getting expelled.
Or even Finian, who was suffering from eczema (boy could I sympathize with this poor young soul on this one!) and attention deficit disorder. So many of today’s health problems plaguing both adults and children alike solved with something so simple as a change in one’s diet… a change to a more ancestral diet. Of course, the biggest struggle most parents face in general is when trying to route their kids to eat healthier and making better food choices for themselves. Therefore, it is extremely important to keep the conversations open with your children about food and its effects on their health. And truly, Stacy and Matt nailed it on the head with the paragraph below when it comes to getting kids to relate to something they can actually understand:
This book has an incredible section on how to get your kids to be more conscious of the foods they eat, starting with that basic tenet of parenthood/guardianship: the health and welfare of that child(ren) is completely dependent upon you!
This seems like total common sense but I (along with many others) are often brushed off with the “oh, my child will NEVER eat that”. The points the Paleo Parents make in getting your child to consciously eat better are simple and completely doable, from getting your child involved in food (whether it’s shopping for food or actually preparing the food) to making a few concessions here and there. Overall, this first chapter was incredibly simple and easy to understand, giving even the most hesitant of parents not just the tools necessary for success but also the conviction that yes, they CAN do this! Not only is following a diet based on real food eaten by our ancestors doable, it’s adaptable and approachable without completely alienating anybody. Best of all, it’s something that can be thoroughly enjoyed by the WHOLE family!
Once you’re ready to get started in the kitchen with the little one(s), the recipes are incredibly easy to read. In the colored bar to the right of the recipe are pictures of known allergens like dairy, shellfish, and tree nuts. The allergen in the recipe is then highlighted so there’s no mistaking what’s in the actual recipe itself.
Especially for someone like me with my allergy to tree nuts, I can’t begin to tell you how valuable being able to quickly see at a glance what the recipe contains and if I should either make it or figure out how I can tweak it (like using sun butter instead of almond butter).
Another valuable bit about the recipes in this book are the little handprints on the steps in which kids can help participate in the food-making process. For example, I had the opportunity to test this recipe out last year, and my son Tyler actually got to help me with each of the handprint steps. It was the start of a fun bonding experience that gets him to run into the kitchen anytime I break out a colander or a cutting board.
Because families are constantly on the go, snacks are a must-have item. But how does a family actually prepare for having healthy snacks on hand? Have no fear, Paleo Parents have you covered with a very thorough section.
Another major hurdle to eating healthier ancestrally as a family is what to do about the special sweet treats. After all, kids get invited to birthday parties all the time. Even at school, candies and other unhealthy snacks and desserts (high fructose corn syrup! Gluten!) are passed out all the time. Stacy, being the super awesome baker that she is, was able to come up with a hefty chapter filled with sweet treats that are sure to please and are guaranteed to not make your kids feel left out at school or at parties, where cookies and cakes are the norm.
But before you think that sweet treats have wrapped up the entire book, there’s one last must-read chapter: Projects.
To help reinforce the fact that you are now eating healthier together as a family, Stacy and Matt came up with several novel ways in which everyone can show their creativity and individuality.
Though we’ve yet to do any of the food projects that’s listed, we’ve definitely gone to the Farmers’ Markets together where Tyler will happily point out the fruits and vegetables. And seriously, nothing makes me happier than seeing him eating fresh fruit from the vendors while “safeguarding” our newly gained foods.
All in all, Eat Like a Dinosaur is an incredible piece of work. It’s one that speaks clearly and simply on how to change your life for the better through food. Quite simply, it shows you how easy and approachable eating healthier together as a family can be But best of all, it shows you how kids can start making better food choices for themselves.