How To Eat Paleo When Your Family Is Not On Board

March 10, 2012 in Categories: , by

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Have you decided that you want to eat a paleolithic diet but your family isn’t convinced?  That’s how I started.  I ate paleo for two full months before I tried to make any changes to my family’s meals and snacks.  I wanted to know how I would feel eating paleo, address my own health issues, read more about it.  I wanted to be convinced that it was the right way to eat before starting the monumental task of transitioning my family.

So, how do you follow a paleo diet in a household where other family members are eating neolithic foods?  How do you prepare a meal that satisfies both your needs and the needs of your family?  There are definitely some tricks, but I’ll be up front:  if you’re going to eat paleo but have tempting neolithic foods in your fridge or pantry, you will need more discipline than the person who throws out all of the “bad stuff” before embarking on this journey.  But here are some tricks to help you:

Have healthy paleo snacks and treats around at all times.  Sometimes watching your kids or spouse eat something that you know you love but that you also know is not good for you can be overwhelming.  If you are tired or stressed, you might not have enough discipline to abstain from eating whatever tempting food your family is enjoying.  So have something paleo that you love available instead.  If your family is eating cookies, have some paleo cookies around (you can keep them in the freezer so you aren’t overeating them the rest of the time).  You can make chocolate frozen “yogurt” or  or vanilla ice “cream” (see all my recipes for frozen treats).  If you need something salty, you can make paleo club crackers, kale chips, or have some lightly salted nuts.  If it’s the smell of bread you love, make some paleo bread (again you can slice it and then keep it in the freezer for “emergencies”).  You can enjoy some 85% or higher dark chocolate (Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Lovers Chocolate Bar is good, and I’ve heard that these amazing things about Domori 100% Dark Chocolate Bars and Bernard Castelain Chocolat Noir Extreme 85%).  Obviously, it’s better to just not eat whatever tempting “bad food” is in front of you, but if you’re going to give in, you can still keep it paleo.

Make the neolithic part of your family’s meal easy to swap out for something paleo for yourself.  For example, if you’re having pasta for supper, make the sauce (from my paleo pasta recipe) paleo-friendly.  You can pour it over conventional noodles for your family but use a paleo noodle substitute for yourself (great substitutes are roasted spaghetti squash, sautéed zucchini cut into strips, braised shredded cabbage, steamed broccoli slaw, or Kelp Noodles, now available with Amazon Subscribe & Save).  Similarly, you can make cauliflower rice for yourself for a rice dish, you can make mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes, and you can use paleo bread instead of wheat bread.  I also like to make several veggie side dishes for my meals, both for the variety and to make sure there’s something my picky children will eat, but also because it’s more satisfying if I’m avoiding eating something that my family is enjoying (although these days that something is usually rice for a cheat for my family or paleo bread).

Make some of your family meals paleo.  Probably a lot of the meals you are cooking can be easily adapted to use paleo ingredients, without your family even noticing.  Switch to Arrowroot Powder as a thickener.  Switch to Almond Flour for breading and baking.  Switch to Tamari Soy Sauce or Coconut Aminos instead of regular soy sauce.  Use Almond Milk or Coconut Milk instead of cow’s milk in your recipes.  Cook with Coconut Oil instead of vegetable oils. Use Almond Butter instead of peanut butter.  Maybe as time passes, you can start making more meals completely paleo.  Maybe you can get your family on board without them even noticing!

It may take a bit of thought initially and some experimenting to figure out how to make this work for both you and your family.  But it’s definitely doable.  And chances are that once your family sees the improvement to your health, they’ll want to join you! 


I just started Paleo 5 weeks ago and am feeling SO much better. Just wanted to pop in and say thanks for all your hard work. I am finding the recipes very helpful. I am about the try the granola recipe this week. And slowly moving my kids in this direction one step at a time.

I am feeling pretty overwhelmed right now. I found out accidentally from a Register Dietitian who does Diabetes counseling that I may have this and had the power to avoid all the bad things for three weeks but starved the entire time. Well I felt so much better and accidently ate some offending foods. I dot want to be that sick ever again. I was crying till I a lot of the Paleo mom pages! T Y ! Hope I can hold out long enough to get strong enough to do this. I have been sick a long time and lost a kidney. I could also have been a poster child for all the symptoms of nightshade and immune problems! Thank you for your pages and all your help! God bless you!

Hi! What a great site! Thanks so much! I started the paleo diet for an autoimmune disorder just 2 weeks ago. Already I’m feeling quite a bit better. I have to avoid all nightshades, white potatoes, and spices, though, too, so I am even more limited with some recipes. Any suggestions? I too am waiting to change my kids’ diets. It will have to be gradual. I am already getting bored with my options! 🙂 Thanks again for all this information!

Dinners are paleo.The kids haven’t really noticed.Since dinner usually equaled meat and veggies anyway. Eating more eggs myself the kids have also started to ask for them more regularly and always ask for banana pancakes. Lunch is the place I have yet to change. It seems to be the hardest thing to change because of the desire for quick and easy.

I find the biggest challenge (and reason why I find it hard to go paleo myself) is preparing food for school. I can’t always cook and bring my leftovers from last night, so this doesnt work for me. If I get hungry at school I’d buy a disgusting egg or tuna sandwich, so i prefer to simply prepare a sesame pita with eggs and some cheese. It’s also an option that works for me because I often have to eat while walking from one class to another, so it has to be very practical and non-messy and easy and fast to prepare, and I have not found such a paleo option.
I buy very high quality pitas from the grocery store, they have 5 ingredients and absolutely nothing fake or unneeded. other than this, I do eat bread, especially when tired and/or stressed, but I also eat lots of veggies, my fruits are always either blueberries or raspberries, I eat a lot of fish, greens, meat (I can’t find organic/grass fed – canadians dont have the equivalent to uswellnessmeats ;((() but I eat kosher meat. I hope it’s better than conventional.
I guess it would help if I was home all day and was able to prepare most meals fresh, but this is just not the case for me. I need something practical, non-messy, non-stinking (I love fish but wouldnt eat it in class) easy and fast to prepare, and filling.

Hi, I’m really interested to try paleo or AIP. I had thyroid problems as teenager, now I have endometriosis, I could not get pregnant, constantly tired, constipated, stressed out, dry skin…not sure if its psoriasis,…I have many issues but none so big that I couldn’t live with.
Well, I’m a bit confused. In auto immune protocol you mention NO EGGS, NUTS, TOMATOES, RED PEPPERS, alcohol…All these are allowed in other paleo readings and even you use them in your recepies. Is this AIP just a strict begginning and for how long do I have to do it this way before I can for example eat eggs also??? Do you have any recepies specifically for AIP? Who should do AIP? Isn’t it enough if I do “regular” paleo.
Thank you so much for all the info you provide us. Greately appreciated.

PS Do I need a book before I start?

The AIP is not the same thing as Paleo, and is recommended for all autoimmune patients. If you need to, you can transition to Paleo first and then transition into AIP if you do not see improvement on Paleo. If you’d like to read more about the science of the AIP, Sarah’s book The Paleo Approach has you covered. You can find Sarah’s AIP recipes here: – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

a friend suggested u. im allergic to tomatos gluten wheat dairy yeast peppers like red and yellow green . I cant have raw veggies. it stinks. I have no idea what I can eat , can u help.

My husband and I have been told recently we have some health issues. We have been looking at the paleo way for some time but whilst our doctor has tried to convince otherwise it seems that even for our kids health this is the best way to go. Thank you for having such a website. Its given me confidence that what we are embarking on is the right thing to do.
Its great that you have noted things to help.

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