Paleo Kids, Chicken Nuggets with Southwestern Pineapple Sauce

Paleo, Kids, and the Family

Sarah Fragoso blogs at Everyday Paleo, is the author of the cookbook by the same name and the children’s book Paleo Pals.  She is the host of the podcast Paleo Talk, is a fitness trainer, and is a mom and wife.  She’s a superstar in the Paleo community and an expert on how to help transition families and kids to the Paleo lifestyle.  Below is a summary of her presentation at the Paleo Summit.

-If adults are achieving health and wellness through a Paleo lifestyle, then we owe it to our kids to set that example and introduce it to them.  Show and teach our kids that there is a way to, if not prevent, at least dramatically reduce their risk for disease later on as an adult.

-When you get rid of gut-irritants (grains, legumes, and dairy) and build a plate of Paleo food (not Food Pyramid food), their little bodies are better able to absorb the nutrients before them.  In this way, kids can eat the same foods as their parents.  However, some parents might be eating to lose weight (ie no sweet potatoes or no snacking).  Kids should never be on a calorie-restrictive diet and should be allowed to eat when they are hungry.

– Provide healthy and nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day to ensure they are able to eat when they are hungry.  And if they don’t eat a mound of veggies at dinner, but did at 4:00 when you were preparing dinner, that’s ok.  Look back at the whole day.  Your goal is for your kids to be satiated, healthy, growing, and thriving.

-The transition to the Paleo lifestyle won’t happen overnight.  Each kid is different and the transition will happen differently for each kid.  Don’t set yourself up for failure with the expectation that the transition will happen smoothly within the span of one meal.  Approach it with a gentle, positive attitude, the transition can be successful.

-Taking an “all or nothing” approach might not work with kids.  Live the way you do at home and teach your kids to make good decisions when they are outside the home.  You can’t control Grandma who will still offer cookies and ice cream.  But you can help your kids understand when they eat healthier they feel healthier.  Lead by example.

-Approach the transition to the Paleo lifestyle with hope and joy.  You are setting yourself and your family up for a lifetime of health.  Stay positive and take care of yourself.  The healthier you are mentally and physically, the more capable you are to take care of your children.

-Make it more a journey than a destination.  Learn and grow every day.  Hang in there, enjoy your kids, try not to rush things.  Have fun, relax, and enjoy the ride.  This is your life!

Cook with Your Kids (I wrote this for our preschool newsletter so it’s geared towards little kids, but you could easily adapt these ideas for older kids who can have more responsibility in the kitchen.)

I think I speak for all of us when I say we want our kids to grow up into smart, independent adults.  We try our best every day by bringing them to school, enrolling them in activities, and by teaching them right from wrong.  Teachable moments happen all the time, whether it’s a power struggle between siblings or parking lot safety.  But there is something you do every day that can teach your children independence, foster positive self-esteem, and create lasting memories for both you and your children.  Cook with your kids!

There are websites a-plenty that offer gadgets for your pint-size chef.  You could spend hundreds on cookbooks full of kid-friendly recipes.  And you can waste even more money buying ingredients for those recipes.  In truth, kids don’t need special equipment to make them feel special in the kitchen.  They don’t need to eat a meal different from the rest of the family.  Simply put, what they need is for you feed them and for them to help you do it.

Depending on the age of your children, there are all kinds of tasks in the kitchen they can help with.  Show them how to do the task, do it again together, and then let them show you how to do it.  A few examples: wash fruits and vegetables (always a favorite), stir ingredients, pour muffin batter into the muffin tin, crack eggs, and sprinkle seasonings.  Help them learn early knife skills by letting them cut softer foods with a butter knife.  Let them count and measure ingredients.  Ask them to build their own salad.  Teach them kitchen safety: hot vs. cold, sharp vs. soft, heavy vs. light.  Opportunities abound!

Of course they are going to make messes and mistakes.  This is where a lot of learning can occur!  Allow them to clean up, even if you need to go back over it later.

When you’re in the kitchen, think about things they can do to help.  Not only are you getting them involved in the family meal, for which they will be supremely proud of, but you’re teaching them how to do things for themselves and feel good about hard work; lessons that last a lifetime.  And most importantly, have fun!

Fool’s Gold (Chicken Nuggets) and Southwestern Pineapple Sauce (from Eat Like a Dinosaur by The Paleo Parents)

3 chicken breasts, cut into 1” pieces

2 cups almond flour

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

¾ cup olive oil

Mix flour, arrowroot powder, and spices together in a bowl.  Pour olive oil into a separate bowl.  Dip each chicken piece into the oil and then roll in the flour mixture.  Place nuggets on baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees, flipping halfway through.  When done, crust will be golden brown and juices will run clear.

Southwestern Pineapple Sauce

3 medium poblano peppers, roasted, skinned and seeded

1 20 ounce can pineapple chunks or one whole pineapple

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

¼ teaspoon salt

Place roasted, skinned and seeded poblanos in a blender with the pineapple and juice and puree.  Over medium heat, heat oil and garlic in a medium sauce pan and cook until just starting to brown, about 4 minutes.  Add puree, vinegar and salt and stir.  Simmer about 20 minutes until a thick sauce has formed.  Serve cold, store chilled for up to several weeks.

5 thoughts on “Paleo Kids, Chicken Nuggets with Southwestern Pineapple Sauce

  1. My family loves this recipe. We don’t make the pineapple sauce and eat it plain but it is delicious. Much better than any “Shake and bake” variety. I cut the amounts of ingredients for the breading mix in half and still had plenty to cover 3 large chicken breasts. It saves quite a bit of money as almond flour isn’t cheap. Just thought I’d share. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  2. I bet you could toss these in Franks Hot Sauce after you bake them and have a wonderful batch of boneless wings to eat while you watch football! 🙂

      1. Arrowroot flour (powder) – Minkler’s Green Earth is a Paleo wonderland. Every nut, lots of dried fruit and flours prepackaged in small, medium and large sizes. They are at 125 Airport Way in Renton.

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