I have been asked this question a few dozen times since we went grain free a few months ago so I’ve been keeping a food diary and I’ve been writing down everything that she eats.
You can read about why we went grain free here. This seemed the natural next step after we slowly reduced our refined sugars and gluten over the past 12 months or so.
When I contemplated throwing out all our bread, rice, pasta, cereals and flour my anxiety skyrocketed because I just kept saying to myself – ‘But what will Maggie eat?”. It turns out that after the initial transitioning period (detox sugar and wheat crash) that it was pretty much smooth sailing after all and now she is eating a wider variety of foods.
For the last month or two she has been having a boiled egg every single day for breakfast without fail. Sometimes she has some streaky bacon with it too and cut up cherry tomatoes. Before this she was having a smoothie for breakfast which was usually made up of coconut milk/cows milk, egg, organic cacao powder, organic coconut oil, banana or strawberries or blueberries and sweetened with honey.
Before we went grain free she was having nutri-grain but not really eating it and most mornings just drank the milk and asking for a carby grainy snack approx 20 minutes later.
We always have leftovers in the fridge so quite often (see dinner) she will eat some of these with some fresh steamed veggies or a salad. If she’s not very hungry she will ask for yoghurt and a piece of fruit.
Sometimes I use the leftover roast meat and make a frittata or I use the roast veggies to make a baked zucchini slice.
Maggie’s favourites are:
- pork belly
- grilled fish
- cauliflower fried rice
- roast dinner
- lamb cutlets
- lamb korma or butter chicken
These are all served with steamed vegetables instead of rice or pasta. Cauliflower mash is a big hit when we have lamb cutlets, steak or sausages. I also blitz up a cauliflower into fine rice and stir it through the bolognaise sauce and the curries. Maggie loves cauliflower rice but Annaliese (14) refuses to eat it so I hide it in the sauce. FTW!
- Nuts – cashews, almonds and pistachios. I have a nut station set up in my pantry and she can just go and help herself.
- Fruit – raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, apple, bananas, medjool dates, grapes and mandarins
- Yoghurt – I choose a flavoured yoghurt that has the lowest amount of sugar.
- Slice – I make a raw slice at the start of each week.
- Grain free pancakes
- Muffins – grain free pumpkin muffins.
- Pumpkin rocks – This is Maggie’s favourite snack. I roast up a pumpkin or sweet potato every few days and it is usually devoured but if there are any leftovers I stir them through one of the curries.
- Cheese – she does eat cheese but not a lot.
- Smoked salmon.
- Cherry tomatoes.
Maggie was having water, watered down apple juice and a little frothy Milo before bed. We switched out the apple juice for coconut water which she has watered down and she stopped asking for the nighttime Milo after we returned from Perth. Woohoo, there is no more Milo in the house!
We’ve mentioned that we are following the grain free lifestyle 80/20 because on weekends we are always out and about and the girls can choose whatever they like. On Saturdays, we often walk down to the local markets and Maggie will have a crepe for lunch and if we are out for dinner she will choose either fish and chips or share a pizza with her sister. Grilled fish and chips is technically grain free but she doesn’t know this.
Maggie has morning tea supplied for her at pre-school therefore I have zero say about what she eats there and I would not exclude her from anything. For the most part it is fresh fruit but there is the occasional popcorn, crackers and of course birthday cake.
I wanted to go grain free this year because I think it’s important to get her into a routine before she starts full-time primary school next year. In a few months I will be buying a lunch box similar to this and start giving it to her at lunch time and hopefully by the time next year comes around she will be a pro about how it all works and feel completely comfortable.
Not one of my children has ever eaten the sandwiches I’ve made them for school lunches. I have spent hundreds of hours worrying about their food and nutrition to no avail. But there is another way and it when it comes down to it, it is so simple and easy to do. It just takes a little willpower to get it happening.
Dinner time can be as easy as meat and three veg! If I’m cooking a meal such as a curry, casserole or bolognaise I always make a double batch and leftovers are eaten throughout the week or frozen. Leftovers and being organised are the key to making this grain-free lifestyle work. Hungry people make bad choices but if you know that you have a nutritious meal at home in the fridge that can be reheated in a few minutes you will be less likely to be lured by those golden arches.
We don’t ever tell Maggie she can’t have something that she wants to eat. In the early days when she was asking for rice crackers and bread, we would just offer an alternative which she would happily eat. We certainly don’t restrict her carbs or fruit either. Majority of her carbs are sourced from natural foods and she probably does eat a little too much fruit but that’s ten times better than a Maccas sundae. Maggie has decreased her own dairy intake but milk, yoghurt, butter and cheese is certainly there if she wants it.
All we have done is removed the grain related products from our home and the improvements in her behaviour, health and well-being are proof that we’ve done the right thing.