Paleo Magazine (September / October) – Feeding Kids: What the USDA Recommends vs The Paleo Diet

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As a contributing author to Paleo Magazine, I’m excited to share a peek at my article in the upcoming September issue. Check out exclusive articles by subscribing or finding issues on a newsstand near you. Enter to win a FREE year’s subscription to Paleo Magazine by posting a comment below within the week (through 10/1/11)!

An excerpt from my article in the latest issue (or click here to download a preview PDF):

Feeding Kids: What the USDA Recommends versus The Paleo Diet.

Parents looking to make the move to a Paleo Diet (PD) for their families often question the nutritional value of “this way of eating.” Specifically, parents express concern about low calcium intake without dairy, low fiber intake without grains, high fat and cholesterol intake (and whether it’s healthy or  not), and the overall nutritional value of the approach.

Let’s tackle these questions by comparing a day’s worth of meals from each camp.

According to the MyPyramid For Kids Worksheet (there is not yet a MyPlate developed for kids), kids should strive to eat the following: “Whole grains: 6 ounce equivalents. Vegetables: 2 ½  cups. Fruits: 1 ½ cups. Milk: 3 cups. Choose fat-free or low-fat most often. Meats & Beans: 5oz equivalent. Some foods don’t fit into any group. These “extras” may be mainly fat or sugar—limit your intake of these.”

I created a 1-Day Example based on the USDA recommendations for childrens’ nutrition using the online calculator at The day includes all of the recommended servings of foods listed above (fig. A – click to view info on I also created a typical day’s worth of meals that you might  expect to see a Paleo parent feeding his or her child that  breaks down as follows (fig. B – click to view info on

How do these two days worth of meals compare on the big topics in question?

Calcium: We can see in a day’s worth if USDA meals  that the RDA is slightly exceeded at 123%, while the PD comes a lot closer than parents might assume at 90%. Now, I wasn’t specifically searching for calcium-rich foods when I calculated this day, but you can see how a child can easily come close to the RDA for calcium without a DROP of dairy in his or her daily diet. That said, even at 90% of the RDA, the amount of calcium that’ll be absorbed by the child’s body is likely going to be much higher since the  cofactors for calcium absorption are higher across the board in the PD day (continued)… Subscribe to read the full article!

Example: USDA Recommended Day of Meals for A Kid.
To view the USDA worksheet for recommended Kids’ nutrition, click here.

Example: Paleo Day of Meals for a Kid.
There is no recommended way to feed a kid on paleo… just meat, seafood, eggs, veggies, fruit, some nuts & seeds. Done.

Read more of mu analysis and comparison of these two diets by grabbing your copy of Paleo Magazine today!

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