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

Admin Featured, Kids, Media & Press, Paleo and Primal 142 Comments

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!

Enter to win a FREE year’s subscription to Paleo Magazine by posting a comment below within the week (through 10/1/11)!

  • Mindy

    I’m so grateful for folks like you who keep the paleo way of life out in the public eye. Thank you for your writing and passion!

    • admin

      It’s my pleasure, Mindy.

  • Ian

    Great article, will use as a resource. Get asked these questions about kiddos all the time. thanks!

    • admin

      The full article in the magazine explains the details- grab a copy!

    • Jess cervantes

      Thanks for this great info!!! We have been Paleo for 3 weeks now, and have been dealing with some resistance from our 5 yr. Old daughter. She doesn’t believe that what she’d been eating was so bad for her, and why she had to eat this way now. Until we went to a birthday party this weekend and let her make her own food choices. Let’s just say she felt horrible( stomach ache) from all the sugary cake and candy she had eaten. We explained why she felt that way, and if she would make better food choices next time, she agreed. Last night she devoured her dinner, salmon, roasted broccoli, and a field green salad. It was a great night;). Thanks again for all of the great tips and encouragement you give in a world that wants to tell our children all of the opposite

  • WhoIsJGalt

    Paleo parents are cool, and their kids are smarter, faster, and more creative!

  • tyler

    Great article. As a dad of a toddler and a school teacher I am constantly trying to find parent friendly paleo resources.

  • Rebecca

    Thank you for your article! My husband and I have recently decided to change to the Paleo lifestyle, in the middle of his 14 month deployment to Afghanistan! So far I have noticed a huge change, I feel better,sleep better and our 4 year old and 18 month old are eating and behaving better than ever. This article was PERFECT for all of my friends who insist I must be depriving my kids of grains, fiber, vitamins and minerals (especially that dreaded Calcium in kids. How will they ever survive without 3 glasses of milk a day?!) We could really use a year long subscription to gain more and more knowledge about our new Paleo lives. Thanks again.

  • Eva

    Subscription pleaseeeeee! :)

  • Aisha B

    I’m so glad I found your website! I’m new to the Paleo lifestyle and looking for all the great resources I can find :)

  • Ashley

    I am so glad I found this website I am new to the Paleo Diet (AS IN STARTED LAST MONDAY NEW) and I am trying to convert my kids as well. My youngest, however, is allergic to eggs so it’s hard to figure something out for her to have for breakfast… anyways would LOVE a one year subscription to paleo magazine for some insight into this perfect way of eating!

  • Paul

    Just starting to work my way into a Paleo lifestyle and winning a subscription to the mag would just be awesome.

  • Olivia

    I just stumbled upon your site today! My husband and I have been eating Paleo for a few months now, and I love finding new resources for information (as I tend to research things to the death). Once we have children we are planning on having them eat Paleo as well…so it doesn’t hurt to start learning about children’s nutrition now!

  • Judy

    So thankful I found this site! I teeter from “normal” to paleo and know that I feel A LOT better without grains and sugars —

  • Lou

    Hello Diane,

    It’s great to see that you have responded back to so many people on here; I know that must be very difficult to do. I have a very important question to ask that my wife and I have debated back and forth on, concerning a baby’s transition from breast milk/formula to puréed food. First, I want to just mention that we will not be able to breast feed because my wife is on medication for her epilepsy and it would not be healthy for the baby. My wife is adamant about us having to give the baby some type of cereal (oat/rice/etc) before we transition her to a puréed, whole food diet. Its how she was raised, plus, she has fallen victim to the big business/gov’t marketing scheme of those who are pushing these products. For years, I have been behind many of the concepts you write about in your book, Practical Paleo, and I am trying to find a solid alternative to oats and rice for the baby’s transition. It’s unfortunate that we have to use formula, but do you have any guidance on how we can give our daughter a healthier transition when she is finished with it? Is it ok for us to go straight into a puréed whole food diet? This topic is very important to me because I know how vital it is to build a solid, nutritious foundation for proper growth and development from the beginning of a child’s life. Hope to hear back from you!

    P.S. a friend of mine just went to your seminar in Long Island a couple of weeks ago and told me how great it was. I immediately picked up your book and convinced my wife that we should try following your 30 day meal plan. It has been hard to put the book down ever since I cracked it open. Thank you for reiterating and confirming many years of “debates” that I have had with family and friends. I have also learned a ton of new things as well.

  • Laura K

    This is a great article, and I really appreciate that you took the time to build the food pyramid nutrition guide to compare. We have to “speak their language” to be taken seriously about this issue.

  • Troye

    Would love to win this…been paleo for nearly 2 months…I am enjoying the fresh foods but need some tips on how to bring my food spending down & have not lost weight…I am on insulin, so I know that makes loosing weight difficult but I would love some more ongoing insight into reversing diabetes (type II, insulin dependant) with paleo

  • Betty

    I am investigating the paleo lifestyle and was very interested to see that there’s a magazine. I’ll look it up!