Going Paleo for the Kids


I sort of feel like a rock star if all of my children bathe in the same 24 hour period. If I remember to bring back paperwork…or sign up for the soccer team….or put pretty braids in my daughter’s hair, I develop a little bit of a strut, because I’m relatively certain I will be nominated for Mother of the Year. 

My signature dish at the church potluck is a bag of Cheetos.

I tell you all of this, because if I can cook Paleo food for my family, then YOU can too. Really.

The Struggle

Let me back up and give you a brief history. I am a homeschool mom with four children. They are all incredibly smart. In fact, each of them is valedictorian of their respective class. 😉  But I had one child that struggled with learning to read. Simple sight words were a chore. Longer words with blends were tortuous. Honestly, even sitting in a vertical position was a challenge for her though. I knew that her attention span had a lot to do with the delay.

The right first step to achieve success was difficult.  I took her to a tutor. Every grandma within driving distance was recruited to help. Any concentration strategy known to man was tried. All to no avail. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of tears that I cried over this child. 

I was desperate. 

After searching for answers that didn’t involve medication, I stumbled upon the idea of eating a Paleo diet. Eliminating gluten, processed foods, dyes, excess sugar. Going from a smorgasbord of starchy, packaged food wasn’t going to be easy, but I knew that I had to try. 

The Result

With internet recipes at the tip of my fingers, I was able to make recipes that were not only “Paleo-friendly,” but pretty delicious too! We discovered that some of our favorite foods fell into the Paleo category! One of the biggest hits:  chicken nuggets that use almond flour as breading instead of wheat flour! (Check out this recipe!)

After 29 days on the diet, the improvement in her behavior and reading skills was dramatic. The reading tutor said her ability to concentrate had “improved by leaps and bounds.” Her reading fluency scores nearly doubled in less than a month’s time! 

Was the success due to the lack of gluten in her diet?  Or was it the fact that she had no artificial dyes or preservatives in her diet for 29 days? Or maybe because she had been free of processed sugars like high fructose corn syrup?….. I have no idea! Maybe it was a combination of all of them! 

What I discovered: for the sake of my children, I am willing to do things that I once thought were impossible! 




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Janna juggles life as a mother and homeschool teacher to four beautiful children (born in '02, '04, '05, and '07) while running a thriving photography business and being an independent ambassador for Plexus. She was born and raised in the city of Council Bluffs and can often be found training for her next Half marathon on the trails near her home. Among her many blessings is the love-of-her-life, Chad. They married in August of 1999 and enjoy working together at j. selander photography, worshipping side by side at church, working out at their favorite gym, and taking romantic date nights to Target.


  1. Thank you for the recipe! I agree that if my kids lack attention or are a little ornerier, it’s due to what they ate that day. What types of foods were your “go-to’s” for snacks? Fruits and veggies? Thanks, Janna.

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