Grain Free Diet Sample Menu for my Eczema Warriors

grain free diet sample menu that our eczema warriors follow

A grain free diet seemed so daunting to me that I put it off for more than two years, in trying to heal my son’s eczema. Grains are such ingrained in our diet, it felt impossible to do without it, especially for kids who do not really take diet changes well. So in this post, I share some grain free diet sample menu that my son eats in a typical day, with the hope that you see how easy it can actually be.

How we came to do this grain free diet

By the time we finally embarked on a grain free diet, 9-year old J had already been gluten free for almost six months. You can read about our first and second (current) rounds of gluten free diet here:

While on the gluten free diet, J was also already dairy free, egg free, soy free, and corn free. The only form of sugar he took was raw honey. The only form of foods that came in a box was Weet-Bix sorghum bars and Orgran multigrain crispibread. All of these we removed when he embarked on the grain free diet.

So it was completely zero sugar (except for the natural sugars in fruits) and zero processed food, in a bid to get him on as clean a diet as possible. That was why I agreed to make him banana ice cream as his afternoon snack every single day, as I felt all the effort was worth it, considering the benefits of going grain free (you can read about how grains can trigger a pro-inflammatory immune response here in this linked research, as well as our amazing experience with the grain free diet, and what it has really done for J’s eczema).

Before you start

Our experience in dealing with the kids’ eczema tells us that the biggest hurdle to any kind of diet seen as restrictive is in the mind. The mental resolution it takes for even a grownup to stick with any kind of diet is tremendous, it requires massive mental strength to not cheat.

Let’s face it, we have all been there. The temptation, the reward excuse when we had previously done well, the need to have control over what we eat, the way our gut and brain sometimes fail us, the guilt and lousy feeling after falling off the wagon.

Knowing how tough the going can get, these are the most important things to do, to prepare yourself or your child for any kind of restrictive diet:

1. Get on board

The person doing the diet has to be convinced that it is going to help him in his condition. If you’re doing this for yourself, do your research, read up on stories of people who had been successful on it, and how it has benefited them. When you know why you’re doing this, and how it is going to improve your health condition, that alone is enough to keep you going.

If it is for your child, talk to him. Be clear about the timeline (how long this diet is going to be), so that the child can see the end of the tunnel. Talk about how it would improve his eczema or any other health condition.

A restrictive diet takes away the sense of control, so try to give the child some autonomy in other ways: let him choose his fruits for the week when you go grocery shopping, give him a few options for the daily smoothie, ask if he would prefer spinach soup or cabbage soup for dinner.

For J, it was easy to convince him because he had seen how the gluten free diet had reduced his itch substantially, but not completely. His daily itching episodes were still causing him a fair bit of misery, so he was eager to try something different to get it down.

2. Clear out the pantry of foods that do not qualify

This step is super important. Don’t leave temptations lying around, unless you know you have mental strength that is beyond human. Donate the foods to some food bank. Or get family members who are not involved in the diet to quickly finish up the non-compliant foods in the pantry, and also get them on board that they should not snack on non-compliant foods at home, if possible, just for the duration of the diet.

3. Equip yourself with menus and recipes

When you have an idea how each meal looks like, it would certainly be less daunting to embark on a new diet. So read up on and collect recipes, or write down the meal plans for each week, if it helps you organise your thoughts, your shopping list, and meals preparation, etc.

4. A safety net to fall back on

Know your soft spot, your craving, some food that would lead to your downfall. And be ready with a substitute for that food that complies with the diet. For instance, if sugar is your thing, as it is for J, a homemade banana ice cream treat, served daily in the afternoon heat, is enough to sustain his craving and keep him off all other junk.

Once you get the above points all sorted out, you’re ready to go! For even more tips, visit www.marksdailyapple.com.

grain free diet sample menu for a typical day

Our grain free diet sample menu

Here is a grain free diet sample menu that we follow in a typical day:

Breakfast: green smoothie of apple, celery, cucumber, and lemon.

Mid-morning snack: sweet potato, or banana

Pre-lunch (about 30 to 45 minutes before lunch): fruit or smoothie of choice (our favourite: refreshing watermelon)

Lunch: fish or chicken for protein, and a generous serving of one vegetable (broccoli, cauliflower, green leafies, celery, cabbage, or mung bean sprouts, etc.).

Mid-afternoon snack: homemade banana ice cream

Pre-dinner (about 30 to 45 minutes before dinner): fruit of choice (papaya, honeydew, pear, apple, etc.)

Dinner: fish or chicken for protein, a soup (usually a clear broth of radish, or carrot and spinach, or lotus root, or cabbage), and a generous serving of one vegetable.

For lunch and dinner, I just do one kind of vegetables per meal, with variety across meals. This cuts down on preparation time and hassle. The vegetables simply take a quick dip in boiling water of less than 20 seconds, to make them more palatable to the kids. If your preference is to take some of the vegetables raw, then do take care to give them a good wash.

What to expect

When you first start on the grain free diet, you may feel lethargic and that your energy level has gone down. This is to be expected, especially if grains used to be your main source of carbohydrates. You may also feel cranky, as your body adjusts to the major shift in your diet.

You may experience ups and downs in mood and energy level for the first 5 to 7 days, after which you may get a general sense of well being and uplifting in mood, together with a clearer mind, before your eczema or other symptoms start to improve.

It is important to get more meals a day while on the grain free diet, smaller ones interspersed throughout the day, to sustain your energy level. The tummy space that used to be grains, should now be filled up with a lot more fruits and vegetables, and just a little more fish, poultry or meat than before.

Final thoughts

Like many other foods, grains are great for some people, not so great for others. If having eliminated the common food triggers for eczema from your diet does not give you enough relief from your rashes and itching, do consider going grain free. Hopefully I have shown you it is actually not that difficult, through this grain free diet sample menu. Do give it a try, and let us know how it goes in the comments below.

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10 thoughts on “Grain Free Diet Sample Menu for my Eczema Warriors

  1. I read your other post about how the grain-free diet really benefited your son, and I did wonder what sorts of things he ate now. I’m glad you posted this! Is he satisfied with this meal plan now that he has had time to get used to it? Or is it still really challenging to keep him motivated? Good for you for keeping all of this food cooked and prepped for him and your family–that isn’t easy to keep up with as so many of us rely on convenience foods that are pretty much off limits to you. Kudos!

    • Hi Holly,

      Thank you for your encouraging words once again! Yes my son is now totally used to the diet, and is contented, not looking around for any kind of grain food or snacks. But I do intend to reintroduce grains back into his diet some time later, just a small amount. 

  2. This diet also sounds great for diabetes of which I am.  The problem is it feels like my diet has gotten so boring.  You are right about getting rid of foods that are bad for you but may lure you in.  Health is so important and its so hard to believe food can either be so good or bad for you.

  3. I just want to congratulate you for being an excellent parent. I have a one-year-old son and fortunately, he can eat everything and he does not have any problems with food but I imagine it has to be very difficult to put him on a strict diet because even for me it is difficult, I can not even imagine having to convince a child. I loved the banana ice cream recipe, I’ll try it 🙂

    • Hi Paola, 

      Thank you for your encouraging words. Yes do give the banana ice cream a try, the single ingredient one is really simple and healthy!

  4. I admire your son’s ability and yours, as well, to stick to the grain-free (and other “free” of) diets. You are correct about even us adults having trouble sticking to a diet. I’ve been on a ketogenic diet for just a very short time and I am hating it already and want to “cheat.” Since there is the incentive of better health, I guess that is why we do it.

    How long would you suggest a diet of no-grain should last? I have been working on eating gluten-free and sugar free, but sugar is sneaky and comes in many forms. How do the other members of your household respond to the diet plans or do you just follow them for your son?

    Thank you for sharing this and I look forward to hearing your reply.

    • Hello Karin,

      For grain free diet, I’d say give it two months for the body to clean out itself. After that I intend to reintroduce grains into my son’s diet, but in a much smaller amount than what we are all used to: having rice as our staple in most meals. Gluten free I would recommend 6 months, as it takes that much time for it to clear out of our body and for the small intestines to slowly heal. 

      Yeah it’s really not easy to go sugar free. So we have to cook every meal from scratch. Any outside food would definitely have sugar, in the form of sauces, gravies, seasoning, etc. Processed foods are worse, anything in packaging, it’s almost impossible to be sugar free. 

      For my other children who are not on special diet, they do take outside food on the weekends. But at home we all eat the same as this son, as a form of emotional support for him, so all my kids are very used to the natural plain foods without any seasoning. I taste the natural sweetness in most vegs, I hope they do too. In fact, on many occasions, I have felt sick eating out, from the MSG, salt, sugar overload, and not to mention other additives that I’m not aware of. 

      Do keep at your diet, you will see great health benefits as long as you keep at it. 

  5. Good post a lot of good information here, enjoyed reading it and I learned a lot. Yes I would think any new diet is hard to adjust to, but as you know it becomes a necessity sometimes. Clearing out the pantry of foods that are not needed is great advice, especially for our young ones. It sounds as if you have some good menus planned out, some of them I may try as I have to watch my diet too. I had to do away with salt a few years back and just that alone was hard to adjust to; I can imagine how difficult this could get. Good article and good luck, I hope everything works out for your son. 

    • Hi Wayne,

      Thank you, yes my son is doing well now, his eczema has improved lots. Wow it must be tough for you to remove salt from your diet, I cannot imagine that. All the best to your health too.

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