There are several potential benefits to consuming a vegan diet, from lower risks of disease and obesity to improved wellness and cardiovascular health. However, transitioning your children — or spouse — might prove challenging without a little preparation.
Introducing Your Child to Plant-Based Foods
When introducing your children to plant-based foods, start slow. Most children prefer sweet foods, meaning it is easier to transition to plant-based diets with fruit. It doesn’t have to be much either. You can include a banana with breakfast or an apple with lunch. Find simple and easy ways to add more plant-based items to your children's diets.
Remember, every person is different. While your family might be hesitant to switch to a vegan diet, their hesitancy likely rests in the uncertainty of what they actually like. Help your children find healthy, plant-based options they enjoy. Not everyone will like everything, but almost everyone can find enough plant-based foods to make a vegan or vegetarian diet work.
Additionally, allowing your kids to have a say in the type of food they eat is a productive method for embracing a healthier lifestyle. Consider letting your children pick from a pre-selected plan or meal options when it comes to vegan or plant-based diets.
Depending on your child’s age, you can also take them with you to the store, allowing them to help you pick out fresh ingredients, or you can help them understand why some foods are healthier than others. Education is a truly vital step in converting from a more “traditional” diet to one filled with fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins.
If your family is struggling with switching to a plant-based diet, it might be a result of too much change, too quickly. You do not have to scrap your efforts. Instead, try finding vegan alternatives to old family favorites, like mac and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, or chicken nuggets. The familiarity can result in a more positive and accepting attitude toward the new diet.
Finally, make the transition easy. When kids change a diet, it can be a bit jarring, especially when they were used to specific snacks and foods. As a parent, find vegan alternatives to snack time favorites. For fruit and veggie-loving kids, the transition is simple. For those used to potato chips and string cheese, it can be challenging. Thankfully, with the popularity of vegan diets, options are becoming widely available in various snack products, including chips and cheese.
Plant-Based Protein Sources
Switching to a vegan diet requires you to focus on the nutritional content of every meal. It is up to you to ensure your children receive all the vital nutrients they require, including protein, which is available from multiple plant-based sources, including:
Meals and Snacks Kids Will Love
While many kids might fight the change to a plant-based diet, there are ways to gain their enthusiasm. Consider taking a vegan spin on some favorite recipes, including:
- Smoky Vegan Mac and Cheese
- No Crumble Black Bean Tofu Burger
- Vegan Breakfast Burrito
- Extra Crispy Baked Tofu Nuggets
- 3-Ingredient Plant-Based Applesauce
If you feel that transitioning your family to a plant-based diet and have the knowledge and experience to do so, give it a try. However, focus on a few things to make the process easier:
- Remember the individual palette
- Offer some control and flexibility
- Use familiar food options to make the transition easier
- Find alternatives to favorite snacks and meals
While a vegan or plant-based diet can provide several advantages over other diets, it is vital to maintain the nutritional requirements of your children. As a child-focused supplement company, Wellements offer vegan-friendly supplements to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.